THE hosting of major events in the City is contributing to rebuilding the local tourism industry said Deputy City Manager of the Economic Development and Planning Cluster Phillip Sithole. He was speaking as the City hosted the down run of the 95th Comrades Marathon. The high-profile marathon attracted more than 100 000 spectators with slightly over 20 000 runners.
The Comrades Marathon was held on 28 August commencing at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 5.30am, ending at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban at 5.30pm. Sithole said the Comrades Marathon is expected to inject a direct spend of about R237 million with the projected GDP contribution being approximately R417 million. “The job creation that we estimate was created in the related value chain is around 790 jobs,” he added. “The Comrades Marathon was safely hosted, and we are excited to be able to host the event physically after two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of the Comrades Marathon is a result of an experienced team who are equipped to host major events. The team comprised of various sectors such as health, emergency, safety and security, tourism, parks and recreation, and various community organisations,” said Sithole. He said while the main beaches along the beachfront were closed due to poor water quality, it was encouraging to see runners enjoying the City’s many offerings after the race. Samantha Croft, Director of Operations at Tsogo Sun Hotels, said hotels were full over the Comrades Marathon weekend. “We were at about 98 percent occupancy. We have seen a great pick-up in the sector since this year started.
People started booking for big events a lot earlier than usual. This is truly a great sign for our sector and it shows that we are on the road to recovery.” Sithole said the City recently hosted two big events namely the Africa Travel Indaba and Hollywoodbets Durban July which both directly injected over R300 million into the City’s economy. “Events of this magnitude can speed up the sector’s recovery,” he said.