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The SETE 2012 Conference concludes on a high note

The concluding morning of the SETE 2012 Conference began with four workshops facilitated by a variety of prominent international and local experts in the sports events and tourism sectors. These workshops were highly interactive between delegates and presenters and acted as think tank for sports tourism in South Africa. The conference then culminated in the highly anticipated National Sports Tourism Bidding and Hosting Strategy before being formally closed and praised by Chairperson of Trade and Investment KZN, Obed Mlaba.
Chris Foy, Head of the 2012 Games unit for Visit Britain Tourism, facilitated the workshop which explored the marketing and strategy plan of London 2012. Through this discussion, it was clear that Visit Britain Tourism "Levered the Olympic brand to benefit Brand Britain" and intends to utilise this strategy long after the conclusion of the games. Another two outputs in hosting an event of this magnitude were unpacked during this workshop, namely Brand Protection and Restrictions as well as the vital importance Partnerships. Both outputs were tackled in a very practical manner: concrete Brand Restriction guidelines were drawn up and distributed, and strong and valuable partnerships were formed to create tactical relationships between organising committees as well as entities such as global broadcasters which would help to tell the London 2012 story to the world.

Another workshop was headed by Norman Mphake who is the Sport Recreation and Fitness Chamber Coordinator for SETE 2012 partner, CATHSSETA. This workshop explored the projection of CATHSETTA's values and objections, based on the National Framework for National Skills and Development Strategy, on the sporting sector. The workshop acknowledged that this sector has great potential for skills development and training to lend itself to the development of sustainable employment. Linked to this, the workshop explored the relationship between employers, learners and sectors in creating a contractual obligation in which employees need to develop working skills amongst their employees, plan and create comprehensive reports to monitor the success of projects.

Kamilla Swart, Head of Centre for Tourism Research in Africa, hosted the Major Events and The Environment workshop which emphasised the need to consider the environmental implications of hosting a mega event. This workshop explored how events can have a direct impact on the environment and how they can also be used as an awareness building platform for the conception and implementation of greening initiatives. The outcomes of this workshop suggested that future event planning should emulate success stories such as initiatives that The City of Cape Town has already adopted. The workshop also advocated the notion that greening criteria, which must be an integral part of the event hosting process, ought to become a contractual function of event hosting and funding applications. It was also acknowledged that resources need to be allocated to the greening initiatives and that they need to be brought down to a local level.

The Online Media Marketing and Communications Strategies for Sports Events workshop was facilitated by Thomas Abraham who is the Editorial Director of Sportz Power India. The core discussion in the workshop explored the relationship between sports owners trying to develop their sport and the media. This workshop looked at mainstream sports which are already in the public mind-space. Thus, the role of media in this sector is to constantly engage the fan base and stay ahead of the curve in upgrading the fans' experience. The notion that new technology is more important when looking at sports that are aiming to expand was also raised. It was concluded that there are currently tools on hand to gain recognition with technology which has never been accessible before. The workshop identified two major tactics in harnessing this technology to grow out of a purely grant based existence to an economically sustainable sport. These are social networks as well as the use of community outlets where there are few financial restrictions and a huge base.

The pinnacle of the SETE conference was the construction and presentation of the National Sports Tourism Bidding and Hosting Strategy. This document, presented by the SETE Conference Director and Director for Business Development at TEPG, Sugen Pillay, was adopted by the Conference and is a part of a 17 year strategy to be implemented from next year. The objectives of this Strategy, are to prioritise key mega international events that South Africa should bid and host as well as key domestic events that government should support, define the type of support government will offer and lastly, to define the institutional arrangements necessary to implement this Strategy.

The Strategy consists of two phases: Phase one deals with the research and analysis of global trends and best international practices as well as a review on the current strategies and legislation that is in place. During this phase, a number of case studies, legislation, policies and strategies were researched to create a better understanding of what works and what does not. Phase two deals with using this research to analyse stakeholders and apply these strategies and practises to best suit South Africa's specific context and develop this into a comprehensive 17 year plan which direction on how to choose feasible future events to consider.

The conclusions drawn from of these phases and a notion that has been discussed throughout the conference is that a collaboration of existing stakeholders in sports and tourism needs to be created to co-ordinate, drive and manage sport tourism development in South Africa. From this, the conception of Steerco arose. SASCOC, through legislated mandate, has the responsibility to manage the bidding process of hosting events and was therefore chosen to chair this collaboration. Other proposed members of Steerco include SRSA (Sports and Recreation South Africa) who will provide legislative and policy direction for the bidding and hosting of events, SAT (South African Tourism) who will provide the marketing support to bid for events, promote domestic events and utilise brand leverage of sporting events towards the national brand image, and lastly, the NDT (National Department of Tourism) who will provide legislative policy support to events that promote tourism in South Africa. Although these are to be the only formal members of Steerco, it is important to note that Sports Federations, the Tourism sector and cities and provinces are also vital to the entire process and should also be on board in the implementation and development of Steerco.

The next step after the Strategy has been approved is for SRSA to incorporate it into its own National Sports Tourism Strategy. Thereafter SASCOC and SRSA are to submit The Strategy for Cabinet approval after which SASCOC is to compile a comprehensive business plan to get the process started.

This paper and the implementation thereof can be seen as a monumental step forward for the development of South African Sports Tourism and can be viewed as a testimony of the success of the SETE 2012 Conference.

Please direct all media queries on the Strategy document to Tubby Reddy, CEO of SASCOC, Cell: 082 990 4149. A copy of the presentation of the National Sports Tourism Bidding and Hosting Strategy can be found on www.sportsandevents.co.za.

18 Sep 2012 12:00

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