The second edition of African Sports Tourism Week, the sports-travel trade event that brings sports and tourism stakeholders together to exchange ideas, held in Ghana from September 19th, 2019, with warm reception by major players in sports and tourism spaces. Here are the highlights:
African Sports Tourism Summit & Olympic Roundtable
The summit, which held on 19th of September, 2019, provided an opportunity for a robust exchange of ideas through meaningful discussion. Strategies and ideas on how Africa can boost tourists’ arrivals and earn local/foreign investments using sports as the fulcrum dominated the content of the concept papers delivered by keynote speakers.
Abi Ijasanmi, Director of African Operations at DiamondAir, a former deal broker for basketball players in Europe/America and one of those consulted on London Olympics 2012, brought her wealth of experience to bear as she opened up on 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, called in through Skype and took the audience through Northern Ireland’s strategy for driving arrivals using sports and how interagency relationship is boosting the country’s reputation as a preferred destination to both continental/global sporting bodies and individuals looking for sports-tourism experience, and suggested how the strategy can be applied in Ghana and other African nations.
On the other hand, speakers at the Olympic Roundtable including Ben Nunno Mensah, the President of Ghana Olympic Committee, Akwasi Agyeman – CEO of Ghana Tourism Authority and Kwadwo Antwi – CEO of Ghana Tourism Development Company discussed the existing collaborative efforts between the LOC and tourism players and how to enhance the collaborations.
Other panel sections at the event discussed topics such as the economy of sporting events. Some of the panellists are Juliet Bawuah, Abi Ijasanmi and Olufemi Abegunde. Kwesi Hayford, President of Ghana eSports Association, delivered a concept paper on the opportunities in eSports. The paper brought fresh perspectives to the subject of sports tourism.
Perhaps the most important 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 need to commercialize sports and make it a marketable 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 the 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 Sports Estate – Lakowe Lakes Golf & Country Estate
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 for sporting purposes. Inductees include Nilayo Sports Management, Kinetic Sports, SA Sports Tours, Kenya, Tanzania, 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 the star prize – a 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 parameters a step higher than its 2018 debut edition. The host destination for the 2020 edition and dates will be announced by 31st of October, 2019.