Gauteng to Use 2010 FIFA World Cup to Promote Sports Tourism

Gauteng will use the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a platform to translate football into a successful business to boost sport tourism

"We want to ensure that sporting industries create an enabling environment that maximizes investment and economic growth for Gauteng," Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Barbara Creecy told the media on Wednesday.

Preparations for a successful World Cup, MEC Creecy said, were on track and would bring enormous benefits to the province.
The football spectacle was expected to inject about R21.3 billion into the South African economy - generating an estimated R12.7 billion in direct spending and creating an estimated 159 000 new jobs.

Ms Creecy allayed the fears of those who believed some stadia would not be ready by 2010 saying in fact all stadia would be completed and ready for the Confederations Cup in 2009.

"The Province has completed the first phase of the upgrading of HM Pitje, Sinaba and George Thabe Stadia - all of which have the potential to be used by countries participating in the 2010 competition as training venues and the projects are expected to create 1816 jobs," she added.

The second phase, she said, included the replacement of grassing on the pitch, the addition of ablution facilities, and the installation of high-mast lights, irrigation systems and sub-soil drainage systems.

The upgrading of the HM Pitje and Sinaba stadia will commence in July 2007.

Gauteng plans to become the "Preferred Home of Competitive Sport" by attracting and supporting major sporting events in the region.

In this regard, it had over the last few years, begun to develop the sports industry and sports tourism into one of the province's key economic drivers.

Last year, it hosted the Telkom Charity Cup, Jomo Cosmos Glasgow/Aberdeen match, Hyundai Five Aside Competition, South African Sport Association for Physically Disabled, National Winter Multi-code Games and the Confederation Schools Ball Games amongst others.

She added that the department's biggest achievement last year was the successful bid to host the world's largest soccer exhibition called Soccerex for the next three years leading up to the world cup.

This event, she said, was an important milestone in building the Gauteng City Region as a premier destination for competitive sport. Soccerex will bring soccer associations, football clubs, football legends, businesses and the media from all over the world to Gauteng from 2007 to 2009 and will be expected to boost the sports and tourism industries beyond 2010.

The event will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 26 to 28 November 2007.

"This event alone will attract approximately 4000 influential business and football individuals to the province, and is expected to inject more than R700 million into the Gauteng economy," she said.
In line with the Sports Development Policy Framework of the province for 2007, Gauteng will extend its mass participation programme to 40 communities across the province.

This means that an additional eight communities will now be able to access organized sporting activities including fun runs and walks, volley ball, soft ball and street soccer as well as coaching in the seven priority sporting codes.

The programme, the MEC said, had created 230 community based coaches who received accredited training. This number will increase to 360 during the course of 2007.

Source: Bongani Mlangeni - BuaNews

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