The INDABA exhibition, hosted annually in Durban, is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African continent, with the number of exhibitors and media attendants increasing year on year. This year, the exhibition runs from May 8-11 and with just a month to go until kick-off, the expected turnout of media is likely to be high as international journalists reporting on the FIFA World Cup™ slowly start entering the country, setting up shop, and attending local events to get a feel for South Africa.
INDABA 2010 will see the relocation of the Western Cape pavilion from the temporary tented structure that has housed it in previous years, to a prime position in Hall One of the DEC. Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited will partner on two stands: a combined destination stand, where the focus will be on Cape Town and the Western Cape’s readiness to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup; and a product pavilion showcasing the local distinctiveness of the region’s small- and medium-sized tourism enterprises, highlighting the important legacy benefits that can be derived for these emerging businesses as a result of the event.
Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold said that although there are few places that will need a bit of touching up in the weeks to come, essentially the Mother City is ready to welcome the world, “Our city is already beautiful, but it’s time to drape her in her party cloak in preparation for the biggest celebration in her history.” Du Toit-Helmbold believes that it is essential that ordinary Capetonians take part in the event in order for it to be a success and adds that residents should start gearing up now, as time is of the essence: “In order for a destination brand to work, it has to be lived by citizens. Our motto for 2010 is, ‘Cape Town. Live It! Love It! LOUDER!,’ and we believe that the enthusiasm of locals will rub off on visitors.”
She added that Cape Town is more than capable of hosting the expected large volume of visitors: “Already we host a million people, most of them domestic travelers, every peak season between November and January. So what we will really be having this year are two peak seasons – one during the World Cup, usually our low season, and the other towards the end of the year as usual.”
On the legacy of the FIFA World Cup™ she explained: “It’s more than just a temporary dressing up, or a temporary façade. What we really need to do is continue to use the opportunity of hosting the World Cup as a chance to fast-rack development for Cape Town. Things like public transport, safety, and general infrastructure have all been improved upon, and these will constitute the most tangible immediate benefits of all to the people of Cape Town, but we need to make sure that this continues in the years after the World Cup and will continue to be used to improve the ‘liveability’ of Cape Town.
“The fact that the world has taken notice of us on such a massive platform as this will definitely have long-term benefits for us, particularly in the tourism industry.”
She said that one of the greatest things about the city hosting the FIFA World Cup™ is that it will be attracting people from many countries who would otherwise not have visited South Africa: “Although the total number of expected visitors are lower than originally predicted, I believe Cape Town will attract a lot of visitors before and after the event, because our reputation as a leisure destination is very strong. And, of course, we have done a lot of work around marketing Cape Town as a not-to-be-missed pre- and post-tour location.”
However, she continued, the biggest benefit to hosting the FIFA World Cup™ is that it is a media event: “It’s about the stories and pictures the world will see while sitting in their lounges back at home. More than three billion people will have their eyes fixed on South Africa through the various media broadcasts of the event. So, although there will be short-term gains from hosting the World Cup, in terms of those people whose immediate spend will be extremely beneficial, the greatest benefit will be to ensure that the negative perceptions of the world about our country are changed to positive ones.”
She left us with one benefit Cape Town Tourism is very excited about – that in hosting the FIFA World Cup™, there will be a newfound sense of civic pride: “This is an incredible country, we have excellent skills, we are conscientious people, and I think pulling the World Cup off successfully will be a confidence booster for all South Africans. I really think it’s time for us to realize that we are capable of doing great things.”
Join Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited at INDABA 2010 for more information on the FIFA World Cup™ host city, Cape Town, and the Western Cape, and discover the region’s hidden gems, including the launch of an exciting new tourism offering, a joint venture between Cape Town Tourism, the City of Cape Town, and Metrorail Western Cape.