In the past few years, the Northern Cape has strategically positioned itself as South Africa’s adventure mecca. The combination of wide-open spaces, spectacular scenery and landscapes, unlimited adventure possibilities and unique cultural diversity has proven to be a winning recipe for hosting mega events. These events have made a huge contribution to the local tourism industry, and in so doing, have boosted economic growth in the province.
“Sports tourism has become an increasingly important part of the tourism industry in the province. With the ongoing effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on leisure and business tourism still uncertain, it has become essential for the Northern Cape to explore alternative means of attracting domestic and international visitors. The participants and spectators at prominent sporting events bring valuable economic benefits to communities, and they are also overawed by the warm hospitality of our people and the incredible tourism attractions. They usually become return visitors and inspirational ambassadors for the Northern Cape brand,” explains MEC for Department of Economic Development and Tourism Mr Abraham Vosloo.
The Bloodhound Land Speed Record project is an example of a such a mega event. Not only was it pivotal in the province’s marketing efforts, but it also attracted global attention to a very remote part of South Africa’s largest province. This high-octane event was instrumental in solidifying the Northern Cape’s position as a premier destination for extreme sports and outdoor adventure. It showcased the tourism potential and diversity of experiences to be enjoyed in the proximity of Hakskeenpan, and it also brought economic benefits to the communities in this remote area.
The development of a world-class skatepark in Kimberly has transformed the province’s capital city into a hub for the South African skateboarding industry. Pre-Covid, the annual Kimberly Diamond Cup Skateboarding Championships was held at this park, and it resulted in an influx of visitors to the city, fully booked flights and accommodation, as well as a significant economic boost for retailers and the hospitality industry.
These extreme events have strengthened the province’s reputation as a premier destination for adventure and extreme sports and have contributed to a significant tourism growth. During 2019/20, the Northern Cape experienced a 10,2% year-on-year growth in attendance across all events, which include flagship sporting events, as well as community events supported by the tourism authority. A total of 3 811 temporary jobs were created in local communities where these events were held and contributed approximately R225 million to the provincial economy. The unique Northern Cape geography positions the province perfectly for successfully hosting these mega sporting events and creates an opportunity to attract a new tourism audience to our province. This was evident in the approximately 319 000 people attending Northern Cape events during 2019/20. In addition, it further brings global media attention to the region and makes a significant socio-economic contribution in terms of financial impact and job creation. The community benefit strategies attached to these events also include improved infrastructure and access to technology.
The vast open spaces of the Northern Cape also attract mountain-bikers, runners and trail athletes, and the province offers fun adventure sports like white-water rafting, adventure motorbiking, hot-air ballooning, abseiling, dune surfing, and rock climbing.
For more information, visit: www.experiencenortherncape.com