Durban - The countdown to this year’s Vodacom Durban July has started. With 23 days to go until the biggest horse raising event on African soil, organisers say preparations are at an advanced stage.
In the fashion stakes, this year’s theme, The Captain’s Table, is set to attract a more elegant, chic and well-groomed look.
The Vodacom Durban July, also considered one of the leading events on the SA social calendar, takes place on the first Saturday of July every year. This year it will take place on 4 July.
Event organiser Dave Mcleod said the Greyville Racecourse had been spruced up and now even boasted a new all-weather race track.
"The racecourse is looking fantastic. We had a new artificial race track called the Poly track installed last year. The good thing is that it has cemented quite nicely over the last couple of months and we can now have races in any weather conditions," said Mcleod.
The event, which celebrates its 119th anniversary this year, is broadcast worldwide.
"It is one of the most notable and biggest hospitality events of its kind in Africa. Last year we had one double-decker marquee and this year we have three. The marquee village space was a complete sell-out but people can still buy tickets for specific marquees.
"What’s different about this year’s Durban July is that the Captain’s Table theme means that you get an invite to the 'captain’s table' so we can expect people to turn up in elegant, high fashion and classy outfits," said Mcleod.
Last year the event was attended by more than 55 000 people and event organisers are hoping to attract an even bigger crowd this year.
"We are excited because Greyville Racecourse has had a complete make-over from the track to the fence and even the grandstands. The place has been spruced up a bit. All our walls have a fresh coat of paint. We are looking good," said Mcleod.
He said one of the most significant changes in the profile of the event was the number of people coming from outside the province.
"A lot of our guests are from Gauteng and the cool thing is that when they come for the event they stay in Durban for the whole weekend. Interestingly, in 2012 Gauteng [visitors] made up 20% of our guests and in 2014, 50%... were from Gauteng," he said.
The event contributed R425m to the regional economy in 2014. This included restaurants, airfares and hotel bookings.
"Of the R425m, R200m is splurged on betting on the day.
"We are one of the top races in the world. The Vodacom Durban July is up there among the best races. We are more than ready for this year’s event," said Mcleod.
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