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[2010 FIFA World Cup legacy] The true legacy of 2010 - part 2

The first part of this 2010 Legacy Series analysed the direct benefits accruing to South Africa from having hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup, such as an increase in investor confidence, global media advocacy, social cohesion, country brand and business confidence. In the second part, we look at the indirect benefits.
In particular, these are the so-called Net Promoter Score of country and continent and the positive word-of-mouth effect that was generated during the world's biggest sporting event and how this newly gained global confidence can be leveraged to bear economic fruits for many years to come.

The true value of P2P diplomacy

According to the author of the quarterly Nation Brand Index, Simon Anholt, "if traditional diplomacy is government-to-government (G2G) and public diplomacy is government-to-people (G2P), then effective nation branding also includes an element of P2P... When the entire population is galvanized into becoming the mouthpiece of a country's values and qualities, then you have an advertising medium that is actually equal to the enormous task of communicating something so complex to so many.

"All of us, I think, have the experience of feeling special feelings about a particular country that we have never visited. My special country was always Sri Lanka. Long before I went to Sri Lanka the place had a special attraction for me: when Sri Lanka appeared in the news, I paid it particular attention, I was always interested in going there on holiday and, on the rare occasions where I saw a product that was made in Sri Lanka, I somehow was more interested in that than the other products. For a long time I couldn't work out where this odd prejudice had come from, and then I remembered that years before, at a conference, I had met a man from Sri Lanka. We'd got talking about his country during a break in the conference, and he had been so passionate, sincere and so obviously in love with his own country that I was completely sold. From that moment, I thought that Sri Lanka must be heaven on earth. And years later, I went to Sri Lanka and had a rather miserable time, and I still went away thinking it was the best country in the world."

The most powerful piece of marketing

Anholt concludes: "It occurred to me then that I had been subjected to the most powerful piece of marketing I had ever experienced in my life: it was 100% effective, because it even survived a disappointing experience with the product. It was, as far as I can tell, 100 % permanent. It was, as far as Sri Lanka is concerned, 100% free, because of course my Sri Lankan friend wasn't paid to go around telling people he met at conferences about how wonderful his native country was. And, unlike all other communication media, using the population to spread the word also gives you 100% global coverage."

The strategic blueprint for doubling tourism in 10 years

Fortunately, when it comes to leveraging the 2010 legacy for boosting economic recovery and creating jobs, SA does not need to re-invent the wheel. Ever since the 1992 Olympics hosted by Barcelona, the legacy blueprint designed and applied by the Spaniards holds all the keys to mastering a successful legacy that can last as long as 15 years - this is exactly how long Barcelona's legacy strategy has been bearing fruit.

Key to the much vaunted 'Barcelona Effect' was a global events hosting strategy which saw Barcelona become the organiser of the "Barcelona Sports" programme, covering 15 annual events on a recurring basis, including The Barcelona Marathon (March), International Polo Tournament (April), Spanish F-1 Grand Prix (April), Freixenet Regatta (May), Marlboro Grand Prix of Catalonia (June), and the National Football Championships (September-May).

Three key campaigns

In addition, Barcelona applied three key campaigns that were catalysts in doubling the number of incoming tourists within a period of 10 years.
  1. Building brand community for car lovers

    On the corporate front, Barcelona positioned itself on the world car industry circuit and, for a long time, was the chosen location for new model launches.

    Over the 1993-2001 period, 127 automobile sector events took place in the city, attracting millions of car enthusiasts and continuously claiming the international media spotlight for car magazines. In 1993, the Opel Corsa launch saw more than 10 000 delegates registered, followed closely by 9000 delegates descending onto Barcelona in 1995 for the Renault Megane launch.

  2. Turning floating hotels into global attractions

    As for the cruise sector, the role of the games was fundamental. The "Maritime Hotels Plan" was to mark the turning point of Barcelona's development as the Mediterranean and Europe's no. 1 cruiser port.

    For an average of 18 days, 11 ships served as hotels during the Olympic Games. The ships were at the disposal of the sponsors and the port was the second largest concentration of Olympic accommodation during the games, with 11 000 guests, after the Olympic Village itself, which had capacity for around 15 000.

    The cruise industry legacy was such that, from 115 137 cruise passengers in 1990, Barcelona saw the attendance rocket to 2 069 651 in 2008.

  3. Taking visitors for a ride

    Even more impressive was the explosion of visitor numbers to a new attraction that was born just two years before the 1992 Olympic Games, and which took visitors on a colourful bus to the major sightseeing attractions of the Catalan capital, showing tremendous growth from 23 749 passengers in 1990 to 2 076 785 travellers in 2008.

    According to a local travel guide, "the Barcelona Bus Turistic places all of Barcelona within your reach... From the modernist architecture to the gastronomy, right through to the Olympic village and the Mediterranean sea: it's all Barcelona! The Bus will take you there. All you have to do is enjoy!"

Hospitality sector leading the African Renaissance

Interestingly, the recent MasterCard Worldwide Insights report shows that, between 2002 and 2007, the fastest growing sector in sub-Saharan African were hotels and restaurants, with annual growth of 8.7%.

As every eight tourists create one sustainable job, the projected influx of an additional 10 million visitors by 2020 will have a significant impact on job creation, and positions SA well to take a leadership role in hosting international events and attracting the lion's share of global tourists and investors for many years to come.

The next article in the 'Legacy 2010 series' will explore whether SA should bid for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympic Games - and how 2020 could equal the achievements of the 1984 Olympic Games held by Los Angeles, that did not spend a single cent of taxpayers' money and generated a profit of US$215 million.

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About Dr Nikolaus Eberl

Dr Nikolaus Eberl is the author of BrandOvation™: How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding and The Hero's Journey: Building a Nation of World Champions. He headed the Net Promoter Scorecard research project on SA's destination branding success story during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, co-authored the World Cup Brand Ambassador Program 'Welcome 2010' and was chairperson of the inaugural 2010 FAN World Cup. Email and follow @nikolauseberl.