Statement by Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde
Western Cape leads the race in growing the cycling economy
With the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest individually timed cycle race and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup both taking place this weekend, the Western Cape is well on its way to achieving its goal of becoming the premier cycling destination in Africa. This goal was set by Minister Alan Winde, as part of his Project Khulisa economic strategy.
On Saturday, the first leg of the UCI MTB World Cup will take place in Stellenbosch. The event has a major international following and will be televised on Red Bull television internationally, and Supersport locally, promoting the Western Cape’s cycling and tourism offering to a global audience.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour, which takes place this Sunday, will see 35 000 riders line up at the race’s new start point at the Grand Parade in Cape Town. The tour, which attracts about 4000 international riders to the city, contributes about R500 million to the province’s economy each year. It also makes substantial donations to charity.
In the run up to this weekend, the province has also recently played host to the Best Med Tour of Good Hope, a 5 day stage race which took place in Paarl and Franschhoek, and the Cape Roleur, which attracts 160 riders, many international, to the region each year.
Looking ahead, the province will also host 600 teams of two later this month for the Absa Cape Epic, which garners around R300 million for the provincial economy.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: The combined contribution to our economy of these events alone is estimated at over R1 billion. These events are huge cash injections for our cycling and hospitality value chains, as accommodation, eateries, local bike shops, health practitioners, and many other small businesses play a role in meeting the needs of these travellers.
He continued: The impact on development cycling is also an important part of these events as young and local cyclists are exposed to the sport and its superstars. There is also benefit through the various charitable drives associated with specific races.
For those with less of a competitive streak, the province has developed the Cross Cape Cycle Route – a scenic cycle touring route from Plettenberg Bay to Stellenbosch.
The Cross Cape is set to boost the number of riders heading to the province for multiday gravel riding, and will have a significant impact on small town economies as riders make use of tourism, hospitality and business services along the way.
Our aim with Project Khulisa has been to grow tourism jobs in the province by 100 000. Cycle tourism plays an important role in our drive to meet these targets, Minister Winde said.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said that cycling allowed for visitors to enjoy the diversity of experiences that the Cape has on offer.
Cycling allows people to get out of the city and explore and the length and breadth of our beautiful province. In doing so, it can act as an economic stimulant in small towns, helping create jobs where they are needed most.
Major cycling events also help promote our province. Images of our breath-taking scenery are broadcast to the many cycling enthusiasts who watch around South Africa and the world. It is for this reason that Wesgro, in line with Project Khulisa, is a proud sponsor of the UCI MTB World Cup, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and the Cape Epic, Harris said.
Minister Winde also commended the events for remaining water neutral.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour showed real leadership last year by being water smart. This year, they will be completely water neutral. The UCI MTB World Cup has also committed to not using any municipal water for their event, Minister Winde said.
Source: Government of South Africa