Breaking Travel News Interview: South Africa looks to sustain FIFA success

In recent years South Africa has considerably raised its profile as a world-class host of international sports events, from the 2003 Cricket World Cup to the 2010 Confederations Cup and, of course, the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Still riding the crest of the 2010 wave, South Africa now hopes to become a first-choice destination for sports events - hosting Sports & Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) lawst month was an important first step to ensure it continues hosting successes.

Breaking Travel News (BTN) caught up with Carol Weaving, Managing Director, Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group, the organisers of SETE, to find out how this important exhibition was received and what themes emerged that the destination can take forward to benefit their tourism strategy.

BTN: How was the inaugural Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) received?
CW: It exceeded our expectations for a first time show and was well received by both the public and private sectors.

BTN: What were the key themes to emerge from the conference?
CW: Three main themes emerged:
1. The need to agree on bidding criteria and national funding to support the bidding process.
2. The impact of the FIFA World Cup on SA – 310,000 foreign visitors to SA to attend the World Cup with a total spend of R3,6 billion
3. The development of a national sports tourism strategy for SA – through the establishment of a steering committee. Co-ordinated strategic framework required focusing on an event portfolio, institutional arrangements and processes, clear roles and responsibilities, M&E, long-term sustainability imperatives etc.


BTN: Why was there a need to launch the SETE at this time?
CW: It coincided with “one year since the FIFA World Cup” and the need was apparent to find a solution to maintain and sustain the infrastructure that was built for this and ensure we attract more international events in the future which in turn boosts tourism to SA.

Also with “One year until the London Olympics”, we had a live crossing to London for the one year countdown celebrations in London itself.

How does SETE compare to other events in your portfolio?
CW: As a trade show that serves both the public and private sector it affords and facilitates a platform for buyer/seller meetings as per other exhibitions in our stable.

BTN: To what extent does sports tourism contribute to tourism in South Africa?
Sports tourism and Mega events contribute more than R6billion to SA’s tourism industry. More than 10%of foreign tourists come to SA to watch or participate in sport events, with spectators accounting for 60% to 80% of these arrivals

BTN:  How do you expect this to evolve?
It will grow both in visitor numbers, internationally and domestically and we expect more companies to participate.

BTN: How might this be reflected by SETE?
CW: More events and sports disciplines coming to our shores, for example teams using our venues and training facilities. Greater interest in South Africa’s tourism industry from international sports federations and associations.

BTN:  What kind of response have you received following the announcement that SETE will return in September 2012?
CW: We’ve had a wonderful response – 99% of our exhibitors this year have indicated that they will participate in SETE 2012.

World Tourism Sport Congress

For the first time this year, alongside the climax of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the World Sport Tourism Congress will take place on the luxury cruise ship – the P&O Pacific Dawn – and will comprise of four days of inspirational panel debates, leading-edge presentations and priceless networking opportunities, all conducted whilst cruising in style around New Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Islands.

The fully-inclusive cruise package departs from Queen’s Wharf, Auckland on October 10th, returning on October 14th in time for the Rugby World Cup Semi Finals.
Themed “Sharing the Sport and Tourism Boom”, WSTC presents an opportunity for network and engage with industry’s elite, gain invaluable insights from the world’s leading experts and meet face-to-face with the key Sport Tourism buyers as deals are brokered for future sporting events.

Confirmed speakers include: Jeanine Pires (Minster Special Advisor, Rio 2016 Olympics & former President, Embratur), Geoffrey Lipman (Advisor to Secretary General UNWTO), Campbell Jamieson (Commercial Director, International Cricket Council) and Darren Mee (COO, TUI Travel PLC, Specialist & Activity Sector).

The delegate rate of £950 will include access to all sessions on the WSTC programme, four nights accommodation on board the P&O Pacific Dawn, as well as exclusive VIP receptions and gala dinners, as the ship cruises around New Zealand’s North Island.