Tottenham tourism saga: Right idea, wrong focus

A proposed three-year deal by the Department of Tourism and SA Tourism to sponsor English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur has caused widespread consternation and has received plenty of condemnation in what many deem an ill-thought venture.

According to Prof Peet van der Merwe from the research unit TREES (Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society) at the North-West University (NWU), this amount could have been better used for other tourism purposes.

“We know that big-event tourism brings in a lot of revenue - it creates jobs and has a development function. So, to paint it in broad strokes, I think such an approach is a good idea. But, as far as I can discern from the Tottenham saga and the contract that is intended to be signed, the focus will largely be on the branding of South Africa at games, on their equipment and on their kit,” says Prof Van der Merwe.

“This is all well and good, but, I don’t really see any games being played here. I see there are training camps, but ideally we would like to see Tottenham playing games in South Africa which we can market for South Africans as well as in our neighbour states, who I am convinced would like to watch such games.

“The problem is that reporting about the abundance of crime and the lack of safety in South Africa may deter visitors. If government wants to do something progressive for the tourism sector, they should start addressing these issues. This will lead to us luring more tourists to South Africa in the long term, rather than spending a heap of money on one single tourism aspect while people are still afraid to visit us.”

Submitted on Thu, 02/02/2023 - 15:13