“This is definitely something positive for the KwaZulu-Natal province and the eThekwini Municipality in particular – this is one of the most exciting periods for the local economy,” said Durban Chamber of Commerce CEO Dumile Cele.
Hotels around Durban had been fully booked since Thursday as celebrities and other high profile individuals from across the country flocked to Durban for what has become one of the most exciting events in the province. “Apart from tickets sales, there are a number of sectors ranging from the hospitality to transport and restaurant industries that benefit from the event,”Cele said.
The hospitality industry alone generated an estimated R78 million, with close to 500 jobs created. More than 50 000 racing enthusiasts were at the Greyville Racecourse – a record. Most of the bars and clubs around Durban, including upmarket outlets around Florida Road, were fully booked from Friday.
“It is one of the biggest events in the city with an appeal beyond the borders of KZN – something that helps to sell eThekwini to the world,” said eThekwini tourism head, Phillip Sithole. Unlike in previous years where the event had benefitted mostly big business, this year’s edition saw small businesses in the townships raking in millions.
“A number of gigs were organised in Umlazi, Inanda and Claremont as part of the Vodacom Durban July festivities. Restaurant owners and other small businesses in the townships benefitted to the tune of about R7 million,” he said.
The success of the event meant the city was well positioned to increase tourism numbers in future events – particularly during the festive season.
“Most of the people who came for the Vodacom Durban July were actually first-time visitors to the city. Because of the wonderful experience they had during the visit they will definitely come back for other events,” Sithole said.