With just over a month to go before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announces the 2022 Olympic Youth Games hosts, Botswana is optimistic of winning the bid.
The country, along with three other African countries, being Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia are vying to host the first Youth Olympics in African soil.
With the assessment phase of prospective host countries by the IOC Evaluation Commission expected to come to a close at the end of this month, Botswana is hopeful it will be among the last two names that will be passed to the IOC Executive Board ‘to recommend for consideration by the IOC members.’
It is expected that the IOC Evaluation Commission will submit the names of the final two potential host countries along with their recommendations to the IOC sometime in September.
The winner of the bid for the games is however expected to be elected during the IOC session in Argentina on October and announced thereafter.
Should Botswana win the bid, the country will go into the history books as the first African country to host Olympic Games.
Aside from the bragging rights, Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tuelo Serufho says if Botswana is awarded the host status of the games, the country’s tourism will reap rich rewards.
“If we are to host the games, we expect a lot of people to come into the country, both during and after the games,” Serufho explained.
The BNOC CEO said during the games period, tourists’ expenditure will be expected to go into hundreds of millions of Botswana Pulas.
“Some of the people that would come into the country, should we win, include very prominent and influential people. For a country like Botswana, this will be a great opportunity to lure them to do business in/with Botswana,” the BNOC CEO explained.
With the whole world expected to descend in the host country, Serufho further alluded that this will also attract the attention of the world’s major news networks, who will profile the country.
The media attraction, which will be expected to start prior to the games, will also be expected to continue during the games.
“The Games will be broadcast across the whole world, with hundreds of millions and possibly up to 1 billion people watching them. This will no doubt go a long way towards promoting the host country,” he said.
According to the BNOC CEO, given the worldwide news exposure and the number of people who will be in the country, hosting the games will have a ripple effect on local tourism past the games.
“The unprecedented number of tourist we would host as well as the profiling we would get out of the Games should lead to an upward surge in tourist numbers post the Games,” said Serufho.
In terms of direct expenditure, the BNOC CEO said foreign companies and entities will also spend millions in the country.
“As you may know, a lot of big entities, some associated with the Olympic games and some following the games will come and spend hundreds of millions of pulas here, by games time only,” he said.
As for the country’s expenditure to host the games, Serufho said most of what the country would spend will go towards infrastructure development, thus accelerating development and enhancing the citizens’ quality of life.