Tourism news: South Africa tourism supports Olympic bid


The South Africa tourism industry is supporting a bid from Durban for the 2020 or 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

A travel website reports that leaders of four of South Africa’s most influential private sector tourism industry organizations expressed support for Durban to be South Africa’s candidate. They were attending the annual Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa) conference last weekend. Satsa represents about 1,000 South African tourism businesses.

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Attending the conference were Satsa CEO Michael Tatalias, Tourism Business Council of SA chief executive Matsatsi Morobe, Association of SA Travel Agents chief executive Robyn Christie, and Clifford Ross of the Federated Hospitality Association of SA.

Other supporters of a Durban bid include marketer Paul Bannister and Tourvest head Gary Elmes.

Referring to the comments of Morocco’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Nawal Moutawakel who said last month Africa was not ready to bid for the Olympics, Tatalias said, “this is a classic case of Afro-pessimism and it’s sad that it comes from our own continent. South Africa is the only country in the world to have now hosted the soccer, rugby and cricket world cups as well as the T20 Cricket World Championships, the IPL cricket tournament and the Confederations Cup within a period of 16 years”.

“Moutawakel’s view that Africa will only be able to host the Olympics in two to three decades is way off the mark, especially from a SA perspective. South Africa, with an already strong contender in Durban, can and must bid to host the Olympics”.

Bannister added the tourism industry was looking to capitalize on the World Cup success and looking to host more events, including the Olympics, to keep the momentum going and brand South Africa in the global limelight. He said, “it could be perfect timing with Durban strategically hosting the next IOC Congress in 2011. Both Fifa and the IOC have recognized that South Africa hosted a very successful World Cup.

“No one can now doubt our ability to host global mega events”, he said, “We need to ask are we in it to make money or are we looking at the infrastructure and post event legacy benefits from a tourism, business and exposure view”.