Limpopo looks to sports Tourism to consolidate tourism growth

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The Northernmost Province of South Africa, Limpopo is preparing feverishly to host the second edition of the International golf championship from 30 January to 2nd February 2019.

Organisers of the event are determined to use the event to shore up tourism in the province.

The Limpopo Championship is a premium golfing event identified as a strategic platform to position Limpopo’s tourism brand nationally and internationally. It is sanctioned by both the Sunshine Tour and the European Challenge Tour, and will involve 204 professional golfers from around the world. It is a holistic lifestyle golfing spectacle that appeals to a broad audience beyond traditional golf fans.

The Limpopo Tourism Agency which is the destination partner for the Championship is keen to take advantage of the august event to promote the region as ‘’ A must visit’’ destination in South Africa.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Limpopo Tourism Agency Nomasonto Ndlovu says the upcoming tourney will help market the wonders of Limpopo.

File: Golfers pose for a photo after a tourney. PC: Limpopo Championship

“ It positions Limpopo as an African entertainment venue, showcasing the wonders of Limpopo Province through sport, live entertainment, excursions, leisure activities and vibrant hospitality. It positions the Waterberg District as a good tourist destination capable of hosting major sporting events. It is the perfect combination of sport and safari showcasing some of the top Golf resorts in the region’’

She added that the event would bring positive economic benefits to Limpopo and South Africa in terms of job creation and GDP contribution.

In terms of sports tourism development Ms Ndlovu said, “ Sports Tourism is right at the centre of our tourism marketing strategy for Limpopo. This is because Limpopo is an outdoor and eco-tourism destination, it is very popular for many sports fanatics’’.

‘’The plan is to create a sustainable sport tourism culture through a successful hosting of this tournament, as well as attracting other major sporting events to the province. Hosting the Limpopo Championship adds onto the basket of international sporting events we already have, including the UCI cycling race and the Tour de Limpopo. We see a greater value as such events contributed to increasing tourism spend and the number of bed nights in the province.

On the benefits of the event the CEO said, the tournament gives opportunity for increased tourism numbers and economic impact including the much needed job creation. We also expect the tournament to promote social cohesion and stimulate partnerships among key stakeholders. Through the hosting of this tournament we are able to profile tourism experiences within the Waterberg region and surrounding areas bringing more awareness about the diversity of the province.

screenshot of the interview with in the January/FITUR Issue of Voyagesafriq Travel Magazine

On the prospects for tourism in the province the Chief Executive said ‘‘our aim is to continue on the momentum we have built about destination Limpopo in the past couple of years. We want to further grow the number of tourists visiting the province, provide more experiences that encourage them to spend more as well achieve longer stays. Limpopo has been at the top of domestic tourism in South Africa, and second in international visits and this position we are determined to maintain’’ she observed.

‘’Through this tournament and other events like Marula Festival, Mapungubwe Festival, Royal Heritage Festival and many others, we aim to cement our position and offer greater alternatives for domestic tourism. However there will also be greater focus on bidding for and hosting of international association meetings for the province. We are excited that there is an increased awareness about Limpopo as viable Business Events destination. More business events have chosen Limpopo as their host destination, including IFES World Assembly 2019, IASIA 2020, GFS 2020 and many more’’ Ms. Ndlovu concluded.

This interview was first published in the January/FITUR Issue of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine Click to read the full digital copy

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