The effects of major sport event leveraging for tourism and destination branding : the case of South Africa as an emerging destination

29 Nov 2019

Emerging nations with transitioning or newly transformed brands are increasingly using sport as a branding platform to generate and communicate strong and coherent brands. This is done in acknowledgement of sport as a powerful agent for destination branding. While many studies on sport mega-events leveraging exist, few have addressed the effects of major sport on tourism and destination branding. Regrettably, the theory underpinning emerging economies and destinations of the Global South has been neglected. This paper, therefore, addresses the gap by investigating the major event and its effects on the emerging South African brand. The study followed a qualitative design featuring semi-structured in-depth interviews with key industry stakeholders involved in sport, nation and tourism brands. The findings clearly revealed positive effects of major events for a developing destination, in line with socio-economic development and brand exposure. Furthermore, strong emphasis on the importance of strategic partnerships for effective brand development is evident. The paper contributes to the developing country?s perspective on topics investigated largely in the developed contexts. It also holds practical significance for stakeholders of other developing nations, providing them with guidance on how to achieve branding benefits through major sport event leveraging.