As the region gears up for its busiest holiday weekend of the year, racing fans gathering for the Vodacom Durban July at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday will trigger an economic boom that will top R400 million.
In the photo: Qwabe Nonhlanhla, Nelly Miya, Sipho Kanene and Wendy Zulu at last year’s event. Story: Gameplan Media
Based on figures extracted from a study of last year’s Vodacom Durban July, the single most significant trend is the massive growth in visitors from Gauteng, which more than doubled from 20% of the spectators in 2011 to 52% last year.
Predictably, the knock on effect on accommodation and travel reflected this, while another strong trend was a surge in the number of days spent in the region by visitors from outside of the province.
17% of the Vodacom Durban July fans stayed for five nights or longer, a rise of ten percent year-on-year, while the number of people staying for three nights almost doubled to 25% of the out-of-province visitors to the raceday.
With each out-of-province visitor spending an average of R4 950 on accommodation, food and beverages, entertainment and betting, around R125 million was injected into the local economy by the visitors to the Vodacom Durban July.
Add to that around R56 million spent by local residents attending the raceday, and the total direct economic impact of the event was estimated at R178 454 490.
Try your luck
Betting accounts for over R200 million rand, with around R110 million being wagered on the totes nationally, and bookmakers reporting a comparable figure from their customers. Wagers on the R3,5 million Vodacom Durban July race normally account for around R40 million of that betting spend.
Andrew Layman, the Chief Executive Officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce said the Vodacom Durban July was a premium event that attracted significant economic benefits to the regional economy.
“Durban aspires to be an important centre for events, which not only captivate the local residents but also draw people from other parts of the country,” said Layman. “The Vodacom Durban July has become a social event of such lustre that its drawing power is increasing by the year.”
“It seems to me to be very significant that last year four in every ten people were attending the July for the first time. Considering the glittering nature of the event and its profile, linked to the exposure of those who attend to be part of the glitterati, there is every chance that these will return this year, and there might be another four who have not attended previously.”
“Tickets are at a premium, I believe, and there is a notable clamour for those that are available.” he said.
“Another trend is that the event has become one of the more important ones at which companies entertain their clients. Thus, the Vodacom Durban July exhibits lots of characteristics of a high profile corporate event.
“The Vodacom Durban July is one event staged in Durban during this time of the year which the hospitality industry has dubbed the Fun Season,” Layman added. “The calendar of events will reveal that there is a great deal more for people to experience over weekends in Durban. The trend of visitors staying longer is substantiated by the figures drawn from last year.”
Marketing experts were quick to point out that this excludes the massive value to the city and province from the global media coverage of the event, which reinforced the initiatives to position Durban as a premier events destination, and market the favourable weather conditions and opportunities around these events.andrew layman, durban chamber of commerce, gauteng, Greyville Racecourse, KZN, tourism, Vodacom Durban July