SA Tourism, Tottenham Hotspur F.C deal partially confirmed

SA Tourism, Tottenham Hotspur F.C deal partially confirmed

South African Tourism (SAT) chief marketing officer and acting chief executive officer Themba Khumalo said that the proposal to partner with Tottenham Hotspur F.C is for the sake of aggregating football audience in order to grow the economy of tourism in the country.

Khumalo was speaking during a media briefing to give a clear explanation regarding the proposed  three-year deal worth £42.5 million (about R900 million) with one of English Premier League’s best-known teams, Tottenham Hotspur F.C , starting at the beginning of the 2023/24 English Premier League season and ending at the end of the 2026/27 season.

The news was recently published by Daily Maverick and have since caused a social media buzz, spotlighting government to be misusing state funds in the midst of unsolved energy crisis.

Khumalo confirmed that the entity’s board made a conditional approval to support the sponsorship of English premiership side Tottenham Hotspur.  He further outlined that the funds in discussion were separate from those of other government departments, adding that as the Tourism department, spending money to make money was part of their work scope.

“The board made a conditional approval because it commercially makes sense, but it needs communication with the stakeholders to make sure they’re aligned,” Khumalo said.

“The stakeholders were not engaged because we were going to do so before the leak came out. We believe in the engagement, but there isn’t a signed contract with the entity. There was a conversation that led to the conditional approval.”

“These funds are separate from that meant for energy, potholes and all those service delivery issues as other departments are mandated to deal with such. As the tourism sector our mandate is to market the country and that is what we are going to do that until we are told otherwise.” he said.

Khumalo lamented that a confidential document was leaked from SAT and that such illegal act.

“Someone maliciously leaked confidential information to lend in the lands of Daily Marverick media and the board will be advised on what remedies to inflict on the actor of the document leak. “There will be consequences.” said Khumalo.

In 2019 before Covid19, SA had 6.4 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) share, which the tourism sector contributed four hundred and five billion dollars into that GDP with over 1500 million jobs created from the sector; In 2020 that contribution dropped to 3.1% and almost half a million jobs were lost.

In 2022 there was a slight economic recovery where the GDP again picked up to 3.2%. South Africa is slipping behind in terms of the global context as countries are recovering at around 74-75% while South Africa is still sitting at 60% compared to the 2019 numbers.

According to 2022 report, 5.7 million Tourists have been visiting South Africa between January and December, making it 150% increase compared to 2021. If South Africa wants to live up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s words in one of his State of the Nation Address, and achieve that from 2022-2030 if 21 million arraivals, GDP needs to be at 18%.

Khumalo said that the trade and investment in the tourism fraternity would create jobs for youth, people living with disabilities and women and that the sporting industry was the second aggregator of tourism after media, hence the sector is looking into investing in the field.

“Tourism will continue to be a power house in to driving economic recovery and in this regard the aim of this proposed initiative has nothing to do with football but everything to do with aggregating football audience as a written investment”

““We are going to consolidate the small businesses. We could invest on them but the plan is to target a bigger audience. The challenge with world cups is they are seasonal if we use advocacy because we have the highest points as a country. We also have a mandate to convince international countries to travel to SA hence we are ready to support events in the country.” Khumalo said.