Mmegi Online :: An opportunity not to be missed
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Last Updated
Tuesday 25 September 2018, 11:43 am.
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An opportunity not to be missed

The recent visit by International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials to check out the country as a possible host of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games should send a clear signal for us to raise our hands.
By Thuso Palai Tue 22 May 2018, 13:03 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: An opportunity not to be missed








To be identified as one of four host possibilities shows great confidence in us and that show of confidence should be met with positivity and quick moves to put together a bid, if that is the expectation.  All things being equal, and what I have gathered from the grapevine, we have a great shot. Imagine Botswana as the first ever host of an African Olympics.

I’m not privy to how the host country will be selected but the fact that there are four possible hosts shows that there has to be some kind of bid or pitch, and this is something we have successfully done before.  We have put through strong bids before and hosted major sporting events, the latest ones that come to mind being the Netball World Youth Cup.

As a country, we have a story to tell, we have the right setting, we have the infrastructure, we have the expertise, we have the talent, we have the experience and certainly have the passion and energy to host Games of that magnitude.  Fingers crossed the country leadership sees this as an opportunity not to miss out on.

The country stands to benefit immensely.  Government, and other

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entities like Botswana Tourism, HATAB, Brand Botswana, just to mention a few, have to start earnest conversations, with emphasis on what we stand to gain as a country if we were to host the Youth Olympics. 

The impact on nation branding, the tourism sector, the sport sector, the business sector, the transport sector and the hotel and catering sectors, amongst others, would largely benefit.  As a relatively unknown country, this would present an opportunity for the world to focus on and talk about Botswana for a sustained period, and that can only augur well for general awareness creation for Botswana, as well as investment and tourism attraction efforts. 

While the benefits will be significant, the cost is also huge, and hosting the Youth Olympics will dig into the country’s coffers.  For me it would be a worthwhile cost, with immediate, mid-term and long-term benefits.  For this one though, I just hope we look more at the opportunity cost of not hosting the event rather than focusing on how much it will cost to host the event.

 

*Thuso Palai is Botswana Investment and Trade Centre Manager - International Brand Management, but writes in his personal capacity.

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