African Sports Tourism Week 2019; which is the second edition of the sports travel trade event that brings sports and tourism stakeholders together, as they cross-breed ideas and exchange a hand of fellowship towards an Africa where sport is seen and approached as tourism – been like a cup of nations, made its stopover in the West African country of Ghana and it was enthusiastically received as major players in sports and tourism spaces showed up to discuss and learn how sport can court tourism unto marriage that produces offspring of socioeconomic boons.
African Sports Tourism Summit & Olympic Roundtable
The summit, which held on the 19th of September, 2019, experienced a robust exchange of ideas and engaging discussion. Strategies and ideas on how best Africa can improve her chances at increased arrivals and local/foreign investments, using sports as fulcrum, dominated the content of the concept papers delivered by keynote speakers.
Abi Ijasanmi, Director for African Operations at DiamondAir who once negotiated for basketball players in Europe/America and was consulted on London Olympics 2012, brought to bear her rich insights of both worlds, as she opened eyes to the huge socioeconomic impact sports tourism can have on economies of African nations and how to map the journey to it.
Geoff Wilson – a Board Member of Tourism Northern Ireland and consultant to FIFA, FIBA and UEFA – through Skype call, took the audience through Northern Ireland’s strategy for driving arrivals using sports and how interagency relationship copulated with other factors to make the country a preferred destination to both continental/global sporting bodies considering a worthy host and the sports tourist looking for experience to buy with his money. He didn’t fail to paint pictures of the applicability of the strategies to Ghana and other African nations.
Ben Nunoo Mensah – President of Ghana Olympic Committee, Akwasi Agyeman – CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Kwadwo Antwi – CEO of Ghana Tourism Development Company were on seat at the Olympic Roundtable, where they discussed the existing collaborative efforts between the LOC and tourism players, the take-home from the concept papers delivered and enhancement of collaborations, going forward.
Juliet Bawuah who was to sit on the panel session discussing the economy of sporting events – alongside Abi Ijasanmi and Olufemi Abegunde, Sponsorship & Marketing Manager of Nilayo Sports Management – shared deep insights on the subject matter.
Kwesi Hayford, President of Ghana eSports Association, brought a whole fresh perspective to the subject of sports tourism, as he delivered a concept paper on the opportunities in eSports.
Perhaps the biggest question posed at the summit was ‘what happens in the non-seasons for FIFA World Cup, Olympics, CAF Cup of Nations or CAF Champions League, Kenya Open, Nedbank Challenge, South Africa Open et al – how can Africa keep the revenue coming in, through sports tourism? Didier Bayeye – Market Manager for Africa & Indian Ocean at Sun International, Odelia Ntiamoah – CEO of Ghana Chambers for Tourism Industry, Ronald Stilting – General Manager of Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort were present to talk about the needful required to commodify sports into sellable holiday experience.
African Sports Destination Awards
The awards categories which were largely opened to votes were won and declared at the awards ceremony which held on the second day of African Sports Tourism Week.
The winners and categories are highlighted below:
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in Central Africa – Grand Hotel Djibloho, Equatorial Guinea
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in Southern Africa – Sun City Resort, South Africa
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in West Africa – Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort, Nigeria
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in North Africa – Mazagan Beach Resort, Morocco
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in Indian Ocean – Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Spa, Mauritius
Best Sports Resort/Hotel in East Africa – Sea Cliff Resort & Spa, Tanzania
Best Golf Destination – South Africa
Best Synergy Between Sports & Tourism – Kenya
Best Adventure Sports Destination – Tanzania
Sports Hive of The Decade – South Africa
Emerging Sports Destination – Malabo
Best Nostalgic Sports Destination – Calabar
Leading Waterways Sports Destination – Mombasa
The award ceremony also featured induction into ‘Friends of Sports Tourism’ Hall of Fame. Friends of Sports Tourism hall of fame is an elite class of destinations, brands and individuals, who through innovation, creativity and global best practices, encourage humans to leave home as often as possible, and travel to other places on our planet (especially destinations) for sporting purposes.
Inductees include Nilayo Sports Management, Kinetic Sports, SA Sports Tours, Kenya, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, The City of Uyo, Cabo Verde, Southern Sun Ikoyi, Lansdown Resort, Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Legend Lagos Airport, Golfview Hotel & Suites, Integral Sande and African Origin Travels & Sports Tourism.
Gamers from Ghana eSports Association keenly contested for a prize of trophy and weekend stay in a resort at the FIFA 19 Tourism eCup, which featured 16 players in knock-out matches. The contest produced Osman Abdul Ganiyu as the winner.
The event also featured sports holiday exhibition.
According to the President of African Sports Tourism Week – Deji Ajomale-McWord – the 2019 edition is by all means a step higher than its 2018 debut. The destination host for 2020 and dates will be declared by 31st of October, 2019.