Sports Tourism in Africa has been given much attention in recent times with African Sports Tourism summit held on 25th August 2018 at the Golfview Hotel and Suites in Lagos, Nigeria. This was the first meeting of its kind where Sports and Tourism experts in Africa looked a possibility of collaboration for mutual benefits.
Sports tourism in Africa reached its peak during the FIFA World Cup 2010 held in South Africa. It was not only South Africa’s biggest International Sporting success but also a success for African Sports Tourism. Having be rated 9 out of 10, it became one of the best World Cup hosts.
New stadiums were designed and built, not forgetting the wonderful fan parks that were set up.
During the tournament, the vuvuzela (plastic horn) became internationally known and its sales during the tournament were quite high.
The closing ceremony featured celebrity Shakira and anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela.
Other popular sports events South Africa has held include the 1995 Rugby World, which it went on to win despite featuring for the first time. This not only spiked sports tourism statistics but more tourists taking holidays in South Africa.
The 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup co-hosted with Zimbabwe and Kenya was also another event that promoted sports leisure vacations in Africa.
The ABSA Premier Soccer League is the most lucrative and popular league in Africa. Live matches are aired on satellite television (DSTV) increasing the popularity of Soccer in Africa and positively contributing to sports tourism statistics.
British, French and Portuguese colonialists introduced the sport to Africa in the 1800s and it is the most liked and followed sport on the continent. African Football clubs were formed and through sponsorship, have increased popularity of the game. Countries that have the best footballing talent are Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisian and South Africa.
Talented players that have rose to popularity due to the game are George Weah – the President of Liberia, Abedi Pele of Ghana, Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, Didier Drogba of Ivory Coast, Roger Milla of Cameroon, Salif Kéita of Mali, Yaya Touré of Ivory Coast, Thomas N’kono of Cameroon and Lakhdar Belloumi of Algeria.
When it comes to the field and track events, Africa has always performed well in global competitions where the break world records. The top countries that perform well in Athletics are Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Algeria.
Kenya as the best country in this category has had exception talent that has fetched it 31 gold medals, 38 silver medals and 34 bronze medals.
Ethiopia has collected 22 gold medals, 11 silver medals and 21 bronze medals.
South Africa has collected 9 gold medals, 13 silver medals and 11 bronze medals.
Algeria has collected 4 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 2 bronze medals.
South Africa can rightly be considered as the home rugby on the continent with over 600,000 registered player. The game played a big role in racial reconciliation in South Africa. Internationally, the country is ranked after New Zealand, England, Ireland and Australia.
Kenya comes in as second on the African continent with over 40,000 registered players and also organizing the international annual Safari Sevens Tournament that attracts participants from all over the world.