Nedbank Desert Dash this weekend … to boost the coastal economy
Coastal residents and the business community of Swakopmund are excited and eagerly awaiting a resumption of business activity during this weekend’s Nedbank Desert Dash, which begins tomorrow December 10 and ends Saturday December 11.
Hundreds of cyclists, their support teams, families and cycling fans are expected to meet in Swakopmund next weekend, with their purchasing power set to boost the coastal economy.
Businesses have been hit hard by the slowdown caused by the drop in tourist traffic due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
âDuring the three to four days of Dash, we usually see a lot of commercial activity, spending in supermarkets and hotels, and this helps the economy of Swakopmund,â enthuses Almuth Styles of the Namib Tourist Information Center. -I.
âUsually, accommodation places are fully booked during the Nedbank Desert Dash weekend. Every dollar counts and helps pay a salary; it is always a positive development.
Desert Dash’s contribution to Swakopmund’s economy should be the start of a good season ahead of the Christmas and New Years celebrations, as Styles expects more visitors this year.
Christine Visser, small business owner and fitness instructor, agrees that the Desert Dash “brings a big commercial buzz” to Swakopmund, with many events taking place at the beach, malls and hotels during this time.
She also noted that in addition to the Nedbank Desert Dash, Nedbank supports other sporting and social events on the coast.
In recent years, the Nedbank Desert Classic, a premier golf competition, as well as the Nedbank Swakopmund Food Festival have given new impetus to the coastal economy.
âThe Desert Dash has many spinoffs and its impact goes beyond the cycling event. The hundreds of cyclists and fans who will come for the event are expected to spend money on accommodation as well as other leisure activities on the coast, âsaid Nedbank Namibia
communications manager, Selma Kaulinge.
She adds that hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, adventure tours, car rental companies, and restaurants typically see increased sales during the Dash.
The Nedbank Desert Dash is one of Namibia’s largest sporting events and the world’s longest single-stage mountain bike race, covering over 369km between Windhoek and Swakopmund through the Khomas Hochland and the Namib Desert in 24 hours.
Kaulinge added: âThe Desert Dash is one of the main sporting events in Namibia. This year’s event comes at a time when the tourist industry on the coast is in need of visitors. The pandemic has slowed the growth of the Namibian economy and tourism, one of the main sectors of the coast, has been hit hard. Through Dash, Nedbank Namibia is making a significant effort to help support the tourism industry on the coast. Nedbank Namibia is proud to be its main sponsor. We are also happy that the run continues to help many charities around the country. ”
Swakopmund Municipality Chief Executive Archie Benjamin estimates Desert Dash brings in around N $ 20 million to the local economy, saying he is delighted that after the difficult period caused by the pandemic, Desert Dash will once again attract local and international spotlights on the coastal pole.
âWe in Swakopmund are excited. After a few difficult months in a new year of Covid-19, the Desert Dash brings international visibility to Namibia. We welcome cyclists, support teams and supporters. Swakopmund is ready to welcome you.
This year, the Desert Dash is expected to attract participants from South Africa, Malawi, United States, Germany, Portugal, Great Britain, France, Serbia, Canada, Ireland, Belgium and Botswana. All cyclists will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test in order to participate.