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South Africa’s sports tourism sector is expected to be boosted this year with a busy international line-up of events being held throughout the country.
This was kicked off by the start of the England-South Africa cricket test series currently taking place in the country.
“It’s been a great start to the first quarter of the year,” said Jeff Rosenburg, Cape Chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa).
While official statistics will only be available later in the year, Rosenburg said hotels and tour operators in Cape Town had benefited from the cricket series, with the English fans staying in about nine different hotel properties around the city, and taking tours around the peninsula in the days leading up to the match.
GM of PR and Communications at SA Tourism, Altaaf Kazi, told Tourism Update that close collaboration between SA Tourism and the Barmy Army – England’s official cricket supporters club – to market the matches had also led to an increase in numbers to South Africa.
He explained that SA Tourism had made use of the Barmy Army’s digital marketing platforms to promote South Africa as a destination, and ran competitions in which fans could win a trip to the test series in South Africa.
CEO of SA Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini, described South Africa’s upcoming sporting calendar as busy, with highlights including the tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal taking place in Cape Town in February and the British and Irish Lions rugby tour to South Africa in 2021.
“We will host the Rugby Sevens and Netball World Cups in 2022 and 2023 and we also have fantastic annual iconic events like the Comrades Marathon, the Soweto Marathon, the Two Oceans and Cape Town Marathons, not to mention the Cape Town Cycle Tour,” added Dlamini.
The test series still has two matches to be played, in Port Elizabeth at St George’s Park on January 16 and in Johannesburg at The Wanderers on January 24.