Durban’s Top Gear Festival Economic Impact Results

An economic impact study on the Top Gear Festival hosted in Durban on 16 and 17 June at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and People’s Park in Durban KwaZulu-Natal has been released and the results are outstanding, writes Anne Fyfe-Hitchings.

At a recent event for all partners and sponsors of Top Gear Festival, James Cooke-Priest, COO of Top Gear Live presented the results of two independent evaluations, which were commissioned to assess the success criteria against all objectives (one of which was commissioned by the City of Durban), and the results were reassuringly outstanding.

In his speech, James commented, “There is plenty of both factual and anecdotal evidence that the Top Gear Festival more than achieved what it set out achieve in partnership with the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and the City of Durban. Whether it be the hard statistics, of having attracted over 67,000 visitors more than 20,000 of them (more than 31%) from outside eThekwini, or that having projected an economic benefit of R62 million, it has independently been calculated as nearer R93 million, which is a fantastic result”.

Over and above the research and hard facts, the positive impact of the event could be felt on the ground in a very real way.  The flights were full; the hotels were full; the restaurants were full and new jobs were created. A well-defined development and legacy programme also plays a huge role in providing benefit to the local community and the Top Gear Festival more than achieved this.

A new CSI programme was initiated providing education and inspiration to the next generation of kids and already the initial plans have been further developed to create apprenticeships and work experience placements with local businesses.

From a publicity perspective, the show generated over R90 million worth of coverage in the print, online and digital realm.  The ‘Deadly 720’ world record double loop the loop, which was specifically commissioned to attract global media interest in Durban has been viewed online by over 1.4 million and covered by the press around the world.

Said Philip Sithole, CEO of Durban Tourism, “‘The Province of KwaZulu-Natal and the City of Durban are proud to have hosted this prestigious festival of motoring.  The objective of the City in hosting major events is not just about the event itself, but to create interest in the destination and thereby attract future visitation as well as boosting the local economy – short and long term.   Successfully hosting high profile global brands such as the Top Gear Festival enhances the City’s profile as a city capable of hosting such major events and provides excellent opportunities to bid for and host other world-class events in the future. We are delighted with the achievements this year and look forward to taking the event to new heights in 2013. “

This year’s Top Gear Festival in ‘the warmest place to be’ attracted over 67,000 and achieved massive success in terms of its economic benefits and ongoing legacy programmes in the region.  James Cooke-Priest concluded the formalities by saying, “Durban, in conjunction with the wider KwaZulu-Natal Province is a city with a world-class attitude and aptitude for attracting, supporting and hosting world class events. Thank you for having us, we look forward to many more years working together and supporting you in ensuring Durban remains in the top tier of destinations to host world class events”.

After the overwhelming popularity and success of this year’s event, plans are already underway to further cement the successes of this year and ensure that Top Gear Festival in partnership with the Province of KwaZulu-Natal and the City of Durban goes from strength to strength.

For more information on the event or to register interest in next year’s event visit

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