Monday, February 25, 2008

A1GP, Trees and Masterful Chai

This weekend past saw the end of the three year contract for Durban to host the A1 Grand Prix. Once again, the world of racing fans held a spotlight to the modest coastal locale. After braving traffic all week like a good little sheep, I went to see what the fuss was all about. And I discovered that it is incredibly easy to get enticed by the enthusiastic roar of the crowd, a wail of warriors really, and the crackle of a swarm of feisty engines, an incessant warcry. Like any crowd psychologist might muse, the air indelibly charged with an energy echoing spectator heartbeats fueled by spurts of adrenalin.

Preparations started weeks ago for the ostentatious events; and as a newcomer to Durban (I am the self-aclaimed resident tourist, remember?!), I have had to renegotiate my carefully mapped routes to work, so as to avoid the bottle-neck traffic to work on virtually every road that leads to just about anywhere.

But then, what of the many debates and dialogues engaged in around the concept of hosting an event of this apparent magnitude vs the social and environmental impacts. Environmentalists conducting impact assessments have said that mini-ecosystems ahve been upturned in the form of trees and dunes in the immediate vicinity, and socially, angered residents have packed up their apartments for the weekend, complaining about the deafening noise, and hoping against hope, that this year was the last of the motor racing. Economists say that events such as these at the outset show no returns as such. They are technically 'non-profit'. But in the greater text, they are seen as 'loss-leaders' in feasible relation to the media coverage that might entice foreign investment and interest in Durbans shores in particular, and in South Africa in general. And all the while the debates rage, the quest for a renewed contract will be put forward. Should Durban and/or SA see the dawn of another round of Grand Prix enthusiasm? Drop your suggestions in the (soapy) ballot bOx :)

4 comments:

protocolinpractice said...

I tested the effect of the A1 the best way I know - I Googled A1 Grand Prix Durban - I got 44,100 hits.

So for me that is 44,100 times Durban has been mentioned (mostly in a positive way) often with pictures.

The local authorities don't do anything to market Durban on the net, so I say go for it.

I don't know anything about economical theories but I do know that the more stuff you can make happen in a city and the more energy you can create...hey,it becomes like a magnet...and that does drive growth and investment and tourism which translate into employment and jobs and poverty alleviation etc all the way to the better life for all!

diatribe said...

It is the first time I hear the GP being mentioned as a 'loss leader', but I must say I have to agree! I like the concept, or rather the link between something like a motorsport extravaganza and a product! :-)

diatribal 'd'

Girl-in-Green said...

The cost to the environment needs to be given greater consideration. I mean, if (women) and the environment must have to constantly take the beatings, then somethings not right here! I dont understand what you mean by lossleading, as it means the same to me as loadshedding. My question is: whose losing and whose shedding burdens in the interim?

Anonymous said...

whats chai got to do with anything?

JT