A direct financial injection of up to R35 million could be on the cards for Port Elizabeth when an estimated 40 000 people will attend the third annual Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Sevens.

The tournament takes place from December 12 to 14 at Pearson High School in Summerstrand.

The short, medium and long term financial benefits of national and international sporting events held in the city, should, according to NMB Sevens’ marketing director Laurence Finn, never be underestimated. He says it is not difficult to identify positive spin-offs brought about by big sporting events.

“Annually, the tournament attracts thousands of national and international players, organisers, supporters and media. They all spend money here and this financial injection inevitably flows over to all sectors of the economy.”

He says they are expecting around 30 000 spectators and about 9 000 players, coaches, officials and media over the three days. It is anticipated that national and international visitors will make up more or less 40% of the expected total.

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism’s (NMBT) chief executive officer, Fezekile Tshiwula, says a tournament like the NMB Sevens is of immense value to the local tourism industry. He says PE offers 6 456 rooms with 14 987 beds and therefore most of the city’s guesthouses and hotels should be fully booked during this popular event.

PE’s executive mayor, Nondumiso Maphazi, and her council have voiced their support for this year’s tournament and are asking local business to follow suit. The organisers are compiling a bid to host the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 and local support will be one of the determining factors.

Should NMB Sevens’ bid be successful, it will afford the city even more prosperity. During the previous World Cup Sevens (in Hong Kong), 95% of the 120 000 visitors were from foreign countries.

According to Pierre Voges, CEO of the Mandela Bay Development Agency (NBDA), there are two camps regarding expenditure running up to and during big sporting events.

“On the one hand you have the players, coaches and officials and on the other, the spectators. A per capita spend can be calculated based on average spend on accommodation, meals, drinks, curios, etcetera.”

Voges says visitors from elsewhere in South Africa spend more than local spectators, while their foreign counterparts spend even more. “These spending patterns stimulate the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which ultimately leads to job creation.”

He says investment in sectors like retail, entertainment, tourism, leisure and residential and commercial properties is necessary to stimulate urban renewal.

Sophia Steyn, centre manager of the Pier 14 shopping centre, says the MBDA’s urban renewal mandate is already having a positive impact on the centre. According to her, they currently have huge interest from national tenants wanting to trade from this shopping centre situated in the heart of the CBD.

Warren Jack, property broker from the Warren Jack Property Group, says although the effect is usually not perceivable straight away, any influx of money, in time, stimulates the property market.

“One shouldn’t be looking at the short term impact, but rather bear in mind that financial stimulation acts as a catalyst for a cycle of economic growth over a longer period of time. This usually manifests in job creation.”

When this happens, says Jack, the commercial property market is stimulated, which in turn has a positive impact on the residential property market.

Stephen Theodosiou, Eastern Cape Motor’s dealer principal, says apart from the financial implications, the tournament will once again afford PE fantastic local and international marketing opportunities. Eastern Cape Motors is one of many local companies supporting the tournament.

Martin Nefdt from Puma South Africa is also calling on local business to support the NMB Sevens. He says it is in the best interest of all role-players to unite in attracting visitors to the Eastern Cape.

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens