Desert Dash set to boost local economy
Various service providers in Swakopmund are set to get a boost in their respective businesses, as the Nedbank Desert Dash 2017 comes to the coast on 8 November.
From accommodation establishments bursting at the seams to a surge in adventure tours and even booming butchery sales, the international cycling event makes a significant and wide ranging impact on the economy of the holiday town of Swakopmund. Its impact on Namibia’s economy as a whole is estimated to amount to a whopping N$20 million.
According to Thusnelda Araes, who deals with the reservations at Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, about 80 out of their 90 rooms are fully booked between 9 and 15 December this year.
Equally, close to 200 bungalows managed by the Municipality of Swakopmund is filled to capacity for the Nedbank Desert Dash weekend. This was confirmed by Chris Tjaimi, who manages bookings on behalf of the local authority.
By Friday, 24 November, Swakopmund Sands Hotel only had six of their 25 rooms free for the day of the event, and only one room for the following day.
Clarice Theys, who until recently managed a bed and breakfast from her home in the suburb of Vineta, said her experience has been that the Nedbank Desert Dash consistently results in a scramble for a place to stay because of its popularity and international appeal.
“The Desert Dash without a doubt makes a definite impact on the town’s economy,” she says. Upon enquiry, Jessica Enslin from Abenteuer Afrika Safari has seen a surge in the number of adventure tours booked, particularly over the past two years. Although many people usually make a last-minute or spur-the moment reservation for these kind of activities, she says: “There is always an impact,” Theys added.
Lala Bezuidenhout from Benguela Butchery, situated in the suburb of Tamariskia, said despite being busy over the December festive season in general, there is a noticeable peak during the weekend the cycling world and their loved ones make Swakopmund their home for the Nedbank Desert Dash.
According to Gabes Hevita from Bidvest Rent A Car, they usually do not have a single vehicle left that is up for grabs over that weekend. “Normally, between 8 and 15 December, all cars are booked,” he added.
Their busiest time is prior to and after the Nedbank Desert Dash, Alfons Kiesewetter from Cycles 4 U said. Before the race, cyclists bring their bicycles to him and his team to get them ready, from which afterwards, they come for a wash and a lube to clean their bikes.
Kieserwetter added that they experience a whopping 60% increase in their business activities as a direct result of the Nedbank Desert Dash.
“Following our first foray into the essence of this race last year, this time around we are ready to offer an even greater experience for race participants. Our race organisers and co-sponsors have implemented some exciting new developments for the 2017 event, which include quite nifty innovations that will broaden both the scope and appeal of our second Dash. We all know cycling does well on so many levels. It is beneficial to the environment – with the lowest CO2 emissions of all forms of transport – it improves fitness, it’s excellent for mental health and it brings people together in an active community,” Lionel Matthews, managing director of Nedbank Namibia said.
Furthermore, Nedbank’s involvement is concerned from an organisational perspective, the opportunity arose for Nedbank to come on boards as an anchor sponsor when the previous sponsors released the reigns and rights to the event.