Sapoa Convention to Debate the Wider Challenges Underscored By The 2010 World Cup

Posted On Wednesday, 09 May 2007 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Delivering on the infrastructure and property needs of the 2010 World Cup is very much in the hearts and minds of the SA commercial and industrial property market, but experts argue that these needs form part of a larger challenge to the industry that goes far beyond the 2010 time horizon.

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What exactly those challenges are is a topic to be debated by a panel of local and international experts at this year’s 39th annual SAPOA Convention to be held at Sun City in May. This year’s theme is ‘The Road to 2012 – Masterminding the Next Five Years’.

“The countdown to the 2010 World Cup has underscored a number of challenges that need to be effectively – and sustainably – addressed,” says SAPOA CEO Neil Gopal.

A universal challenge is the skills crisis, especially in the construction and property sectors. It’s a shortage that won’t only affect preparations for the World Cup, but the costs of the property industry at large.

“Skills are a key component of our growth,” says Gopal. “We will need to fill the gaps – and soon.”

He reckons that SA will increasingly import skills in the short- to medium-term.

Another area is SA’s position on the world property radar. Although the 2010 World Cup will raise SA’s profile internationally, more work needs to be done not only with potential visitors but also with investors and developers scouting property opportunities abroad.

“It’s not that SA is loved or hated; just that we are unknown,” argues Kura Chihota, who will be facilitating the panel discussion at the SAPOA Convention.

Gopal agrees, pointing out that SAPOA will continue to work hard to ensure SA participation at international exhibitions and conferences, like MIPIM which is held annually in Cannes, France.

“Due to our relatively small size, we will lose a lot more if we do not participate at international conferences and exhibitions which promote SA” adds Gopal.

From a global perspective, Alastair Collins, International Managing Partner at London-based Davis Langdon LLP, reckons that the crux for SA is building long-term confidence on many levels – personal, social, political and commercial – and effectively communicating these achievements to the global market, in which SA, no longer side-lined, is a player these days.

“Needless to say, delivering a successful World Cup competition will go a long way toward furthering these goals” says Collins.

“A lot will depend on the international market sharing long term investment confidence, in SA, beyond 2010,” he suggests. “That means decision makers, in markets outside of SA, being reassured by messages - about key issues such as dependable property ownership statutes and responsible political succession planning - being communicated, from within SA to the outside world. In the absence of  such messages the global market will speculate – perhaps incorrectly and negatively.”

And of course, there’s the 2010 World Cup itself.

It seems that SA is largely on track, with the focus right now on the sustainability of new infrastructure and property development.

But SA needs to keep a sense of perspective about the World Cup, says Chihota. There are currently 20 new five-star hotels being built around the country to accommodate the 500,000 or so people expected to pour into SA for the World Cup.

“It’s a six week event. So who will stay in these hotels after the World Cup?” asks Chihota. “We need to think of creative ways to address capacity, in accommodation and travel and movement.”

He suggests bringing in ocean liners as hotels in port cities like Cape Town and Durban. Or innovative airport check-in counters dedicated to World Cup visitors.

Chihota and Collins will form part of a panel discussion on Delivering a Dream – Managing Infrastructure Challenges to 2010 at the SAPOA Convention.

The 39th annual SAPOA Convention and Property Exhibition, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate, is scheduled to run from 16-18 May 2007 at Sun City. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 17:05

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