Business of Sport

W Cape to expand UAE links

2011-08-24 07:43
WORLDSPORT's Bruce Parker-Forsyth and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille
Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced that Cape Town-based company WORLDSPORT, has been appointed as the turnkey operator agency for the 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race Abu Dhabi (VORAB) Stopovers in both Abu Dhabi and Cape Town.

WORLDSPORT’s successful international bid to become the stopover operator at both cities could lead to the further strengthening of trade links between the Western Cape and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Zille said at a press conference  at the Provincial Legislature in Wale Street on Tuesday.

Trade ties between the Western Cape and the UAE, which has been identified by the Provincial Government as a high growth country, were also strengthened through a trade delegation led by Zille, other top provincial officials, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency (Wesgro) and local business people to the Middle East in December 2010.

The provincial government of the Western Cape lent support to WORLDSPORT's bid to host Abu Dhabi stopover. Zille said: “We’re very proud to have backed this successful bid.  This achievement proves Cape Town’s strength in exporting services and will create a twinning platform for businesses based in Cape Town and Abu Dhabi, creating economic opportunities in both cities. During our visit to Abu Dhabi it was very clear to see that this city has used mega sport events as one of the key tourist attractions. We have the potential to replicate that in the Western Cape. We also hope that this successful bid will open the door for WORLDSPORT and other services companies to win bids to successfully manage some of other sports events which are held in Abu Dhabi.”

Zille said this economic injection for both cities also could not have come at a better time, considering that the world could face the threat of a double dip in global economic growth.

Abu Dhabi was chosen from over 35 bidding cities to become a first time host port and this stopover event is budgeted at $50 million. The combined global investment by race stakeholders is $690 million, and the race commands the third largest global television viewership after the FIFA Soccer World Cup and the Olympics.

The global media exposure and economic impact of the event is massive. The event is estimated to attract 2.9 billion cumulative media consumers across 13 000 newspaper articles and 217 TV Channels. The race also attracts an estimated 3.8 million race village visitors and on average has an economic impact of R310 million on each host port.

WORLDSPORT CEO Bruce Parker-Forsyth said his company won the management contract for the Abu Dhabi stopover through a competitive tender process featuring the world’s leading sports management agencies. 

“I am encouraged by the opportunities that are opening up for Western Cape business in Abu Dhabi and the role the Volvo Ocean Race will play in introducing new players into the UAE market,” Parker-Forsyth said.

The company has an extensive sailing resume. “Since 1996 WORLDSPORT’s innovative and effective project management systems, marketing concepts and commercial strategies have established it as the global leader in race stopover management, including managing events such as the Heineken Cape to Rio, BT Global Challenge and the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town stopover. And we will use the current opportunity to of build a solid relationship with Abu Dhabi, host to many top international sports events,” said Parker-Forsyth.

WORLDSPORT has also been involved in major events supported by Western Cape public sector investment, including the Cape Town FIFA Fan Fest.

WORLDSPORT has opened an office in Abu Dhabi and has become a preferred supplier on the Abu Dhabi Tourism Agency’s tender list for their future major events.

“This should generate future business for Western Cape based special events industry suppliers, including hospitality, yacht services, marine management, media centre management and travel agencies,” said Parker-Forsyth.

The Volvo Ocean Race execution plan includes skills transfer programmes by South African professionals in the UAE, in addition to establishing training programmes in Cape Town for UAE nationals during the Cape Town stopover.


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