City bids for Gay Games
CAPE Town is one of 11 cities globally in the running to host the 2022 Gay Games, and the prize if the Mother City wins will be a large crop of first time tourists, according to a gay and lesbian travel association.
The announcement of the line-up came this week from the Federation of Gay Games.
First held in San Francisco in 1982, the games is an international LGBT sporting competition in which people of all sexual orientations can compete.
Sports are similar to those offered at the Olympics, and include rowing, judo, soccer, athletics, squash and tennis.
John Tanzella, president of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association ( IGLTA), said the Games “bring an influx of thousands of LGBT athletes and sports enthusiasts to the destination, many of whom will not have been there before”.
“It’s not only exposure for the city, but also represents increased business for hotels, restaurants, attractions, nightlife, and shopping,” he added.
The association recently held its 33rd Annual Global Convention in Cape Town at the Mount Nelson Hotel, bringing LGBT tourism professionals and media from 24 countries to the city.
“The feedback on Cape Town was overwhelmingly positive,” said Tanzella.
The Games, to be held next in Paris in 2018, have never been held in Africa.
Reports this week said the South African bid was spearheaded by Ian McMahon of the Mother City Queer Project. He is apparently travelling abroad and could not be reached for comment.
Garreth Bloor, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development, said while the city had not received a formal application to support the bid, it would welcome one.
“Cape Town is an inclusive city and (is) committed to being Africa’s events capital,” he said.
According to the Federation of Gay Games, which organises the quadrennial tournament, other cities bidding for 2022 include Austin, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Washington, DC, all in the US, as well as Guadalajara in Mexico, Hong Kong, and Tel Aviv in Israel.
The federation’s site selection officer David Killian said in statement the bidding process was lengthy and competitive.
“The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economics, history and, most importantly, furthering all matters of LGBT equality,” he said.
All cities had to submit complete bids to the federation by the end of November.
Three candidates will be shortlisted in February, and, following site visits, the winning city will be announced in January 2018.
A man watches runners compete at the Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany, in 2010.