South Africa

Johann Rupert’s advice on how to spend R1 billion to attract tourists

Billionaire businessman Johann Rupert said spending money on proper safety and security in South Africa will attract more tourists than sponsoring premier league club Tottenham Hotspur.

On Wednesday, Daily Maverick reported that through its marketing agency SA Tourism, the government is set to sign a Tottenham Hotspur sponsorship deal worth R912 million.

News24 reported that SA Tourism’s proposed three-year deal worth ¬£42.5 million will start with the 2023/24 English Premier League season and end with the 2026/27 season.

In exchange for the sponsorship, SA Tourism would receive kit branding, interview backdrop branding, match-day advertising, and partnership announcements.

The sponsorship will also include training camps in South Africa and free access to tickets and stadium hospitality.

The initial report linked Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to the deal, but she said the article is riddled with inaccuracies and untruths.

The tourism ministry said the deal is related to the tourism board, an independent body, and that Sisulu has not been briefed on the matter.

The ministry added that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tottenham Hotspur is non-binding and must still pass muster.

The deal drew sharp criticism from many citizens and political parties who said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The DA said the planned sponsorship is a slap in the face of every South African whose hard-earned tax will be used to sponsor a first-world football team.

Rupert, who has strong international connections with his finger on the pulse of global matters, also criticized the deal.

He said the proposed R912 million South African Tourism sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur is not smart.

Instead, he suggested that the money could be better spent on “proper safety and security for everyone if you want more tourists to come” to South Africa.

South Africa’s tourism industry has suffered numerous setbacks because of crime, which include the murder of a German visitor and a spate of incidents close to the Kruger National Park.

A 2022 University of Pretoria study highlighted that South Africa holds the reputation of one of the highest crime rates in the world and is regarded as a high-risk destination.

This negative reputation directly influences tourism demand and supply and indirectly impacts the industry’s jobs and gross income.

Rupert’s suggestion that the money should be invested in making the country safe instead of sponsoring a premier league soccer team is, therefore, backed by research.

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