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Summit Will Be Held In Sandton, South Africa

South Africa to host UNWTO inaugural summit on tourism, sport, and mega-events in 2010

eTN Staff Writer  Oct 30, 2009

At a global level, the Travel & Tourism (T&T) sector has emerged as one of the 21st century’s critical drivers of economic growth, job creation, and development of communities, regions, and nations. The "Tourism Economy," a vital source of employment, revenue, investment, trade, and unity, has recently been recognized as a powerful stimulus for recovery from the global economic crisis.

As a reflection of the importance of the T&T sector to unlock the growth potential of nations and the role of major sporting, business, and cultural events to re-inspire tourists to travel to global destinations, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the South African Government announced on October 30, 2009 that the T&T world’s first international Tourism, Sport, and Mega-events Summit will be held in Sandton, South Africa from February 24–26, 2010.

The summit will provide a forum for active discussion, debate, and direction around the leverage of mega-events as a vital force for sector growth and advancement in national development strategies.

A number of major global events will be held in 2010, including the FIFA World Cup in South Africa; the Commonwealth Games in India; the World Exhibition in Shanghai, China; and the Winter Games in Canada. With this taken into consideration, the UNWTO seeks to align the global T&T sector’s leadership to create a framework for leveraging sport and other mega-events (including cultural and entertainment events, exhibitions, and business conventions) for economic growth. This process must take into account the economic, social, and environmental consequences for host nations and the massive multimedia opportunities for nation branding and export promotion.

South Africa’s Department of Tourism and Department of Sport, as well as CNN International as a global media partner, will be working in partnership with the UNWTO.

“South Africa is proud to be working with the UNWTO in the creation and hosting of the UNWTO’s inaugural Tourism, Sport, and Mega-events Summit in 2010,” said South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the announcement of the summit. “We know that we, as a developing country, cannot afford to have under-utilized infrastructure after the World Cup, and we understand that we must plan ahead to make sure our infrastructure and skills investments do not go to waste.”

As stated by Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO: “This important meeting reflects the increasing economic and social impacts of sport, mega-events, and tourism. It will establish new lines of thinking on operations, economics, and sustainability. We are delighted to be working with South Africa - particularly in 2010 which will see a great sporting mega-event in the FIFA World Cup, which promises so much for Africa.”

The summit will be held parallel to the annual Meetings Africa, Africa’s top business tourism exhibition hosted annually by South African Tourism.

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South Africa to host UNWTO inaugural summit on tourism, sport, and mega-events in 2010
Sandton, South Africa / Image via

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