KITTED OUT: Blitzbokke coach Neil Powell and SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux present the Sevens jersey to mayor Patricia de Lille at the press conference about the upcoming tournament, which will take place at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday and Sunday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA
Cape Town - With the Rugby Sevens World Series just days away, Cape Town is gearing up to welcome thousands of visitors for the South African leg of the tournament.

The two-day event is set to inject millions of rand into the city’s economy and create jobs, considering last year’s economic performance where the city received a R434 million boost while 1 400 direct jobs were created.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said: “This tournament creates an extraordinary vibe that only the Sevens can bring. The past two years of hosting this tournament have added tremendous value to the city and its people who made this one of the top events in Cape Town. Last year was particularly impressive because we had over 115 000 people attending the Cape Town Sevens over the two days. These numbers have significant economic spin-offs for the city, which means residents get to benefit from us hosting such an enormous global event,” De Lille said.

De Lille said that last year the tournament’s total direct impact on the city’s economy was R432m, and resulted in the creation of 1 400 jobs while putting the city on a global platform.

“As Africa’s leading travel destination, we know the ripple effect by way of job creation during the events and after. The increased spending at our attractions and across the hospitality industry are all a welcome injection into the local economy. The tickets for this year’s tournament were snapped up in two hours - an amazing feat,” she said.

Another economic booster was the recent Volvo Ocean Yacht race. According to Regus, one of the sponsors, the event is a welcome economic boost to the city and country’s economy with the 2014 event having contributed over R540m.

Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy said the Cape Town leg of the Volvo Ocean Race was expected to contribute about R500m and 35 000 bed nights to the city’s economy, however, the start city of the race, Alicante, Spain, estimates the economic value of each leg to be R960m.

“The contribution to the tourism economy relates to direct tourism spend, as well as indirect spend on entertainment, restaurant visits and transport, among other aspects. This event highlights the ongoing impact events can have for the city all year round.”

Duminy said tourism was one of the few sectors in South Africa in which employment opportunities were on the rise and the number of people employed nationally in this sector was well over 700 000, making it a bigger employer than the traditionally main employer in the country, mining.

“The staging of large events has become a feature of the Cape Town economy, and certainly promotes employment and greater business activity for a number of industries. Both domestic and international visitors come to the city for the major events, spending on flights, accommodation, car hire and other transport, and food. In addition to spend, many visitors stay on in the city after the event has finished, often booking tours and purchasing arts and crafts.”

Duminy said the economic impact of large events was significant: between 2012 and 2014, about R3 billion came into the province through events, which brought in 300 000 visitors.

He said the biggest event on the city's calendar in terms of tourism is the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which attracted about 37 000 visitors and contributed R700m to the Western Cape economy in 2014, and creates over 2 000 temporary jobs.

Duminy said the Sevens Rugby has been important on the sports calendar and generated revenue of R539m last year.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux is hoping to secure the tournament for another three years.

Cape Argus