City bids for Gay Games

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JAN CRONJE

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.

jan.cronje@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

A man watches run­ners com­pete at the Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Ger­many, in 2010.

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