She added that in recent years, the phrase 'sports tourism' has been coined to define benefits or spin offs that accrue to the hotel and hospitality industry especially when a country hosts major sports events. She said that it was time each citizen recognises his or her role in exploiting the relatively uncharted sports tourism waters in the country. She stated that sport is very invaluable in giving people a sense of a shared identity and social cohesion.
"Identification with prominent sports personalities frequently produces pride in the community and identification with the culture as a whole. Sport promotes patriotism and national social cohesion in line with the ideals of both the BNSC Vision 2012 and the national Vision 2016," she said.
Speaking at the occasion whose theme was "Sports and Tourism: Two Living Forces for Mutual Unders-tanding, Culture and the Development of Societies" she noted that the BNSC is currently reviewing its Vision 2012. The Vision envisages the commercialisation of sport to become an economically viable sector that will act as an agent of positive social change in the country. She said that BNSC is out to support any initiatives geared at sports tourism.
"The hosting of prestigious international sports events in the country provides the tourism and hospitality industry with much needed customers. These customers in some cases do come back on their own to visit the country on holidays, thereby improving the country's image as a tourist destination of choice," she said.
She emphasised the need for an increased and well-coordinated cooperation between the hospitality sector and sports for the design of an appealing and winning image to maximise tourist attraction in the country. She advised that it is imperative that service delivery is improved if the country is to survive the stiff competition in the cutthroat world of sports tourism. This because solely exploiting the country's stability and good governance record may not be enough to achieve the desired impact.
"Maximum benefit can only be derived from tourism if deliberate and intensive marketing programmes are put in place to market the country to the international community well in advance, targeting potential World Cup qualifiers, in their countries of origin, before the fans can even think of starting to prepare for trips to South Africa," she said, of the 2010 World Cup billed for South Africa.