Luvuyo Bangazi | How a township home benefits from world championship

Luvuyo Bangazi
Luvuyo Bangazi
Image: Twitter/@luvuyobangazi

A long ride with a buddy this past weekend got me thinking about how we all view things based on our personal or societal circumstances.

Our own filters often dictate our reactions or lack thereof and therefore one must always be aware of this before making judgments.

For example, most people are conditioned to view sporting events as only that, fun and games for a few completely detached from the rest of the socioeconomic setup.

Fortunately, things are not that simple.

In today’s changing world, major global events have become big investment drivers affecting both infrastructure delivery and the employment prospects in host cities.

These events are catalysts for change and, when executed well, they leave a long-lasting legacy.

The fine print here is that all of this depends on the leadership, management and integrity of the entire value chain.

I believe it is only a matter of time before cities include major sporting events when they report on investments gained in their regions.

Unlike investments into factories where most of the capital goes into bricks and mortar, global sporting events benefit all of us directly and immediately.

So how does a home in Walmer township benefit from an event happening in Summerstrand?

This in my view, is where our filters often short-change us. One only has to look at the recent tourism statistics to understand the impact.
The tourism sector directly contributed 2.9% to South African gross domestic product in 2016, according to the latest release of Stats SA’s annual Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa report.

This makes the tourism sector a larger contributor than agriculture.

The report provides a picture of employment patterns within the sector.

Tourism outperformed other key industries in terms of job creation, adding just over 4 000 net new jobs to the economy over the five-year period from 2012 to 2016. This is higher than the number of jobs gained in industries such as trade and utilities.

The upcoming Ironman 70.3 World Championship in September will bring well over 15 000 visitors (4 500 athletes) to the Bay.

As of today, well over half of the global qualification events have been completed, which means more than 2 500 beds (for athletes) have been or are being secured.

All of 2 000 more athletes will confirm their participation when they qualify at more than 25 events across the globe every weekend in the next four months.

The estimated direct spend over the two-week period is well in excess of the conservative R200million.

That windfall will go directly to locals, accommodation establishments, home stays, cultural groups, municipal services, laundromats, restaurants, township tourism, transport providers, fuel stations, artists, car attendants, security providers, infrastructure and more.

The restaurant worker from Walmer township will definitely experience the bigger-than-normal trade and take home much more than the normal earnings.

The boost allows the economy to absorb more labour and increases production, improving the city and local government’s revenue base, allowing them to deliver better services in more deserving areas.

The hosting of the event in September is not the magic wand to solve all of our challenges but it is one giant step towards doing so.