Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in social dynamics not only in South Africa, but all over the world. The Bloodhound project that will be hosted in the Northern Cape is a fine example of how tourism can help to unify and uplift communities.

The Bloodhound project will see RAF wing commander Andy Green steer a custom-built supersonic car in an attempt to set a new world land speed record by travelling at 1 000 miles (1 600 km) per hour. The supersonic car will be propelled by rocket and aircraft engines to achieve the necessary propulsion. The first test runs will take place at Hakskeenpan in the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape from September 2018.

Supported by the Northern Cape provincial government since 2010, the Bloodhound project has created employment for members of the small villages in the Mier district and brought technological advances and infrastructural improvements that would otherwise have been unobtainable.

The project has contributed significantly to job creation in the area with over 300 members of the local community being contracted to assist with track clearance. Since November 2010 over 15 800 tons of stones have been removed from the track and safety zones. The nearby communities have also benefited from a fresh water pipeline and a sophisticated communication network.

Local mobile service provider MTN has signed on as official telecommunication partner and has invested over R30-million in infrastructure at the pan. It has installed long-term evolution (LTE) technology to transmit video, audio and data from the car and provided 3G connectivity in the area.

The Bloodhound project has also been pivotal in the marketing efforts of the province by drawing global attention to a very remote part of South Africa’s largest province. The province has been promoting itself as a premier destination for extreme sports and outdoor adventure and this high-octane adventure has highlighted this positioning. It has also showcased the tourism potential and diversity of experiences to be enjoyed in the Hakskeenpan area.

During the build-up to the first run, the pan has attracted thousands of visitors which has made a positive contribution to alleviate unemployment and has also delivered a significant financial impact in local communities.

Since 2010, the pan has hosted several motoring events and even the World Tourism Day celebrations. Each of these events created further opportunities for community development and participation as event managers engage locals as service providers. This has contributed to giving the local community a sense of pride and ownership in the project.

The pan lies in the heart of the Kalahari Red Dune Route and visitors have been encouraged to explore the fascinating offerings of this diverse region, which offers something for any type of traveller whether looking for luxury, adventure, culture or family fun.

Children are being empowering and inspired by the science and technology represented by the Bloodhound project. All data generated, including research and design, and from the manufacturing and testing stages, are available to schools registered with the Bloodhound education department.

Visit the Northern Cape Tourism Authority at: www.experiencenortherncape.com