Durban - All roads lead to Durban this weekend as the country’s premier horse racing event, the Hollywoodbets Durban July is expected to draw a bumper crowd of everyday punters, the country’s who’s who and fashionistas who will add flair to the event.
And the city’s economy, still reeling from flood damage, looting and the Covid pandemic is also set to cash in as “July Fever” spreads to the entertainment, hospitality and restaurant sectors.
Durban, renowned for its prowess in hosting major events that significantly boost the tourism sector, is gearing up for an exciting extravaganza that promises to breathe new life into the industry, Economic Development deputy chairperson for the eThekwini Municipality, Phili Ndlovu said.
As the city looks to rebound from the pandemic-induced slump, the City believes Saturday’s Hollywoodbets Durban July Experience is expected to provide a much-needed shot in the arm.
The Durban Visitor Marketing Strategy 2022-26 reveals a decline in the sector's direct expenditure, with figures dropping from R11.6 billion in 2018 to R5.1 billion in 2021.
Similarly, the contribution to the GDP dwindled from R19.6 billion to R12.8 billion during the same period. However, recent indicators suggest that tourism is slowly returning to pre-Covid growth levels, and the Durban July Experience is poised to be a catalyst for this resurgence.
Anticipating an economic boost for eThekwini, the projections for this year's Hollywoodbets Durban July Experience are nothing short of impressive.
With an estimated attendance of 35,000 to 48,000 individuals, the event is expected to generate a direct spend of R65 million, contributing a whopping R130 million to the GDP and creating 1,500 job opportunities.
While the Hollywoodbets Durban July Experience encompasses various elements, one particularly integral component is fashion development.
The event not only showcases the talent of local emerging and established fashion designers and models, but also places a strong emphasis on skill enhancement and exposure.
Under the banner of the Durban Fashion Fair, the eThekwini Municipality's Fashion Development Programme has partnered with Gold Circle to present the Hollywoodbets Durban July Fashion Experience.
This collaboration has proven fruitful, benefiting approximately 160 designers and models, with 40 of them having emerged from the Municipality's fashion development programme. Notably, the most innovative designers are rewarded with business development prizes to foster their productivity.
The Durban July weekend promises an array of entertainment options to provide visitors with a holistic experience. Several exciting events are intricately linked to the Hollywoodbets Durban July Experience, including Fact Durban Rocks, the Mother of All Parties, Any Given Sunday, and the Durban July Township Experience. These events offer a unique opportunity for visitors to explore various tourism hotspots such as uMhlanga, the renowned Florida Road and Davenport areas, Max's Lifestyle, the gems of the Inanda Heritage Route, and other vibrant entertainment destinations.
In light of the upcoming festivities, organisers urge attendees to maintain a safe and friendly environment by adhering to proper conduct.
Law enforcement agencies are taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of all patrons and residents during the Durban July. Around 100 Metro police officers will be deployed around the Greyville area, strategically positioned to monitor and maintain order.
As the Hollywoodbets Durban July Experience approaches, anticipation and excitement fill the air in Durban. The event's potential to reignite the tourism sector and invigorate the city's economy cannot be overstated. With fashion development, entertainment galore, and a commitment to safety, this year's Durban July promises to be an unforgettable experience for all involved.