Cape Town - The Nelson Mandela Bay's Standard Bank Ironman African Championships received glowing accolades when Ironman released its 2017 Athlete’s Choice Awards on Tuesday, 13 February.
The Ironman African Champions is a major tourism boost in the metro as a whole as international tourists, as well as athletes and spectators travel to the Bay in September to get the unique opportunity to visit one of SA's wildly beautiful and historically significant areas of the world.
According to NMB's member of the mayoral committee for Economic Development Tourism and Agriculture, Andrew Whitfield, who made the statement, out of the 40 full Ironman and more than 100 Ironman 70.3 events around the world, the Standard Bank Ironman African Championships, held annually in Port Elizabeth, was selected third overall in Race Venue.
Added to that, Whitfield says the city was selected second overall in Host City Experience and first overall in the Overall Swim, Overall Bike and Overall Run course.
“We are not surprised that Nelson Mandela Bay is ranked so highly by international athletes as we are a unique tourist destination with a great product offering that can compete with any other destination in the world," says Whitfield.
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Whitfield says Paul Wolff, Keith Bowler and the rest of the Ironman South Africa teammates further enhance what Port Elizabeth has to offer by organising world class events, in collaboration with a collective of municipal officials, every year.
“The results of the awards show that our hard work is not going unnoticed and must be continuously improved on," says Whitfield, who's confident that the Standard Bank Ironman African Championships in April and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September will prove to be world class events as well.
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Other sports boosting tourism in the NMD
Bay Ultra Marathon
The annual Bay Ultra Marathon, powered by Amobia, has become an institution in the world of running, not just in the Bay but for athletes from all over South Africa.
Date: 03 February
Herald Cycle Tour
The Herald Cycle Tour is an annual cycle race held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It features both 105 km and 46 km road race events. The first Herald Cycle Tour in 1986 had 350 competitors, by 2007 there were over 3500 cyclists competing in the event.
Date: 25 February
Ocean Racing Series
Started in January 2006, the Ocean Racing Series is one of the largest beachfront events in Africa and is unique to Nelson Mandela Bay.
Open to all, the Series offers an opportunity for open water swimmers, fun runners, walkers and ocean paddlers from around the world to come together on a fortnightly basis in summer to take part in a world class fun event - without the requirement of expensive equipment or specialist skills.
Date: Until 11 April 2018
The Bay is sure to host more international rugby events with the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium already having hosted a variety of international tests as well as being the host of the IRB international sevens South Africa leg for 4 years.
Date: 29 September
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