Nelson Mandela Bay will host a week- long festival of judo when the Commonwealth Judo Games 2016 take place in the city from 23 to 28 April at the NMMU Summerstrand campus.
Hosted for the first time in the African continent, the Commonwealth Judo Games join international sporting events in the city including Ironman Africa and the Ocean Racing Series.
Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay is the first South African host city to host the Judo Commonwealth Championships, confirmed Mr Pannas Vosloo, Sports Director of Judo SA.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s own Siyabulela Mabulu will want to improve his position in his current category, whilst current Commonwealth Champion, Zack Piontek from South Africa will be at this international event l fighting to retain the title.
Hosting this event will address one of the main challenges facing Nelson Mandela Bay as tourist destination- seasonality. International sporting events such as the Commonwealth Judo Games are a great opportunity to close the gap where tourism figures decline outside of the high season, while at the same time promoting economic development, offering publicity for the destination and encouraging travel in both the domestic and international markets.
“As part of our mandate to grow the tourism industry as an all year round major contributor to the economy of Nelson Mandela Bay, the hosting of international events of this nature is part of our growth strategy. Because of our moderate climate, we are also well placed to host international events throughout the year and this is the message we are striving to send out to international event organisers,” said Mandlakazi Skefile, Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.
According to the organisers of the event, many international participants travel with their families and are expected to enjoy a holiday based around the Games. Plans are also underway to provide tailored tours for the visitors where they are expected to visit tourist attractions in and around the city including the world’s best beaches with blue flag statuses, big 5 game reserves a stone’s throw away from the city centre and cultural sites that range from the Donkin Heritage Trail, the Bird Island Lighthouse to the Fort Frederick Monument. There is also wide array of water sports to keep visitors captivated while they are in the city.
Participation in the last Games included 35 commonwealth nations, with all five continental unions represented with a total of 185 players competing for 56 medals. 500 participants from 15 countries Commonwealth countries will be part of the event in the event this year in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“We are very excited to play host to such a prestigious event and welcome the visitors to the Friendly City. We invite them to take advantage of our fine and affordable tourist attractions in and around the city,” concluded Skefile.
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