Tue 15 Jan 2013
On Saturday The Guardian Nigeria published an article ‘Shopping Experience for South African Orange AFCON Visitors’, focusing on the work SA Tourism has done to get shopping malls in Confederation of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 Host Cities to offer sales to make their tenants’ products attractive to the flood of African visitors expected in the country for the AFCON 2013 kick-off on Saturday. It wrote: ‘South African Tourism has formed a partnership with VISA and hundreds of malls across the length and breadth of the country to bring fantastic special offers to all visiting AFCON fans’. The pay-off line for AFCON 2013, developed by SA Tourism, is the ‘Beat at Africa’s Feet’!
Using quotation marks (at the beginning but not at the end!), one can assume that the bulk of the content of the article came from a SA Tourism media release sent to the Nigerian newspaper. It is amusing to read what SA Tourism believes the soccer fans will be attracted to, including clothing retailers, Woolworths and Clicks, as well as international fashion brand stores such as Zara, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, and ‘IT brands like Apple and Vodacom (sic)’! Street vendors selling vegetables also receive an honourable mention, but they hardly would see any increase in business during AFCON! Ladies fashion stores would be unlikely to attract much male soccer fan custom, if the soccer World Cup 2010 is anything to go by, which was largely attended by male soccer fans.
This is how SA Tourism romanticised the retail treats for the visiting soccer fans: “… from big, bright air-conditioned shopping malls to street vendors selling home-grown vegetables, visitors can buy anything and everything in our cities and towns, which each have landmark shopping hubs where all the major retail chains, and many others, are trading. Goods range from imported furniture, designer clothes, kitchenware, computers, techno gadgets, audiovisual equipment, jewellery and more. Edgars, Clicks, Mr Price, Foschini, Stuttafords, Truworths and Woolworths are some of the popular retail chains in the rainbow country including top-end international stores like Zara, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and The Body Shop, and IT brands like Apple and Vodacom. There are also smaller businesses that are big on choice, personalised service and variety in everything from designer baby gear to bathroom accessories, footwear, books, kitchen gadgets, high-end computers and smart phones; including hand-crafted chocolates, diamond, gold and other precious trinkets to adorn the body with”.
Cape Town and the Western Cape will be missing out on the soccer shopping as well as tourism extravaganza, given the bungling of the bid for Cape Town as Host City by City of Cape Town Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing! Ticket sales for the three week AFCON 2013 soccer schedule have been slow, due to a lack of marketing, constrained by ‘limited resources’, said the CEO of the Local Organising Committee Mvuzo Mbebe, quoted on SouthAfrica.info. Currently only two-thirds of the 500000 tickets for the tournament, to be played in Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Durban, and Port Elizabeth, have been sold. The opening match between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde in Johannesburg on Saturday appears to be close to fully booked. Television coverage over the three week period is expected to reach 2,3 billion viewers.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage