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.
In the run up to the weekend of 10-11 March 2018 the Western Cape has also recently played host to the BestMed 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.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the Cape Town Cycle Tour as well as the Absa Cape Epic are signature cycling events that Wesgro sponsors to boost tourism, facilitate economic growth and help create jobs.
On 10 March 2018, Stellenbosch will host the first leg of the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series. The event is part of an international series, presented in 10 different countries and has a keen following of cycling enthusiasts from around the world. The elite races will be televised live and streamed to Red Bull Television internationally and locally on Supersport, promoting the Western Cape’s cycling and tourism offering to a global audience.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, was excited about the world cup coming to the Cape. “This major cycling event not only cements the Western Cape as a top cycling destination worldwide, but also showcases our province’s natural beauty and diverse experiences to a global audience. This will be a major boost for tourism in the Cape.”
“This event is also a key example of how sustainable water-wise tourism is possible during our drought. The organisers have indicated that no municipal water will be used for the race, helping create a water-neutral event” added Harris.
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.
“One of the goals of Project Khulisa has been to centre the Western Cape as the premier cycling destination in Africa. The fact that we have secured the UCI Wold Cup series proves that the international cycling community has recognised what we have to offer. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase what the Western Cape offers, to an international audience,” said Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde.
“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,” Alan Winde 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,” Winde concluded.
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.
Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency is also the sponsor of other signature events and include the Cape2Rio Yacht Race, the Sun MET, the Cape Town Carnival, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. In total these events have an economic impact of more than R926 444 000.
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.