Cape Town hosts ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’!

As far as Cape Town events go, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is the ‘stepsister’ of higher profile events such as the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the J&B Met.  Today Cape Town hosts the 43rd Two Oceans Marathon, which carries the proud pay-off line of ‘The world’s most beautiful marathon’, says its website.

The pay-off line describes the picturesque route the 56 km ultra-marathon runners will cover, starting near SA Breweries at Main Road in Newlands, going through Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, and Constantia Nek, and ending at UCT.  One hopes for the runners that the rain will hold off until they complete the marathon.  The half-marathon of 21 km is run in Constantia.  The Two Oceans Marathon will result in a number of road closures in the Southern Suburbs, including Constantia, Claremont, Newlands, Bishopscourt, and Mowbray.

Interesting is that little information about the economic value of the Two Oceans Marathon could be found via Google, such information usually proudly presented by sponsors and organisers of the other mainstream Cape Town events. A Cape Business News article quoted Calvyn Gilfellan, the former CEO of the now defunct Cape Town Routes Unlimited, in providing the economic value of major Cape events, and the Two Oceans Marathon falls in fifth place, in having generated R80 million for the local economy.  This compares to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival economic impact of R500 million, that of the Cape Argus Cycle Tour of R450 million, the Cape Epic at R200 million, and the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) at R96 million.  The J&B Met and Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson are far smaller in their economic impact.

The tourism impact of Cape events appears to be reducing, we found this year, with occupancy of Camps Bay guest houses having reduced for the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the J&B Met, and the Cape Town International jazz Festival, compared to previous years, indicating that more locals and fewer out-of-town visitors may be participating in these events, and therefore the economic impact figures for this year may be lower than last year.  Odd therefore was to see a lightweight media interview by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold with Eye Witness News (the news service for Kfm), her first media appearance since she took maternity leave in December last year, even though she has not yet officially returned to work.  She states that the Easter weekend will be busy due to the Two Oceans Marathon and the KKNK (in Oudtshoorn), but this is contrary to our experience, with many Camps Bay guest houses not being fully-booked this weekend.  The rain forecast for the next three days would not encourage tourism to the city.  She also referred to ‘other events in the city’ over this weekend, but we are not aware of any event other than the Two Oceans Marathon.  She countered the petrol price increase, and its impact on tourism, saying that ‘we still expect a lot of people to come to Cape Town over the Easter weekend‘, without backing up her claim with quantitative information.  She appears to be very out of touch with the tourism industry due to her long maternity leave break.

We wish the 23000 Two Oceans Marathon runners, and visitors to Cape Town supporting them, a wonderful day in the most beautiful city in the world!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com twitter:@WhaleCottage

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