Buelah Mosupye from the Department of Tourism speaks during the Sports and Events Tourism Exchange conference in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Durban - Sports and tourism events were growing global industries with significant economic benefits for the country.

Sports brought people together while travel and tourism taught people about different cultures, and their synergy was beneficial to the country.

And one of the events that tries to highlight these benefits is the annual Sports and Events Tourism Exchange conference held at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Menlyn since Wednesday night.

Since its inception, the event has become the meeting place for key decision-makers in the sports and events tourism industry to network, do business and debate issues of national importance affecting the growth of the sports and events tourism sector.

The event is a dynamic business-to-business platform aimed at positioning South Africa as a sports and events tourism destination.

The two-and-a-half-day conference is focused on the importance of partnerships looking at a global public-private partnership case study and its impact on the establishment of convention and event bureaus in South Africa. It also looks at event sponsorship trends, the impact of technology on the events industry, travel behaviour and trends of golf tourists.

Over the past five years, delegates attending the conference benefited from international and local experts sharing their knowledge and expertise on contemporary issues affecting the tourism industry.

One of the milestones achieved was support by the industry for Durban’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, now driven by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and the City of Durban.

Sugen Pillay, commercial director at Thebe Reed Exhibitions, said the capital was the ideal host city for a conference of this nature. “The city has a rich sporting heritage which spans iconic football clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns, Supersport United and the Bulls rugby franchise, the High Performance Centre at Pretoria University and 18 golf courses.”

The chief director for domestic tourism northern region at the Department of Tourism, Beulah Mosupye, said: “Our job of marketing the country becomes easier when South Africans achieve great things on the world stage.

“The achievement of Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League will no doubt have a positive spin-offs for the country.”

The conference ends on Thursday.

The Mercury