Another first for Johannesburg
FCI Agility World Championships destined for Joburg in 2013
Working closely with the local bid committee and KUSA (the Kennel Union of South Africa), Johannesburg Tourism Company is delighted to announce that Joburg has been selected as the host for the FCI Agility World Championships in 2013 – the first time that these world-renowned championships for canines and their handlers is being held outside Europe.
Required as part of the bid commitments, the Joburg Convention Bureau team is currently attending this year’s world championships in the Czech Republic on a delegate boosting exercise – and is thrilled with the news. Easy access from destinations around the world, world-class hotels for diverse budgets, and Johannesburg’s facilities and infrastructure ensured that it was the city of choice for the South African bid. “We’re delighted to have secured this event for Joburg and South Africa and thank the local bid team for promoting Joburg as the destination for next year’s event,” said Phelisa Mangcu, Acting CEO, Johannesburg Tourism.
To be held at the Coca Cola Dome in 2013, event sponsors include SAA Cargo - who have played an invaluable role, sponsoring the South African team for several years now - are making a noteworthy difference to the lives of the handlers and their charges.
“Agility is the most popular dog sport in South Africa. However, like so many other lesser-known sports, wider popularization is needed and with the FCI Agility World Championships.
“Taking place in South Africa, we hope to be able to bring this fantastic activity to a greater audience and ultimately acquire a greater number of participants,” said Mangcu.
This year, the South African team is represented by 8 dog handlers, 13 dogs, and 9 supporters. Please tweet using @FCIAgility2012 or #FCIAgility2012 to wish Team SA well (please note the Twitter feed is case sensitive).
FCI AGILITY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BACKGROUND
The FCI Agility World Championships is a rotating annual event hosted by the Federation of International Canines (FCI). It will be the first time that the World Championships are held outside European boundaries. South Africa participates enthusiastically in the World Championships and in the recent past has secured several top 10 finishes in both individual and team events; in fact, the South African team won gold medals in the Large Team event in both 2005 and 2006.
Agility is the fastest-growing dog sport in the world, with an average participation of 300 handlers. It is a fun activity for both humans and dogs of any size and breed and can be compared to equestrian show jumping. Unlike show jumping, however, where the rider is mounted on the horse, in agility competitions, dogs have to negotiate an obstacle course, guided only by the handler’s voice and body movements - no leash and no physical contact - thus testing not only the agility, suppleness, and physical ability of the dog, but also impeccable obedience to the slightest cues by their human handler.
The Kennel Union of SA (KUSA) is a longstanding member of the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) – initially as an associate member and more recently, as a full member. Similar to the Soccer World Cup, member countries of the FCI may tender to host the World Championships. After much discussion, KUSA decided in 2009 to tender for the event and won the bid for 2013. This was particularly noteworthy, as it was the first time that this event has been granted to a country outside of Europe.
JOBURG’S GDS 2040
In terms of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) – the Joburg 2040 ( www.joburg.org.za/gds2040 ) - tourism remains an economic growth imperative on the city’s agenda. It is an important catalyst to encourage the development of the SMME sector in order to stimulate the growth and development of a vibrant second economy. It is Johannesburg Tourism’s strategy mission to attract visitors to Joburg, encourage them to stay longer, spend more, improve seasonality patterns, and the spread of visitors across the city.
In line with these developments and as part of the institutional review process to effect closer alignment with city goals, this year Joburg Tourism Company is being incorporated into the City’s Communication & Tourism Group. The GDS is coupled to the city’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and both are aligned with the National Planning Commission’s New Growth Path.
“Our ongoing local and international promotional campaigns include exhibiting at business and leisure trade exhibitions where Joburg Tourism shares its plans to maintain, defend, and grow its market share,” said Mangcu, “As the city of Johannesburg’s destination marketing organization, Joburg Tourism remains focused on positioning the not only as the continent’s leading business hub, but also as an exciting, vibrant, year-round destination for signature events, lifestyle, the arts, culture, fashion, sports, and, of course, mega-events.”
Johannesburg, represented by the Johannesburg Tourism Company, is a founding member and academy member of the target="_blank">International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), a grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth.