Hey, big spenders! Expect the cash to flow at Durban July
South Africans need to do some serious belt-tightening - but for one day in July, caution will be thrown to the wind
South Africa may be in the grips of an economic crisis as exorbitant fuel and food prices force millions to stretch their rands – but when it comes to one day in July there will be no talk of tightening the purse strings.
That day is July 7, the day of the Vodacom Durban July.
With tens of thousands of socialites and racing fans expected to pour into Durban for what is the country’s premier horse racing and social event – with a purse worth R4.25-million – the city and its surrounds are expected to receive a R300-million injection from travel, accommodation, hospitality and betting spends.Apart from the horses and social scene – and, of course, the cash-splash – the July has long been synonymous with fashion. Amateur as well as established designers use the day to showcase their latest creations on the grassy catwalk.
“This event bucks current economic trends,” said the event’s spokesperson, Dave Macleod. “Top-end hospitality is selling out. We are expecting a very big corporate market.”At the top-end, the spend is huge.
“In the top-end marquees, people are paying anything from R2,500 to R5,000 per head. They have actually booked out blocks and booths and have pre-ordered high-end liquor and gourmet food.
“It seems when times get tough – almost as a push-back – the spending gets more lavish for one day. From all the feedback I have been receiving, the spending is still going to be lavish,” said Macleod.
He attributed the expansion of picnic sites on the day to a bigger youth market.“Not everyone is going to spend R5,000 for hospitality. The picnic sites are for the younger guys who don’t just want to be sitting in the stands,” he said.
Phindile Makwakwa, head of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, said about 50,000 people – many from Gauteng – were expected to descend on Durban as they headed to the Greyville Race Course.“We want to see this event grow and compete with events such as the Dubai Cup and the Kentucky Derby, so we will continue to work with our international partners to package this to international tourists as well,” she said.
Makwakwa said the fuel price hike was unlikely to affect spending or attendance because people planned “well in advance”.