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26 January 2012

South Africa is the world’s leading sports tourism destination

At the recent World Travel Awards in Dohar, South Africa was singled out as the world’s leading sports tourism destination.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

This accolade certainly gives impetus to our strategy of growing South Africa’s sports tourism offering for the global market. - Roshene Singh, chief marketing officer, South African Tourism

South Africa was named ‘The World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination’ at a glamorous ceremony in Dohar, Qatar, last week. The World Travel Awards are a highlight on the international tourism industry's calendar and this particular award pays tribute to all the hard work and commitment that has gone into making South Africa a world-class sports and events destination.

'Globally, sports tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry and with South Africa’s proven capability of hosting major events, as well as our significant infrastructure footprint, it makes sense that we start pursuing sports tourism as a viable route towards achieving our tourism goals,' says Roshene Singh, South African Tourism’s chief marketing officer.

'The FIFA World Cup was a major boost for South Africa’s international reputation, but it is important to note that hosting ongoing sustainable events across all sporting codes in South Africa is equally important for us to drive future tourism and economic growth,' she adds.

South Africa is certainly a nation of sports-lovers, and with our fantastic climate, top-class sports facilities and superb tourism infrastructure it only makes sense for the local industry to focus on the lucrative sports tourism market.

The 2011 Sports and Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) held in Cape Town provided a platform for all significant bodies in both sports and tourism to come together to discuss ideas and plans regarding the future of sports tourism in the country. No doubt the work done at this event has started to bear fruit and international recognition such as the recent World Travel Award is proof of this.

'This accolade certainly gives impetus to our strategy of growing South Africa's sports tourism offering for the global market,' says Singh.

The 2nd SETE will take place at the Moses Mabidha Stadium in Durban from 12 – 14 September 2012.

Numerous South African products received recognition at the World Travel Awards including: Thanda Luxury Safari Lodge (World’s Leading Luxury Lodge); Shamwari Private Game Reserve (World’s Leading Conservation Company); The Saxon Boutique Hotel (World’s Leading Boutique Hotel) and the Blue Train (World’s Leading Luxury Train).