Being host nation of a major international event is a massive investment. The 2010 FIFA World Cup staged in South Africa is no exception. The world’s largest sporting event in terms of global fan following and media coverage required unprecedented levels of capital be committed. An estimated US$4 billion is estimated to have been channelled over six years towards (re)building, stadia, airports, transport and road systems, telecommunications, accommodation, broadcasting, safety and security, and other essential infrastructure. Massive projects and massive aspirations demanding massive investment.
For Destination South Africa, hosting of the Games had a very clear set of performance metrics when it came to establishing South Africa as a leading tourism destination in the world.
With the Games now past, the leadership of South Africa’s tourism industry knows very well that memories of the 2010 FIFA World Cup are not enough to sell the destination. The destination must actively, assertively, and engagingly work with the global travel trade to sustain momentum of interest and travel intent. And it must happen now.
As expressed by Thandiwe January-McLean, CEO of South African Tourism:
“The success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup has clearly, confidently, and convincingly shown the world just how remarkable our nation truly is. There is no question that global perceptions were shifted for the better. Those who had thought of coming for the Games but decided not to in the end are, I am sure, feeling that they missed out. The goodwill created around South Africa is invaluable. But the applause of our success in hosting the Games cannot be expected to transform our economy. Especially our tourism industry. Yes, our tourism offering – our people, our products, our experiences – were all on show for the world to see. But now we need to ensure that we, as Destination South Africa, maximize that exposure and continue to offer the world experiences of a lifetime. This must be done through direct, proactive efforts, which target our key source markets effectively, engaging both travelers and the travel trade.”
For this reason, this upcoming mega-FAM trip being organized by The Travel Corporation (TTC), which will bring over 350 of the world’s A-List travel trade decision makers to Cape Town for just under one week, is viewed by South African Tourism as one of the most important events for destination South Africa in 2010.
As stated by Gavin Tollman, chairman of Travcorp SA:
“We are going out of our way to support South Africa – an important destination for global tourism and TTC and also our home nation. We want to ensure that leaders of the travel trade who significantly influence traveler movements are able to experience South Africa for themselves. A number of our global companies, including Lion World Travel www.lionworldtravel.com serving the Canadian market, African Travel Inc. based in the USA, and New Horizons in Australia, already operate as African specialists, actively selling South Africa in priority global markets. And there are those which will be adding South Africa to their itineraries from 2011 including US-based Brendan Vacations www.brendanvacations.com , Australia’s Creative Holidays http://www.creativeholidays.com.au , and notably Trafalgar http://www.trafalgar.com , the world’s largest escorted touring company, which will be extending its successful family holiday packages into South Africa. This conference will fuel no doubt post-Games growth and development of the South African tourism industry and economy for the enjoyment of all travelers and the benefit of all South Africans.”
The importance of the moment is not lost on the industry in South Africa. Ms. January-McLean continues:
“The Travel Corporation’s investment into the hosting of their international sales conference in Cape Town in October is a clear statement of their belief that South Africa has a key role to play in the future growth of global tourism. And we have every intention of supporting this belief. South African Tourism is committed to leveraging this rare, exceptional opportunity to directly and comprehensively engage with over 350 leading tourism decision makers representing the front line of the travel trade in our priority markets for destination growth. Together, as partners in tourism, South African Tourism and The Travel Corporation will ensure that the travel trade is informed and inspired into action.”