Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race an economic boost for Botswana
information supplied by: Cross Country Commission (Media)
13 September 2010
TOYOTA KALAHARI BOTSWANA 1000 DESERT RACE AN ECONOMIC BOOST FOR BOTSWANA
The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race has grown into the biggest annual sports event in Botswana with the event enjoying more government backing this year.
The Botswana Tourism Organisations (BTO) is again playing a major role in the event from September 24 to 26. The race this year is round six of the Absa Off Road Championship with race headquarters moving from the Game City complex in Gaborone to Kumakwane.
The event is again being organised by the 4 Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa which, in conjunction with Toyota and Mascom Cellular Botswana, works closely with the BTO and other government departments. The club has been involved with the event since the race moved to Botswana in 1991.
“A major part of the success of the race is the good relationship we have with the BTO and the other government departments with whom we deal,” said race chairman Alan Reid. “Organising the race is a massive logistical exercise and we could not manage without the co-operation we get from the government and local authorities.”
Myra Sekgororoane, Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Organisation, said over the years the Toyota 1000 Desert Race had grown into a must see event in Botswana. “It is a social, cultural and sporting event all rolled into one,” she said.
“The race strengthens ties between Botswana and South Africa and also provides us with a major economic boost.”
It is estimated the influx of competitors, support teams and spectators from South Africa and neighbouring countries is worth about Pula 7 million to Botswana in foreign exchange. There is also a tourism spin-off in that large numbers of people who are either competitors or spectators visit Botswana during the event leading to repeat visits to other parts of the country.
Ms Sekgororoane added that apart from the tourism boost, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race provided numerous opportunities along the route for small scale entrepreneurs to provide a wide range of services to competitors and spectators. It is expected that over the three days the event will draw in excess of 120 000 spectators from Botswana, South Africa and neighbouring territories and we have also received some enthusiasts from as far as Europe.
More than 80 officials are involved in this year’s race organisation, and will be supplemented by 16 medical and rescue vehicles. All race officials will be in radio communication, and about 600 Botswana police officers will be deployed along the route to handle crowd and traffic control.