SA Tourism acting CEO Themba Khumalo stressed on Thursday that while the controversial Tottenham Hotspurs deal has not been signed, it has been conditionally approved by the SA Tourism Board.
Khumalo was addressing the media following an outcry around the almost R1-billion sponsorship, which aims to attract more tourists to South Africa.
Khumalo stressed that the travel industry was one of the biggest economic drivers in the country and would continue to be the powerhouse of driving economic recovery.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the plan is “another glitz and glamour ploy” by Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to leave a mark in tourism before her potential redeployment to another department in a soon-to-be announced Cabinet reshuffle.
Khumalo pointed out that the mandate of SA Tourism was to market South Africa both domestically and internationally.
SA Tourism believes that the Spurs deal will reach 616-million people who will watch the game live and yield billions for the country.
Khumalo said the deal would also give South Africa access to key policy makers such as the members of the UK Parliament and CEOs of London-listed companies.
“When you start to unpack the deal, you start to see that there is a lot of other underlying benefits in terms of how we will be able to drive the return on investment for this deal and how we drive advocacy back channelling in order for us to get this done,” he explained.
He added that the deal would also boost the aviation industry.
Despite the document being leaked to the media, Khumalo stressed that he could not discuss further details of the figures that had been made public.
Explaining where SA Tourism is in terms of the deal, he said that his organisation had had to halt discussions around the deal for now while addressing the issue of leaked documents.
When asked why SA Tourism chose to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur, Khumalo said that all other top teams already have tourism partners.
“This was the only team in the top performing tier that did not have a tourism destination partner,” he confirmed.
EMAIL THIS ARTICLE SAVE THIS ARTICLE ARTICLE ENQUIRY
To subscribe email email@example.com or click here
To advertise email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here