The Hi-Tec Walkerbay Xtreme adventure sport weekend made about the same financial contribution to the coffers of Hermanus businesses, namely an estimated R1.2-m, as they make during the busy Easter weekend. The weekend therefore significantly boosted the town’s economy during the early winter over the long weekend at the beginning of May, an independent impact study shows.
“Almost 85% of participants came from outside Hermanus, and most of these athletes travelled here with friends and family who were able to experience the best that our town has to offer,” says Rick Oosthuyzen, who heads up the HI-TEC Walkerbay Xtreme organising team. “Attracting this kind of tourism influx and economic injection into the town outside of our traditional tourist season is vital to the town and greater region’s sustainability.”
Nearly 1 000 professional and amateur athletes and their supporters visited the town between 29 April and 1 May this year. They took part in a range of activities like triathlon, trail running and urban cycling, as well as the scenic 2.5km Open Water Xtreme swim that got centre-stage exposure via a CNN International news feature about South Africa’s love affair with adventure, and open water swimming in particular. Open water swimmer Arafat Gatabazi, who learnt to swim after arriving in South Africa as a refugee from the DRC, was one of the Walkerbay Xtreme swimmers who got special attention on CNN.
“This is exactly the kind of exposure we need to put the Walkerbay Xtreme on the global map,” says Oosthuyzen. “The event is still in its infancy, but it is our vision to position it as an international bucket list event, and attract athletes from across the world,”
The 2018 Walkerbay Xtreme is scheduled for 28 to 30 April.