Econet Victoria Falls Marathon to drive economic growth, tourism

09 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Econet Victoria Falls Marathon to drive economic growth, tourism

The Sunday News

Sports Correspondent

NOW in its 16th year, the Econet Victoria Falls Marathon — which will take place in the scenic resort city on 7 July has emerged as more than just a premier sporting event.

With its growing economic significance, the international marathon — held every winter amid the majestic backdrop of the iconic Victoria Falls — has grown to become a catalyst for economic growth, as it draws local and global participation and attention.

Analysts and business leaders alike have described the marathon as a key driver of economic activity, attracting an influx of both local and international participants, spectators and tourists.

The event has bolstered the profile of Victoria Falls as a global tourist destination and also contributed significantly to the local economy.

“The Econet Victoria Falls Marathon is growing to be a significant contributor to Zimbabwe’s national vision of creating a multi-billion-dollar tourism economy,” said international business expert Macdonald Ndovi.

He said the event, popularly referenced as Africa’s Number 1 Marathon, is a strategic investment in Zimbabwe’s future, propelling economic growth and solidifying Victoria Falls as a world-class tourist destination.

The marathon, which is this year expected to attract more than 5 500 runners from around the world, is expected to increase spending on accommodation, food, transportation, and other goods and services in Victoria Falls.

The influx of tourists provides a much-needed boost to the local hospitality industry, with hotels, lodges, and guest houses experiencing high occupancy rates during the event.

“The Victoria Falls Marathon has become an important event in Zimbabwe’s sporting calendar, attracting both elite athletes and recreational runners looking to experience a memorable race in a breathtaking setting,” said tourism expert and researcher Charles Mavhunga.

“The event serves as a platform for promoting the tourism industry in Zimbabwe and a major driver of tourism and economic activity in the region.”

As the marathon enters its 16th year and continues to grow, it is expected to offer even more opportunities for local businesses to showcase their products and services to a broader audience.

An increase in demand for services in the resort city during the marathon generates direct revenue and helps promote business activities in the city and surrounding areas.

“The positive publicity generated by the Victoria Falls Marathon helps raise the profile of Victoria Falls, leading to increased interest in the region from potential visitors who may not have been aware of the tourist attractions offered by Victoria Falls, thus contributing to the long-term growth of tourism revenue for Zimbabwe’s economy,” Mavhunga added.

Local entrepreneurs and small businesses are among the biggest beneficiaries of the marathon. From vendors selling crafts and food to service providers offering guided tours and transport, the event provides a platform for local enterprises to thrive.

“The Econet Victoria Falls Marathon is a golden opportunity for local businesses,” said Nyasha Mandizvidza, a market analyst.

“It enables small-scale entrepreneurs to tap into a larger market, driving sales and expanding their customer base. This event is a lifeline for many, promoting economic inclusivity and community growth,” she said.

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