The CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) has just returned from a trip to Brazil to put into place concrete measures to cooperate with Brazilian authorities as Brazil prepares to host both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. He met with the Rio 2016 Organising Committee CEO Leonardo Gryner and Rio Tourism executive VP Mauricio Lobo last week.
Calvyn Gilfellan with Leonardo Gryner.
"The Brazilians I met were impressed at how we pulled off the best ever FIFA World Cup. They see it as a major victory for the developing world and are extremely keen to listen and learn from South Africa and Cape Town in particular because of the obvious commonalities between Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro," observed Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of CTRU.
In order to cement existing relationships, the parties among others discussed the following matters:
A possible cooperation agreement between the state of Rio de Janeiro and the provincial government of the Western Cape; this would complement and incorporate the existing City of Cape Town and City of Rio de Janeiro memorandum of agreement
The State of Rio also has six tourism regions sharing similarities with the six tourism regions of the Western Cape; an overall memorandum of agreement could also link the districts with these regions
The establishment of an African Fan Village in Rio de Janeiro, which would act as a base for South African and African fans attending the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016
A twinning agreement between Ilha Grande, a former island for political prisoners in Brazil and Robben Island.
CTRU brought home business leads, such as a visit of an Argentinean rugby team to play a historic game on Robben Island in November 2011, agricultural tours to the Cape West Coast in February 2012, the cloning of the Cape Town Jazz festival in São Paulo and a Science, Technology and Innovation exchange between Argentina and South Africa.
"We hope to have significant progress on these and other matters at the time of Soccerex Rio in November. Obviously all of these negotiations and engagements are done within the ambit of existing bilateral agreements and protocols," adds Gilfellan.
"Even though the Soccer Tournament is three years away Rio and São Paolo are bustling with road and other construction works. The general citizenry is already displaying high levels of excitement," he concludes.
While in South America, Gilfellan attended the annual Explore South Africa marketing workshops in Buenos Aires, Argentina and São Paolo. At these workshops South African tourism exhibitors had the opportunity to sell their products to the top outbound Brazilian and Argentinean operators.
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