R300m July lift for Durban

Colourful Samkelo Ndwandwe wearing designer Brenda Quin of Diva designs for the previous Durban July.
Colourful Samkelo Ndwandwe wearing designer Brenda Quin of Diva designs for the previous Durban July.
Image: Jackie Clausen

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 and established designers use the day to showcase their latest creations.

"This event bucks current economic trends," said the event's spokesman, Dave Macleod.

"Top-end hospitality is selling out. We are expecting a very big corporate market."

"In the top-end marquees, people are paying anything from R2 500 to R5 000 a head.

"It seems when times get tough the spending gets more lavish for one day," said Macleod.

He attributed the expansion of picnic sites to youth market.

"Not everyone is going to spend R5 000 for hospitality," he said. Head of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Phindile Makwakwa said about 50 000 people were expected head 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," she said.

Makwakwa said the fuel price hike was unlikely to affect spending or attendance planned.

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