The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency has confirmed that The Herald VW Cycle Tour will be joining a select group of partner events that will be used to promote the province through sport.
ECPTA chief executive officer Luxolo Rubushe said the action-packed event, which takes place in Port Elizabeth and Addo, embodied the essence of the Adventure Province and was a great fit for the brand.
“We are very excited about being first-time sponsors of the event,” said Rubushe.
“Sporting events are an essential element of our event strategy as they promote economic development through job creation and business opportunities for locals and also 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.
“We have identified an opportunity to use events to attract visitors to the Eastern Cape. These are people who would not ordinarily visit the destination without a reason, which in this case is cycling.”
The cycling festival joins the following events (among others) that form part of ECPTA’s event partnership strategy: Ironman 70.3, Ironman South Africa, the Africa Open Golf Challenge, Ocean Racing Series and the SPAR River Mile.
“The exposure we can expect to receive from the cycle tour and similar initiatives is priceless,” said Rubushe.
He said investing in a sustainable event such as The Herald VW 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 225 000 jobs by 2020, said Rubushe.
“We are working towards gaining a slice of these arrivals through event partnerships.”
He said the concept of adventure did not exclusively refer to adrenalin-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 currently 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 to cater for the increasing demand.
The 2014 edition of The Herald VW Cycle Tour will once again 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.
New MTN-Qhubeka pro signing John-Lee Augustyn crosses the scenic Addo landscape during this year’s 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge, which forms part of The Herald VW Cycle Tour.
Photo: Eugene Coetzee