Volume 1, Number 2


The relationship between sport events and tourism with reference to the Spec-Savers Ironman Triathlon
Mxunyelwa, S.

In recent years, events have shown rapid growth as types of attractions within destinations. Such events have created a favourable image of a host destination by, among others, expanding the traditional tourist season, spreading tourist demand more evenly through an area and attracting foreign and domestic visitors (Keyser, 2002). Thus events are increasingly becoming established as an integral part of tourism development and marketing strategies.

Buffalo City, comprising the city of East London and the towns of Berlin, Bisho, Butterworth, King William's Town and Stutterheim, is situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It has hosted a number of successful events, notably the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3, that have attracted many national and international tourists, either as participants or spectators (Buffalo City Tourism 2010). However, no known research has been done to determine the socio-cultural impact of such events on the community of Buffalo City.

The purpose of this article is to report the findings of a study aimed at determining the socio-cultural impact of event tourism on the East London community, with the particular target event being the Spec-Savers Ironman 70.3, Buffalo City, South Africa.

It is hoped that the findings will provide a foundation for event managers, local municipality decision-makers and other parties involved to be utilised in the planning, promotion and presentation of future events with a view to local community support and sustainability in the context of a developing economy such as the city of East London.

Keywords: Sports, Events tourism, Socio-cultural impact, Spec-Savers Ironman, Triathlon, Spectators