With the dwindling global economy’s nasty tentacles clutching at the local hospitality industry, major sporting events like the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Sevens may very well save the season.

With the lead time on festive season accommodation bookings dropping and the duration of visits to the city shrinking in the face of changing economic times, major sporting events continue to create a demand for beds.

Johann Dreyer, from Beachfront Lodges in Port Elizabeth, says although bookings are slow for the holiday season, they are confident that an influx of participants and supporters for major sporting events this summer will ensure similar occupancy rates to that of last year.

He says events such as the Aquabear Gala, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens and the Coca-Cola Cricket Festival will create a late demand for beds.

Mandy O’Regan, retail manager at The Boardwalk, says major sporting events impacts favourably on their centre. “As we are essentially an entertainment facility, participants and supporters flock to The Boardwalk during events like the Sevens and Ironman.”

O’Regan says they are always keen to support major sporting events, since the hospitality industry on the whole stands to benefit.

The short, medium and long term financial benefits of national and international sporting events should never be underestimated, says NMB Sevens’ marketing director Laurence Finn.

He says apart from taking up beds, the Sevens will result in a direct financial injection of up to R35 million when an estimated 40 000 people – of which an estimated 40% will be national and international visitors – will attend the third annual event from December 12 to 14.

Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism’s (NMBT) chief executive officer, Fezekile Tshiwula, says an event 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.

The organisers are currently compiling a bid to host the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013 and local support will be one of the determining factors.

During the previous World Cup Sevens (in Hong Kong), 95% of the 120 000 visitors were from foreign countries.

For more information, visit www.nmbs.co.za

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens