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Sports and Events Tourism Exchange

SETE showcases South Africa’s sports tourism destinations

The Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) concluded their inaugural exhibition and conference on a high note at the end of July by hosting some of their international guests at a number of impressive tourist and sporting attractions around South Africa.

SETE, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from the 27th to the 29th of July, highlighted the world-class standard of facilities and services that South Africa has to offer as a host for large-scale sporting events. It also provided a high-profile platform for the marketing of many of the products and services related to the sports event tourism niche market.

“This inaugural SETE showcased South Africa as a capable and enthusiastic host of international sports events that will attract large numbers of tourists to the country over the long term,” says Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Thebe Exhibitions and Projects Group, the organisers of SETE. “International speakers from all corners of the globe attended the SETE conference to share their knowledge of the sports tourism industry and assist us in planning the way forward for sustaining South Africa’s legacy as a world-class sports event host”.

Sugen Pillay, Global Manager: Events at South African Tourism is equally enthusiastic about the success of the inaugural SETE, “The Sports and Events Tourism Exchange exceeded expectations and will return in September 2012, where all nine provinces will be given the opportunity to pitch for hosting it”.

The SETE confex also boasted a comprehensive International Hosted Buyer Programme, funded by the Department of Trade & Industry and South African Tourism. This programme provided international buyers with the opportunity to interact with SETE exhibitors through pre-scheduled meetings, conference sessions and networking events, thus connecting international buyers with local service providers and product owners. “The international buyers were pleased with the products and services we showcased at the event and it is now up to us as a country to build on the success of the event  and capitalise on South Africa’s position as a mega sports and event destination” says Pillay.

Once the official SETE proceedings had ended, overseas attendees were hosted at a number of key sites in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The 2010 World Cup stadia were the star attractions and guests were taken to the newly built Cape Town Stadium and Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal , as well as the upgraded Soccer City Stadium, also known as the FNB Stadium, in Gauteng, which at 94 700 seats is the largest stadium in Africa.

In Cape Town, the visits included lesser known stadia such as the Hartleyvale Stadium and the Newlands Stadium and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. To showcase just one of South Africa’s many impressive golf courses, international attendees were also treated to a tour of Pearl Valley Golf Estate.

In Gauteng, guests experienced a ride on the Gautrain to highlight our improved transportation system for overseas visitors. SETE delegates also paid a visit to the Nike Football Training Centre in Soweto, which offers community-based football programmes and were given a tour of the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria. This university centre offers sports training facilities and related medical services and manages the intellectual development of sport science-based practices, sporting facilities, sports events and sport–inspired hospitality services.

The tour wasn’t all work and no play, however, as visitors were also treated to the magic of Table Mountain, the Cape Winelands, Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto, the Union Buildings in Pretoria and uShaka Marine World in KZN. “We also wanted to show what our country has to offer international guests beyond the sporting stadia, for days when there are no matches, or in-between games,” explains Weaving.

One of the international buyers from London, Robert Wicks, Chief Operating Officer of Powerboat P1 Management, says that SETE was an ideal opportunity to make contact with multiple stakeholders and make real inroads towards his company’s goal of launching a national powerboat race series in South Africa, “Over a concentrated period of time – and in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – I visited potential host venues and met numerous sports marketing agencies, senior sports and tourism representatives from the government, potential sponsors, the national powerboat federation as well as the boat building export council to share our company’s vision. It’s not every day that one can achieve this and I was delighted with both the welcome and the response.”

SETE, which was aimed at facilitating and promoting SA as a sports tourism and events destination, was co-hosted by the Department of Sport & Recreation and supported by South African Tourism and the Department of Trade & Industry. Key speakers at the event included Danny Jordaan, CEO of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Deputy Minister Tokozile Xasa from the National Department of Tourism and Professor Paul Singh, Chief Director of Client Support, Liaison, Events & Facilities for Sport & Recreation South Africa.

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