Yesterday, there was a press announcement that SA Tourism were considering putting an SA flag on the chest of every Tottenham Hotspur player at the cost of R1billion. I don’t doubt that this would give exposure for brand South Africa to soccer fans but, they know we exist! They know we exist because they are exposed to a deluge of news about loadshedding, corruption, murder, GBV. They also know that our national soccer team is a disaster.

The money could be better spent. Rather than the lazy “give me the money and I will put a sticker on the shirt” method, why not try something that will make a difference.

In spite of the bad publicity we give ourselves as a destination; people are still in love with South Africa, they want Table Mountain, Kruger Park, Nelson Mandela and our unique cuisines and wine.

The real barrier is the cost of flights. SA is an expensive destination to get to; though when you are here, it’s huge value (thanks to a slipping Rand)

We have a much critisised airline called SAA. It is still flying the routes that bring in tourists. Why don’t we spend the billion bucks on subsidising first time tourist airtickets for a two year period. A simple 50% discount will get them queing to get to Mzanzi. It has to be a first visit though. Of course they will fall in love with us and show the world their pictures, share on social media and influence others to come.

A Billion Bucks to Sponsor a Plain White Soccer Shirt?

Let’s do a breakdown.

Let’s say that the average economy class ticket to SA costs R20,000 per person. If we subsidise 50% we can get 100,000.00 new visitors to our country that’s money well spent don’t ya think. We will get it all back with the money they spend locally. That’s more jobs more tax, more GDP.

On average a tourist spends approx R30,000 in SA during a visit! That’s R3 billion bucks. What is better is that we can measure the success of the campaign

Oh and the knock on effect we help save jobs at SAA and help to get them back on their feet.

I apologise for any inaccuracy in my figures. This is more about the concept than accuracy of figures. I invite a statistician to crunch some numbers here

Stephen Hickmore