As tens of thousands of racing fans and socialites prepare to pour into Durban for the 121st running of the Vodacom Durban July, the regional economy is set to savour a R260 million injection directly from the raceday.

With the majority of the visitors to the iconic horse racing showpiece now travelling in from outside of the province, hotel and bed and breakfast establishments are in high demand, particularly with Durban hosting a number of other high-profile holiday festival events at the same time.

Air travel into and out of Durban peaks over the first weekend in July, fashion retailers do a booming trade, and the popular restaurants and bars in the greater Durban area do their record turnover on the weekend of the Vodacom Durban July.

With another sell-out crowd predicted for Greyville Racecourse next Saturday, the projections done by Durban Tourism point to an anticipated direct expenditure of participants and spectators to be R133.3 million.

In broader terms, the study projects the total direct economic impact on eThekwini’s GDP to be R259.8 million.

“The Vodacom Durban July promotes Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as a premier event destination not only in South Africa, but globally as well,” said Phillip Sithole, the acting DCM, Head of Durban Tourism.

“This hallmark event increases our domestic arrivals, economic spend, as well as increases the tourism contribution to the GDP and creates and sustains jobs for Durban’s citizens,” he added.

He alluded to the fact that the event brought businesses in suburbs and townships to life.

“The Vodacom Durban July has served as a catalyst to promote townships; as Durban Tourism’s aim is to ensure that townships become part of the tourism mainstream,” said Sithole.

“Pre and post Vodacom Durban July activations and side events are done at venues in these townships which increases sales and job creation.

In addition to this, over R100 million is spent at totes on course and at off-courses totes around the country.

Graeme Hawkins, Gold Circle’s Marketing Executive, said there was a guaranteed Pick 6 pool of R10-million which is expected to reach R11-million plus and a guaranteed Quartet pool on the Vodacom Durban July of R13-million which is expected to reach R15-million.

There will be place payouts on the first six placed horses and the pool for this bet is expected to reach R8-million.