Photo: Scores of people from all over the world descend on Greyville Racecourse once a year for the Vodacom Durban July, an event that contributes between an estimated R 250 and R 300 million rand into the economy of Durban. Credit: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media.
As the excitement builds ahead of the 2018 Vodacom Durban July, businesses across the city of Durban are preparing to cash in on the multi million rand spend from the huge influx of punters, fashion lovers and revellers that will converge on the city for Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event on Saturday, 7 July.
An estimated R160 million will be spent directly on products and services, ranging from transport, accommodation, restaurants and hospitality, to fashion and entertainment, according to a survey conducted at last year’s Vodacom Durban July.
Emphasising the across-the-board value that the Vodacom Durban July has on the local economy was the President of the Durban Chamber Of Commerce, Musa Makhunga.
“This event is one of South Africa’s most respected sporting events and has become a highlight for both South Africans and overseas visitors, who flock to Durban to witness what has become known as 'Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event'.
“An event of this nature brings an array of socio-economic benefits to the local economy and besides for the over R150 million injected into the local economy, the event produces annualised employment of 320 and government taxes of R10 million,” Makhunga commented.
Add to this a spend of around R100 million on betting at both on-course and at off-course totes, and the Vodacom Durban July is responsible for an economic churn of between R250 and R300 million.
"Historically the Vodacom Durban July has led to a sell-out of middle to high end accommodation throughout the city," Operations Director of Fedhasa East Coast Charles Preece said.
"It is probably the biggest event on the Durban social calendar and to have such a huge turnout of people from outside the province is a huge boost to the hotel industry.
"Despite the average stay being just two nights the sheer volume of people coming into the city makes the weekend hugely significant."
Of the visitors that attended the Vodacom Durban July last year the vast majority (99%) of them rated the event as either good to excellent and 92% of the people that were surveyed would recommend Durban as a tourist destination.
In the survey conducted by the eThekwini Municipality after the last year’s Vodacom Durban July the event attracted around 50 000 people of which 39% were people from outside the province. The source of the influx was mainly from Gauteng that accounted for 72% of the overall out-of-province visitors.
This large congregation of people in the Kingdom of the Zulu in turn leads to a sell-out of accommodation throughout the city.
From the 2017 survey that was conducted, the economic impact of the Vodacom Durban July on the eThekwini Municipality was worth nearly R160 million in direct spend on services in the region.
Tourism experts point out that this does not include the marketing value that the city and the province enjoys from the positive global exposure through the sporting and social media.
The survey reveals that the majority of the visitors to the Vodacom Durban July make a weekend of it, and visit other attractions in the region, from popular venues like the Eyadini Lounge to the cities beaches, Ushaka Marine World and the myriad of dining and entertainment options that the city is famous for.
The 2018 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 7 July. More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za