City braces itself for sold-out Durban July
MORE than 60000 people are expected to visit Durban this weekend for the Vodacom Durban July, which is expected to inject about R100-million to the city's economy.
The city's tourism bosses are expecting the influx to start today.
Durban's tourism head, Phillip Sithole, said yesterday: "Normally the Durban July, with its five events, contributes more than R100-million over four days into the city's economy.
"This is one of our biggest events. Most of the hotels on the city's coast are already fully booked and restaurants that provide entertainment are going to do very well during this period."
The premier horse racing and fashion event, which takes place at Greyville Racecourse, will once again be a major drawcard for tourists.
Sithole said pre-race events are also expected to bring in the crowds.
Race organisers Gold Circle have announced that the last of the parking tickets at the racecourse had been sold out.
Gold Circle marketing manager Ken Tweddell said ticket sales from the race headquarters in Avondale Road had also been brisk, with a big demand for the tickets from outside KwaZulu-Natal.
"Last year, a larger proportion of spectators made the trip from outside the province, particularly from Johannesburg," Tweddell said.
"Judging by the level of enthusiasm we are seeing on the event's Facebook page and the service to courier tickets to people who are unable to purchase tickets directly from Greyville Racecourse, there is every reason to believe that there will be an even bigger turnout of racing fans from Gauteng this year."
Hospitality coordinators spokesman Mike Holmes said there was a huge demand to be at the Durban July.
"All the hospitality marquees have been sold out for several months and all the picnic sites are also fully subscribed. The demand has definitely grown from other provinces because people see the Vodacom Durban July as a national, not a KZN, event any more.
"It is really encouraging to see that despite the tough economic times, the demand has not been adversely affected."