East London: This year’s East London leg of the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3 tournament has generated a R73-million boost for local businesses.
Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency spokesperson, Veliswa Mhlope, said the event, held in January, attracted a record 3 010 athletes and generated much-needed revenue for Buffalo City Metro.
“This was the biggest Ironman held in the country and internationally so far. The benefit to the local economy as a result of spending on accommodation, transport, food and shopping was immense,” said Mhlope, in response to the tabling of a report to the Metro’s council last week.
Ironman organiser World Triathlon Corporation spokesperson, Michael Flanagan, said the majority of the competitors at this year’s event were from outside the Eastern Cape.
“The event brought a lot of tourists to the region. Each athlete travels with nearly three supporters and stays for an average of four nights, spending approximately R1 350 a day,” said Flanagan.
He said the Ironman contest was a tourism draw card that provided a significant financial injection to local businesses and establishments, as well as showcasing the region internationally.
Mhlope added that the international exposure that such events gave the province through media coverage and word of mouth was “worth millions of rands”.