South Africa's national sporting and tourism bodies have taken a major first step towards the formalisation of the sports tourism industry, as tangible steps are put in place to ensure the legacies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup are sustained for years to come.
A media briefing at SASCOC's Olympic House provided an update on preparations for the 123rd International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Durban from 3-9 July 2011 and also coincided with the launch of the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE), to be held in Cape Town from 27-29 July 2011.
Present at the briefing were Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula, IOC Executive Member Mr Sam Ramsamy, SASCOC CEO Mr Tubby Reddy and South African Tourism Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh, who were joined by key players in the tourism and sports industry, as they addressed journalists on the future of sports tourism in South Africa, with the leaders of world sport preparing to converge on Durban in just three weeks time for the IOC Session.
With South Africa's global reputation as capable mega events hosts firmly established, South Africa will use its hosting of the IOC's Session in Durban to continue to emphasise to the world's sporting leaders South Africa's considerable qualities as a potential host of world-class international sporting events.
"We've hosted the world's football fraternity in South Africa and we're delighted to now be playing host to the entire Olympic movement in our country. As the South African Government, we've thrown our full support behind the success of the IOC Session. We look forward to constructive engagement with the leaders of world sport, as we look to continue entrenching our country's positive reputation as a major international sports, tourism and events destination and as we look to bid for and host events across the sporting spectrum in South Africa," said Minister of Sport and Recreation Mr Fikile Mbalula.
Mr Ramsamy said the IOC Executive Members, who include heads of state, royalty, international sports administrators, heads of international corporate companies and sports stars, would have an "unforgettable week" in South Africa next month.
"This is a historic moment for Durban, South Africa and for Africa to host the International Olympic Committee for the first time on the continent. This is the first time that such a group is assembling in South Africa and it provides us with abounding opportunities to showcase our economy, our tourism, our culture and our people. We are extremely grateful that the IOC has given us the honour of hosting this prestigious event and preparations are well on track for what promises to be a memorable event," said Mr Ramsamy.
"We are now, with the IOC, fine-tuning our operational planning and detail for the 123rd IOC session in Durban. Preparations are going extremely well and we are very appreciative of the South African Government's strong support for this event. As SASCOC we will also use the IOC Session to support the efforts of our federations in looking for opportunities to host major sporting events across all codes," said SASCOC CEO Mr Tubby Reddy.
While the IOC Session will again showcase South Africa's capacity as a major international sporting and events destination to a global audience, the two-day SETE conference and exhibition provides the opportunity to formulate a tangible South African sports tourism strategy to maximise the potential of sports and mega events to drive future tourism growth to South Africa.
Leading academics and experts in sports, events and tourism will share their knowledge and expertise with industry leaders at SETE, being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and being hosted by South African Tourism, Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group (TEPG).
"Globally, sports tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry and with South Africa's proven capability of hosting major events, as well as our significant infrastructure footprint, it makes sense that we start pursuing sports tourism as a viable route towards achieving our tourism goals. SETE affords us the opportunity to get together as tourism and sports bodies to collaborate towards maximising the potential of hosting sports and mega events. The FIFA World Cup was a major boost for South Africa's international reputation, but it is important to note that hosting ongoing sustainable events across all sporting codes in South Africa are equally important for us to drive future tourism and economic growth," said Singh, SA Tourism's Chief Marketing Officer.
Alongside the strategic discussions at SETE there will be a trade show platform, where international buyers from various global sporting and events corporations will have the opportunity to interact with local sports bodies and agents, destination marketing agencies as well as stadia and other venue stakeholders.
Confirmed speakers at the SETE event include Mr Derek Casey, current Chairperson of the Board of the World Leisure Organisation and former Chief Executive of the UK Sports Council and Sports England, who served as a Bid Director in successfully bringing the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow, Scotland, Ms Nanita Ferrone, an international tourism and leisure consultant from Spain (who will present a paper on Barcelona and Spain's success strategy on hosting mega sporting events) and Holger Preuss, a professor of sport economics and sport sociology at the Institute of Sport Science at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany. Holger is also an international scholar at the State University of New York.
South African speakers include Dr Danny Jordaan, the Vice President of the South African Football Association and Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Mr Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, and Gillian Saunders, Principal and Director at Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions and Head of Grant Thornton Advisory Services.
Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group (TEPG) Managing Director, Carol Weaving, is confident the inaugural SETE event will expedite the urgency to formalise the sports tourism industry.
"South Africa should not be content to simply keep up with global trends. When it comes to hosting sports events, we are a proven global leader and we should start looking at ways to entrench this positioning. This is the ultimate goal of SETE, and we look forward to moderating constructive discussions in this regard," said Weaving.
Issued by South African Tourism, Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and SASCOC
About Sports & Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) The Sports & Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) is a first for the South African sports and tourism industry, and takes place from 27-29 July 2011 at the CTICC. The event is open to exhibitors and members of the public, who are encouraged to register on www.sportsandevents.co.za.
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