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Ground-breaking SETE 2012 exhibition and conference comes to an end

As the curtain closed on this year's second annual Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) exhibition and conference on Friday last week, there was no doubt that this ground-breaking event is a powerful catalyst for the promotion of South Africa as a worldwide leader in sports and events tourism. Whilst the exhibition featured an estimated 60 exhibitors as well as over 50 international hosted buyers (IHB's), the conference programme saw presentations and panel discussions anchored by high profile local and international speakers who are all specialists within their respective fields, as well as the National Sports Tourism Steering committee's presentation of its 17 year strategy.
The three day SETE 2012 exhibition showcased prominent stakeholders in the sports and tourism sectors. With more than 60 exhibitors ranging from sports organisations to travel associations and more, the exhibition created a platform on which International Hosted Buyers and stakeholders could network and create working partnerships amongst each other. Illana Myburgh from TourVest said that "the SETE exhibition was a great platform for exhibitors to network amongst each other and was a fantastic opportunity to generate interest in showcasing South Africa as a tourism and events destination". Carolyn Anderson, President of SECCES Productions & Beyond All Borders Inc, a global events and travel planning company, was extremely satisfied with the outcomes of this year's event. "SETE 2012 has allowed me to solidify relationships that were conceived through SETE 2011, and generate plans for the future with these partners". After this exchange, Anderson boasted numerous deals that have now been put in motion between her company and stakeholders such as South African Tourism, South African Airways and The Hilton Hotel. Through these deals, Anderson aims to bring media from the United States across to South Africa to capture footage and media content which can then be packaged and presented to her clients, proving South Africa to be a viable and attractive destination.

Another SETE 2012 participant, Jason Henzel (Chairman of the Treasure Sports Park and member of the newly created National Sport Tourism Committee in Jamaica), was also exceedingly satisfied with the exchange. Henzel was particularly interested in exchanging ideas and gaining insight on South Africa's strategies on sports tourism development, which he felt was done in an exemplary manner. "In Jamaica, we are currently working on strategies to uplift sporting events at a community level and this exchange has brought great insight and has allowed us to make connections to assist in doing this". Two partnerships with Treasure Sports Park that Henzel is especially excited about are between BRAZA and UNICEF, two organisations which share the same interests. Treasure Sports Park intends to work with these newly formed partners to build Junior Coaching Programmes in schools and to bring a junior team over to South Africa in 2013 to exchange ideas on a community level. These programmes will train scholars in coaching sport which will not only create employment opportunities but also help the teachers who are often expected to take up these roles.

The 2012 SETE conference also left an indelible imprint upon South Africa's sports and tourism industries, permanently altering the genesis of South Africa's growth as popular mega-events destination. Whilst a number of high profile international and local speakers took full advantage of the international spotlight, it was the National Sports Tourism Steering committee's presentation of its 17 year strategy that garnered the most interest at this influential event. Shaping and advancing South Africa's development as a sports tourism destination, this plan identified the key international events that South Africa should bid for, as well as the domestic events that need governmental support, in order to grow the country's sports tourism industry.

The SETE 2012 Gala Dinner was a glittering affair that got the event underway in fine style. Multiple-SAMA winner Lira entertained a star-studded crowd that included Olympic gold and silver medallist Chad le Clos, Olympic bronze medallist Bridgitte Hartley, SASCOC President Gideon Sam, Banyana Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini, Miss SA Melinda Bam, as well as a host of other sports celebrities. As well as kicking off the 2nd annual SETE event, the Gala Dinner was also chosen by SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) to celebrate the inspirational performances of the South African Olympic Team at London 2012. Billed as a night of glitz and glamour, the SETE Gala Dinner did not disappoint as it gave Durban and KwaZulu Natal sport fanatics a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate South Africa's most successful Olympic campaign since readmission. An evening dedicated to promoting South African culture, local, national and international businesses, sports fanatics, sponsors and supporters all had the chance to rub shoulders and share in the athletes' experiences in London. One component of the evening that generated much interest was the auction of sports memorabilia which included a signed Mike Tyson Glove, Chad le Clos swimming trunks, a Rene Kalmer bag, T-shirt and Olympic number, a signed Bridgette Hartley T-shirt and a Kate Roberts T-shirt. The proceeds of the auction went towards Lunga Ntuli's 'Talent Is Never Enough' (TINE) sport and life skills organisation.

James Seymour (CEO of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, which was responsible for bidding for SETE 2012 - 2014 and acting as the KZN DEDT implementing agency for this event) said that "we are very pleased with the outcomes of this year's SETE, which were in line with the objectives that were set prior to the hosting of this event, and particularly taking into account that this was the first time Durban and KwaZulu-Natal had hosted SETE. Furthermore, the chance to interact with some 50 important international buyers from a range of sporting codes and make them aware of our sporting facilities and services and how we can support the hosting of major events was invaluable, and can only lead to bigger and better things for South Africa's sports tourism industry".

Sugen Pillay, Director for Business Development at Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group and SETE Conference Director, said that "on behalf of TEPG, I would like to thank all our international buyers and conference speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit South Africa, we are most pleased that a number of concrete deals have been secured during their visit. We would also like to extend our appreciation to our key partners - KZN Economic Development & Tourism Department, KZN Convention Bureau, Ethekwini Municipality, SASCOC, Cathsetta and SABC for supporting us, and we are looking forward to strengthening this event together in the coming years".

For more information, visit www.sportsandevents.co.za, like 'SETE.ZA' on Facebook, and follow @SETE_ZA on Twitter. SETE supports the inaugural South African Travel and Tourism Industry Conference, a combined initiative of member associations of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).

The Sports and Events Tourism Exchange is hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, partnered by CATHSSETA, SASCOC and Tourism KZN, and supported by Springbok Atlas, SAA and SABC.

18 Sep 2012 11:15

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