Commonwealth Games and us

2015-09-10 06:00

WITH Durban jumping with glee in securing the Commonwealth Games for 2022, the question arises - What is in it for tourism our district?

I am led to believe that for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, many local hospitality providers committed their bed nights to the official accommodation agents and at the last minute due to less demand than expected, the agents released bed stocks back to the registered providers which effectively left many in the lurch.

I suppose this experience could cause our hospitality sector to becoming cautious and once again allocate bed nights to the official agents for 2022. This is understandable unless the games have a different approach in securing local service providers.

I am certain that there is scope for us to benefit from the games and I would advise that the tourism fraternity take early strides towards the packaging of group experiences over and above simple shuttle, accommodation and event ticket options. There will be many visitors who would also like to take in our diving, golfing, adventure, eco and cultural experiences while here.

Many South Coast residents have hundreds of family members and friends who now live and work in commonwealth and other countries, who would like to spectate at the games and visit loved ones at the same time. This could be an excellent opportunity to have more feet down here at the time the event kicks off.

Finally and from our side, we will try and secure use of our local sports and outdoor venues as training sites for the incoming teams. With teams come the media and supporters and as such, our hosting volumes could increase at that time.

One has to note however, that the games commence in July 2022 (our mid-year season) and I would suggest that we should market (at sensible rates) to our traditional South African markets in Gauteng and KZN - with the games-sell as a tag-on element.

The combination of normal mid-year family holiday with the bonus of seeing some exciting world-class sports competition is a more prudent way to go. In having this approach, we will reduce the risks mentioned at the outset of this article and accommodate our bread-and-butter markets who are usually loyal to our destination.

At that time of year, there is ample accommodation stock to host both our loyal clients and those who come here from abroad to witness this sports spectacle.

Some may say the event is seven years away. Our position is that the deals and opportunities will be presenting shortly so we will be keeping our eye open for them and convey them to the practitioners in our tourism sector (i.e. Ugu South Coast Tourism members). Let the fun and games begin

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