Sport is big business and beloved fans are willing to invest to get the opportunity to sit close to the action.
The World Travel Market estimates more than USD$600 billion is spent on sports tourism globally. Big name tournaments like the recent Rugby World Cup and the Davis Cup attract international fans to stay and spend while visiting the host destination. This particular tournament drew nearly 2 billion digital views, among other record breaking stats like:
- Record 99.3 per cent attendance with 1.84 million tickets sold
- Record 1.13 million people in fanzones
- Record more than 1.7 billion digital video views
- Record attendance of 70,103 spectators at Yokohama International Stadium for the final
- South Africa’s third RWC victory (the first African country and second country to achieve this – after New Zealand).
With so many rugby fans celebrating South Africa’s victory over England, it begs to wonder how the increase in internet searches for “South Africa” and “Siya Kolisi” will inspire international travellers to visit the country.
Benefits of RWC Victory to South Africa’s Tourism Industry
- Heritage – Watching Siya Kolisi recount his childhood of struggle to becoming a successful athlete is nothing to shy at. Many young people, regardless of background can find their own story by visiting locations that inspired their favourite rugby athlete.
- Culture – South Africa is a melting pot of diversity and culture. This is reflected in the rugby team players. Each destination shares a wonderful culture unique to its location. Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal is beautifully different from Johannesburg, Gauteng. The victory will begin to shed light on the different destinations in South Africa and the appealing culture it holds.
- Destination Marketing – From an international perspective, five destinations are popular. Johannesburg (the City of Gold), Cape Town (Table Mountain, Robben Island), Kruger National Park (Big Five Wildlife), Pretoria (the Capital City, Union Buildings) and maybe Durban (ocean views and beach holidays). The RWC victory has put a microscope over the entire country. With out of the box tours to uncommon destinations coming to light. In some way, and if done correctly, could lessen the potential for overtourism and open doors to less popular destinations.
- Collaboration – Presenting South Africa as a destination worth visiting also means getting our house in order. This means dealing with the element of easier entry (resolution of the unabridged birth certificate by Home Affairs) and working with the police department to promote safety for travellers from the time they arrive to the moment they leave. With all the cogs working together, tourism industry will grow much faster.