NELSON Mandela Bay is generally considered a splendour with its magnificent coastline and wildlife, as well as the fact that it is a developed and thriving city while having the amazing ability to contain a sense of serenity.
Nelson Mandela Bay, which is widely known as the “friendly city”, is also deemed as the economic driving force of the Eastern Cape as it continues to boast being the successful host of the only annual Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championships in Africa, making this year their 14th year as hosts.
The participants have increased greatly from when it started within the hundreds to now reaching over 2 000 athletes, with 40% reportedly from South Africa, which is clearly bound to have an impact on the Bay’s economy.
Thriving sectors sought out during the days nearing IRONMAN are the tourism and hospitality sections. Some athletes and spectators who come from abroad, usually arrive in Port Elizabeth a couple of days or weeks before the actual race begins, which gives a boost to the Bay’s hospitality industry.
The additional exploration of the city’s rich culture and wildlife, as well as other tourist attraction activities or sites, also draw profit to the tourism industry.
Media coverage alongside social media has assisted in drawing a lot of attention to Port Elizabeth, which conveys positive as well as key exposure which is needed for the city to thrive, which in return brings major and positive exposure for any tourist interests or future visitations.
Reflecting in proximity to the benefits of the triathlon within the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay rather than the general economic impact at large, the annual Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship has had an effect as well.
The weekend provides temporary employment opportunities to residents. Local news outlets form part of the media coverage which broadcasts on the days, as well as repeats thereafter.
The Siyaphambili Triathlon Participation development programme assists athletes who come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with training and being ready and part of the Triathlon.
The IRONMAN 4 the Kids Charity Trust, which is a non-profit organisation also supports by raising funds every year that are contributed to the trust which assists less fortunate children.
The annual triathlon has also inspired residents to partake or to attend as fans and spot favourites.
One such Port Elizabeth resident is Odwa Tshambu (22), who is passionate about rugby and sport in general.
“It’s big. It’s really big. People from all over attend this event and at times, there are big names as well – like John Smit who was once the captain of the Springboks and who has attended a couple of times. IRONMAN truly makes Port Elizabeth trend because there is usually great hype surrounding it,” he commented.
In September 2017, Port Elizabeth was selected as the host city for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which is the biggest IRONMAN 70.3 event. It is set to generate a lot of revenue, which will therefore boost the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay once again.
This event, which takes place later on in the year, is expected to attract even more people than the annual Standard Bank IRONNMAN African Championship usually receives. This will also give the economy of the local metro and neighbouring towns a big boost, especially when it comes to hospitality.
The World Championship is set to put Port Elizabeth on the map on a global scale and give international recognition for further future investments. - KWAKHONA JUBASE