Events and conferences are not only unique in growing tourism numbers in to the city but they also assist destinations in bridging the seasonality problem. Events ensure that the city benefits from hosting participants but added to that is the coaching staff and family that always accompanies participants. They also attract spectators who will flock to come and support their heroes.
Having recently hosted the Commonwealth Judo Championships, Ironman Africa, the Ocean Racing Series, the Herald Cycle Tour, the Super Rugby, along with various major cricket and football games – it is evident that Nelson Mandela Bay is more than capable of hosting international mega sporting events and the rest of the world seems to agree.
Being amongst the top three countries in the final bid process to host the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championships is testament to the faith that the international sporting fraternity has in the ability of the city to host such an important event. The city is up against Nice in France and Budapest in Hungary which are also current hosts to the 70.3 Ironman championships. Nelson Mandela Bay joined the top 3 finalists out of a total of 11 bids.
Split over two days and with more than 16 000 visitors including 4 000 athletes, officials, press and spectators from overseas expected in the city, world international sporting events of this calibre present a huge tourism boost for Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape where the attention from the world and international media is priceless
NMB is currently hosting African Youth Chess Championships with over 320 young chess players from 14 countries participating while most of these competitors are accompanied by their parents and coaches. This competition will take place over a period of 9 days and this is the highest number ever to attend such a tournament. It will be the 3rd time the city hosting such a prestigious event the 1st championships was hosted at in 2013 attesting to greatness of the city as a great events host and tourism destination. Another chess tournament is scheduled to take place in the destination towards the end of the year.
The event does not only assist in numbers of arrivals for a destination but the free coverage and exposure from media that is guaranteed to converge to the venue to cover the events is also a bonus. Media follows sporting codes around the world at their own cost thus ensuring that destinations get free media coverage that would not have been possible due to prohibitive costs. Due to the focus brought to a destination by media attention it is always important for the destination and its stakeholders to always put their best foot forward thus ensuring the world and the visitors are exposed to a strong Destination Brand.
The end result is change of perceptions about the destination while ensuring repeat visits by some who attended the events and free marketing received from media coverage, word of mouth from participants and exposure as a result of hosting the events.
The public relations value received from Ironman does not specify the economic impact but that the PR value was R18 Million while hosting Super Rugby gave the city economic spin off in the excess of R150 million and hosing of the Sevens Rugby resulted in over R138 million.
This is why Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism will continue to lobby and bid for events, specifically those that attract significant numbers of visitors to the city. NMBT also offers event support services that is open to all event organizers which include amongst others, tourism information, marketing support, packages, and other visitor services.
Nelson Mandela Bay has hosted many successful events where the private and public sector worked hand in hand and going forward we want to encourage this partnership to ensure the success of events hosted in the city.