Partnership to oil wheels of tourism

THE Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency has confirmed that The Herald VW Cycle Tour will join a select group of partner events that will be used to promote the province through sport.

ECPTA chief executive Luxolo Rubushe said the action-packed event, which takes place in Port Elizabeth and Addo, embodied the essence of the “Adventure Province”.

“We are very excited about being first-time sponsors of the event,” Rubushe said.

“Sporting events are an essential element of our event strategy as they promote economic development through job creation and business opportunities and encourage travel in the domestic and international markets.”

As a tourism agency, Rubushe said ECPTA’s mandate was to attract people to the province and The Herald VW Cycle Tour would be leveraged to achieve this goal.

The cycling festival joins events including Ironman 70.3, Ironman South Africa, the Africa Open Golf Challenge, Ocean Racing Series and the Spar River Mile, which form part of ECPTA’s partnership strategy.

“The exposure we can expect to receive from the cycle tour and similar initiatives is priceless,” Rubushe said.

He said investing in a sustainable event such as the cycle tour, which had been a fixture for 29 years, was mutually beneficial.

“We hope to grow this relationship as an event such as this goes a long way towards helping us achieve our goals.”

These were closely aligned to the national tourism authority’s vision to grow tourism arrivals in South Africa to 15 million and create 225000 jobs by 2020, Rubushe said.

He said the concept of adventure did not exclusively refer to adrenaline-based activities but also included aspects such as lifestyle, culture and heritage.

But as far as adventure-based tourism was concerned, Rubushe said cycling was a growing factor. “We are setting up a provincial research system, which will enable us to know exactly what niche markets are in demand.

“However, from our interactions with the industry, we understand that cycling holidays are becoming more popular.”

He said the popularity of mountain biking, for example, meant that more and more trails were being developed.

Next year’s edition of The Herald VW Cycle Tour will comprise the road races in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and Sunday, February 1 and 2, and the mountain biking events in Addo on the Saturday.

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