The Provincial Economic Opportunities Department has launched a specialised unit, Department of Cycling Tourism. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency.
Cape Town - The Provincial Economic Opportunities Department has launched a specialised unit, Department of Cycling Tourism.

Headed by Quintin Smith, the new faculty is dedicated to growing cycling as a sport in the province. Smith stated that cycling brings in around R1 billion to the Western Cape economy, making the sport one of the most profitable sporting incomes. Now the aim of the Department is to make the Western Cape “the cycling capital of the world”, which, although ambitious, is certainly realistic, according to Smith.

Smith was speaking at an event where Marriott International staff and associates set off on their three-day, 600km Road to Awareness (R2A) cycling adventure, all in the name of raising money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

After visiting Jordan last year, the R2A Challenge has set its sights on the Western Cape and the idyllic scenery perfectly suited to cycling.

Founder of the R2A Challenge and the chief operating officer of Marriott International, Guido de Wilde, said that early training sessions were far from ideal, yet the rewards of the event surpassed the sacrifices: “Central to everything (R2A) does is children’s health and education. It’s so important to us and we’re proud to make a difference in the lives of these children.”

Main beneficiary, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, aims to use sport as a tool for social change. This message resonates with Laureus chairman Morne du Plessis: “I believe that every child has the right to play. It’s not about generating world-class athletes, we just want to provide an opportunity that so many children around the world don’t get.”

Moving into the 11th year of the campaign, R2A has benefitted children across the world in many different ways.

In 2010, R2A provided 3400 vulnerable children in South Africa with an opportunity to access education.

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Cape Argus