A high-powered international conference on sports tourism is to be held at the Durban International Convention Centre in September 2013, alongside the annual Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE).
Conference speakers and delegates will thrash out how to bid and attract mega and medium-sized sports events to South Africa and the continent.
The conference, set to take place from September 10-11, will throw the spotlight on the trends, opportunities and challenges involved in luring events, as well promoting Africa as a training destination for northern hemisphere athletes in their winter months.
Organised by Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group, SETE is backed by the influential South African Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) with more than 60 national sporting federations affiliated to it, as well as Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality, Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA). The provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the region’s marketing body, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, are also giving the event their full support.
Sports tourism is now the fastest growing sector in the global travel industry and South Africa, with its world-class facilities, is increasingly being seen as a major sports and events destination and is playing a part in the boom, with the economic spin-offs worth more than R6-billion a year to the economy.
SETE is now in its third year and the highlight of last year’s conference was the adoption of the National Sports Tourism Steering Committee’s 17-year strategy, which identified the key international events that South Africa should bid for, as well as the domestic events that need government support to grow the industry.
A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes and September’s conference will assess the progress that has been made.
The possibility of hosting the Olympics was on the cards several years ago, but the government decided that it had other priorities at the time.
Tubby Reddy, the chief executive of SASCOC, has said that he hopes the government will consider the 2024 games when bidding opens in 2016, but adds that a lot of homework will have to be done first.
But other events to consider could be the Commonwealth Games and the Commonwealth Youth Games, said Sugen Pillay, Thebe’s director for business development.
The programme includes such topics as positioning KZN as an events destination, South Africa’s bidding and hosting strategy, discussions on how local government can assist in supporting events, what influences the decisions of international sports federations to host events in Africa, as well as how to ensure that events are financially viable. The key principles to formulate a sports tourism strategy for the African continent are also up for debate.
The exhibition component will also enable the sporting and tourism fraternity to network with the international and local buyers and showcase what they have to offer.
Mike Mabuyakhulu, the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “SETE is the premier trade show for sports and other events in Africa and I am extremely proud that it is the second year in a row that Durban and KZN is hosting this event.
“What makes it particularly special is the fact that it is taking place at the same time as the International Coaching Congress at the Coastlands uMhlanga Hotel.
“There is a natural synergy between these two events and the delegates attending the International Coaching Congress will also be participating in SETE 2013, which will give South African exhibitors access to additional sports event decision makers.”
The Sports and Events Tourism Exchange is hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, partnered by CATHSSETA, SASCOC, Tourism KZN and Durban Tourism, and supported by Durban KZN Convention Bureau.