Byo eyes sports for growth


Bulawayo (New Ziana) – In a bid to position Bulawayo as a regional hub for sports, the city council has, in partnership with the Squash Rackets Association of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders, launched a Sports Economy Initiative.

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) corporate communication manager, Nesisa Mpofu said the initiative also seeks to develop the City into a vibrant and growing sports economy that will have spillover effects on the services sector including the tourism industry and also facilitate the hosting of international multi-disciplinary sports events.

She said the launch of the Sports Economy coincided with the recent hosting of an International Squash tournament (Zimbabwe Open Squash Championship) by the Squash Rackets Association of Zimbabwe at the Suburbs Squash Club and Old Miltonians Sports Club.

Mpofu said the Sports Economy Initiative came after a realisation that sport and tourism have a symbiotic relationship that provides valuable visitor experiences and promotes economic development of a given locality.

“The development of sports tourism is an essential component of the sport economy initiative, which has contributed significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of many cities,” she said.

In line with the National Development Strategy 1(NDS1), it is envisaged that the levels of participation in sport and recreation activities will increase from 15% in 2020 to 27% by year 2025.

Participation in sport will be increased through commercialising sporting activities.

Furthermore, at a socio-economic level, sports tourism contributes significantly to Sustainable Development Goal 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere), Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good health and wellbeing), Sustainable Development Goal 4(Quality education), Sustainable Development Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and
sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all) and Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

“The City of Bulawayo is also historically known as a powerhouse in sporting activities in Zimbabwe and abroad.
Sporting activities in Bulawayo have been able to unite the community and bring entertainment, recreation as well as contribute positively to the livability index,” Mpofu said.

“Some of the sporting activities that Bulawayo dominates include soccer; cricket, hockey, golf, swimming, basketball, rugby, cycling to mention a few,” she said.

In the past, Mpofu said the City of Bulawayo has also attracted world attention by hosting prestigious regional and international sporting tournaments which had a multiplier effect in boosting economic activities in the city as well as maintaining Bulawayo’s status of being a sporting shining star in the world.

Some of the tournaments that were successfully hosted by the city of Bulawayo include the following: All Africa Games 1995, The Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA), 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship; Cricket Two Test Series February 2023 to mention a few.

Mpofu said the launch of the Sports Economy initiative is in line with the vision of Bulawayo being a leading Smart and transformative City by 2024.

New Ziana

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