Major sporting events, like the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Sevens, may just prove to be the saving grace of the local hospitality industry, which is also bearing the brunt of the current global economic crisis.

With the lead time on accommodation bookings dwindling every year and the duration of visits to the city shrinking, major sporting events over the festive season will no doubt create a demand for beds.

According to Johann Dreyer, from Beachfront Lodges in Port Elizabeth, they are experiencing a decline in bookings at their lodges.

However, he says, they are confident that an influx of participants and supporters for major sporting events this summer will ensure that they reach occupancy rates similar to that of last year.

Dreyer says PE’s hospitality industry stands to benefit hugely from upcoming national events like the Discovery Men’s Health Surf Ski Series, the Aquabear Gala, the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens and the Coca-Cola Cricket Festival.

Mandy O’Regan, retail manager at The Boardwalk casino and entertainment complex, 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. Our restaurants and fast food outlets benefit tremendously.”

O’Regan says they are always keen to support major sporting events, since the hospitality industry on the whole stands to benefit. Although difficult to gauge, she says there is also a knock-on effect when people return to the region after seeing what the city has to offer.

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.

Apart from taking up beds, the NMB Sevens will result in a direct financial injection of up to R35 million when an estimated 40 000 people will attend the event from December 12 to 14.

Finn 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 40% of the expected total.

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.

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Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens