Tourism is the crossing of borders for an experience. Sports Tourism is one such activity bringing so many to cross borders as they are counted today as Sports Tourism Delegates.
The 2019 edition of African Sports Tourism – the premier, Pan-African convergence of stakeholders from both sports and tourism landscapes, that yearly moves from one African country to the other will be hosted in Ghana this year and two major activities have been scheduled to headline the week.
They are African Sports Tourism Summit & Olympic Roundtable and African Sports Destination Awards. The summit will witness the gathering of sports federations/commissions/councils, Olympic committees, local organizing committees, tourism boards, tour operators and other stakeholders from both sports and tourism landscapes. They will be cross-breeding ideas and exchange a hand of fellowship, towards an Africa where sport is seen and approached as tourism. It will hold at Oak Plaza Hotels in Accra Ghana, on the 19th – 20th of September, 2019.
On the list of speakers are Juliet Bauwah, Dev Govindjee, Geoff Wilson, Tafadzwa Mapanzure, Abi Ijasanmi and Seyi Akinwunmi.
Juliet Bawuah is a female household name in sports across Africa. She sits on the panel that decides CAF African Footballer of the Year. The Founder of African Women Sports Summit is a fellow of Radio Netherlands Training Centre. She is currently an African football contributor on TRT, a leading European television company in Turkey.
Seyi Akinwunmi is a consummate lawyer who has in the past pitched his trade with tourism industry players. He serves as 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation and Lagos FA chairman.
Dev Govindjee is a South African cricket legend who played in 45 first-class matches for Eastern Province between 1971 and 1983. He worked with International Cricket Council for more than a decade. He is currently an international match referee.
A member of the board at Tourism Northern Ireland – Geoff Wilson runs his own marketing and communications consultancy business, with a focus primarily on sport. Previously Head of Marketing and Communications (Irish FA), he was responsible for public relations, commercial programmes, brand development and communication to fans.
Geoff works with the likes of FIFA, UEFA, AFC, FIBA and other global sports organizations in a wide range of areas from strategic planning, marketing and communications, digital, fans engagement, public affairs and knowledge sharing/exchange programmes. In addition, Geoff consults with a number of sports tech companies in the CRM, eSports, wearable and fans engagement space. Geoff is a part-time lecturer in marketing at Queen’s University Belfast and is Chair of Netball Northern Ireland.
Tafadzwa Mapanzure is a sports industry consultant with years of experience in sports marketing in Southern Africa region.
Abi Ijasanmi was one of the first female agents negotiating salaries, endorsements and media deals for US Basketball players in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A Commercial Lawyer with over 10 years business development experience, she joined Trans-Atlantic Sports marketing as an intern in 1998 and in 2001 became responsible for representing talent in markets as diverse as Lebanon, Italy, Lithuania and France. Overseeing player, team and media relations, and her efforts made it possible for players to venture into unknown territories and command professional fees.
Abi spearheaded the women’s division for TASM, the first of its kind in Europe. With an ability to identify new opportunities and a passion for the potential of African Basketball, Abi has positioned herself as an intermediary for international investors focusing on basketball on the African continent. In 2006, Abi’s expertise was called upon by Olympic Gold Medalist, Tessa Sanderson to provide legal and marketing consultancy to her newly created sports academy for the London 2012 games. She’s currently Director for Africa at DiamondAir International.
Speaking on the event, Deji Ajomale-McWord, President of African Sports Tourism Week, said “our goal is to increase the gross domestic products of African nations, through better delivered sporting events and sports holiday. Sports can only be best commodified through experiences that only hospitality and tourism can tailor.
We will be moving to different African nations, year in year out, conduct the marriage of sports and tourism, and watch over their romance to ensure it produces offspring of socioeconomic gains. Our theme for this year is ‘Aligning Sports Tourism with Sustainable Development Goals’ and we shall be discussing other topics bothering on bidding process, why Africa isn’t attracting enough sporting events and commodifying sports holiday in Africa”.
When asked about the awards, Deji reiterates that “though making its debut in 2019, African Sports Destination Awards has garnered interest across the continent. Tourism boards and brands in the sports tours value chain keenly participated in the nomination and voting process.
The voting portal is now closed and winners determined by votes from the public and the jury. We will also be inducting some brand into ‘Friends of Sports Tourism’ hall of fame, an elite class of brands, institutions and individuals who champion the cause of encouraging and inspiring humans to leave their abodes and travel to other places on our planet, for sporting purposes.
Our goal is to set a benchmark of excellence for players within the sports tourism industry, while uniting Africa through sports and tourism.”