Sports tourism in Tshwane to take center stage

The city of Tshwane, South Africa, is pursuing sports and events tourism in an effort to reposition the city's brand and introduce the city to the global sports tourism industry.

Sports tourism in Tshwane to take center stage

The city of Tshwane, South Africa, is pursuing sports and events tourism in an effort to reposition the city’s brand and introduce the city to the global sports tourism industry.

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The city’s wonderful climate, well-kept sports venues, passionate spectators, and a wealth of sport champions makes the city a perfect host for any sporting code.

Nomasonto Ndlovu, Strategic Executive Director for the Communication, Marketing and Events Department of the Tshwane Metro, says the city is moving on to a new fairway, so to speak, in its destination marketing. “Independent research has shown that the sports event arena is growing faster than the national gross domestic product rates around the world, and as a municipality we feel that for the city – its residents and businesses – the prospects for the future in this sports tourism market are promising.”

Setting the city on this path was the inaugural Tshwane Open at the end of February at the Els Club Copperleaf Golf Estate in Centurion. The inaugural Tshwane Open 2013 was co-sanctioned by the European Tour in association with the Sunshine Tour. During the golf tournament, held from February 28 to March 3 at the Els Club at Copperleaf, a field of 156 players all chased the 1.5 million euro prize money.

It is the biggest single investment the city has ever made since the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and is an indication that the city recognizes sports tourism as a strategic platform to build the destination brand of the Cithat Tshwane, an event the city will host for three years.

Tshwane has over 15 golf courses that are on par with the best in the world, and it has hosted numerous professional and amateur events. The city is renowned for its blue skies and beautiful natural surroundings and a favorite meeting place for many golfers who want “to get away from it all.”

The Union Buildings will later this year come to life with the roar of motorcycle engines when the world’s most prestigious and challenging freestyle motocross competition, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, expands to South Africa. The iconic Union Buildings will play host to the tour in the year this famous Sir Herbert Baker architectural landmark celebrates its centenary.

The city of Tshwane will be the last stop on the six-stop tour and will bring something to the Union Buildings that not many South Africans are likely to have seen in their lifetime – the world’s best freestyle motocross riders performing gravity-defying, breathtaking tricks in the air above what many consider Sir Herbert Baker’s greatest achievement.

Tshwane has also played host to a variety of other local, national, and international sporting events. Some of the more memorable ones were the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, All Africa Games, World Tug of War Championships, World Junior Chess Championships, and the International Karate Championships. The most memorable of them all was the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when Tshwane was named by FIFA as one of the best host cities to one of the most spectacular sporting events ever on the African continent.

Tshwane boasts world-class sporting facilities which include:

– SuperSport Park Cricket Stadium – in this venue with a 22,000 capacity in Centurion, the Proteas wrapped up their test series against Pakistan with a 3-0 white wash last month.

– Loftus Versfeld Stadium – this is the home ground of the Blue Bulls and Mamelodi Sundowns. The Bulls, who are topping the log of the Super Rugby (South African Conference), recently hosted Australian Western Force and the Stormers and won both matches. The Premier Soccer League, struggling to out fit the Sundowns, also play their home games at this ground.

– High Performance Centre – The HPC at the University of Pretoria is Southern Africa’s first elite one-stop sports facility. It was launched in 2002, and the center is the training ground for tomorrow’s sporting champions and the venue of choice for sport professionals and enthusiasts alike, including the recent Olympic Champions like Cater Semenya and the South Africa four – James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith, and Sizwe Ndlovu – that stunned the world by winning gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

From the training facilities to medical services, accommodation and food, the HPC offers everyone the opportunity to enjoy its awe-inspiring environment. The role of the HPC can be divided into two inter-related parts: the TuksSport Academies and to provide a venue for high-profile international and local athletes and teams for pre-season and pre-event training.