South Africa’s Minister of Tourism has announced the cessation of a proposed sponsorship agreement between South African Tourism (SAT) and English Premier League giants, Tottenham Hotspur FC.
In a statement issued on the Ministry’s official website on March 30, 2023, the Minister, Patricia de Lille said, “SA Tourism Board will no longer proceed with the transaction, nor will it seek the concomitant requisite approvals for the proposed transaction.”
She added that the current economic situation of the country necessitated a judicious use of public funds.
“As stated before, in the current economic climate, the use of public funds must be carefully considered and for any department to fulfil its mandate, it must be done in a cost-effective way, exploring multiple options and with due consideration for all priorities,” she emphasised.
Although unclear how much it was worth, the announcement of the deal earlier this year generated a lot of debates and conversations dividing opinions among industry stakeholders and the general public.
Following my update to the media on 24 March 2023 on the SA Tourism and FC sponsorship proposal, as requested, on Wednesday 29 March 2023, I received a response from the SA Tourism Board Chairperson regarding the proposed sponsorship deal.
In a letter from the SA Tourism Board Chairperson, based on the advice I have given to the board and which I had publicly stated, that the deal should not proceed, the SA Tourism Board has agreed not to proceed with the proposal.
The SA Tourism Board will no longer proceed with the transaction, nor will it seek the concomitant requisite approvals for the proposed transaction.
As stated before, in the current economic climate, the use of public funds must be carefully considered and for any department to fulfil its mandate, it must be done in a cost effective way, exploring multiple options and with due consideration for all priorities.
Our justification for any significant spending must still make sense in terms of the broader economic climate we find ourselves in as a country.
In this regard, I look forward to continuing to engage SA Tourism’s board and executive management, as I have done in my first two weeks in office, and working with them and the Department of Tourism on strategic actions we can take to enhance South Africa’s position globally as a top tourist destination.
I will also continue engaging SA Tourism and the department in more detail on the Department’s budget to ensure that we fulfil our mandate of growing visitor numbers to South Africa, providing the necessary support to enable growth, increase job creation and increase the sector’s contribution to the economy.
It is my hope that all proposals going forward will be discussed at the earliest time to ensure that myself and the department, together with our main entity SA Tourism, work together from the onset and seek advice and support from one another while following all due processes and legislative requirements.
This matter is now concluded and we will continue working together to explore all avenues, create an environment conducive for the private sector to invest and crowd in on government initiatives within the legislative framework to grow tourism, welcome more visitors to our beautiful country and create more jobs for people in this sector.