Has tourism industry learnt anything from hosting a mega event?

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Before the World Cup began, South Africa spent years preparing the country to host the largest tournament on the planet. As it was the African continent’s first time hosting, they took an immense amount of pride, as well as caution in holding the competition in South Africa. The country was well aware of their situation as little known to the rest of the world when chosen to host the World Cup, and taking on the task of emerging as a successful tourist destination long after the World Cup final finishes has been their main goal.

After spending roughly $4.28 billion on improving transportation, stadiums, and telecommunications, South Africa is looking at good returns on their investment. While analysts have yet to conclude exactly how much of that money the country will recoup, they are confident the country will receive long-term benefits after the tournament ends.

This is in no small part due to the positive marketing campaign South African Tourism (SAT) set up and introduced years before the World Cup started. The campaign aimed to educate people about South Africa and accentuate the positive aspects of the country and its culture. This was absolutely necessary for a country still mired in poverty and associated closely with large amounts of crime.

The results of the marketing campaigns before and during the world cup have sparked massive new interest from countries outside of Africa. According to the Department of Tourism, an approximate 32 billion people have watched the World Cup, with a large portion from markets in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The positive feedback about the country has indeed surprised most and exceeded expectations of all those involved.

The country’s tourism sector is now preparing to capitalize on all the hard work put in during the World Cup. No one amongst the SAT believed the World Cup was an end in itself, but rather a jumping off point to grow and develop in the coming years. Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was quoted as saying, “Our tourism industry is geared to make the most of the opportunities created by the world cup. The championship will be recorded in the history books as one of the best showcases ever for South Africa and Africa and I am convinced it has opened up the door to our destination to scores of new visitors.” South Africa has provided an excellent example of utilizing a major world tournament to enhance their image and tourist industry, even after the tournament blows its final whistle.



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