Focus on tourism as city gears up for paracycling event

2014-06-20 00:00

INTERNATIONAL cycling body UCI has announced Pietermaritzburg will be the host city of the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in 2016.

“We are grateful for another opportunity to market Pietermaritzburg to the international community, cementing our position as an international city,” said Dumisani Mhlongo, director of Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association (MPTA), when he received the news.

“Most riders in the paracycling categories will be coming to South Africa for the first time, so Pietermaritzburg will therefore be rolling out the red carpet to ensure that they feel the warm hospitality of KZN.”

He said the tourism association will assess the readiness of tourism products and services to be accessible to the paracyclists in the city and surrounding areas. “In this regard MPTA will be working closely with the tourism facilities in recommending the adjustments where relevant as a build-up to the hosting of the championships.

“It is crucial that the participants should experience the African Safari that South Africa is well known for but more uniquely to let them experience the recently launched uMgungundlovu Liberation Heritage Route to make their time here the most memorable.”

Alec Lenferna of Real Events Management said the event was the last qualifier for the 2016 Olympics and could attract 300 to 400 cyclists. He added that the Alexandra Park cycling track will be improved between now and 2016 to ensure the track conditions exceed expectations.

• Pietermaritzburg also hosts the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships next weekend on June 28 and 29.

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