With the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting in little more than a week, integrated tourism group Tourvest says it has secured bookings for 45 000 VIP guests attending the global showpiece in Brazil.

Tourvest Destination Management chief executive Martin Wiest says the group’s involvement in the 2014 World Cup is thanks to the legacy of South Africa’s hosting the event in 2010, which had allowed the tourism group to establish a specialised business. “When South Africa was announced as the hosting country in 2006, we created Tourvest Event Activation Management (TEAM) – a one-stop sports events hospitality arm – to coordinate and manage the accommodation, ground handling, hospitality staffing, transport and logistics requirements on behalf of corporate clients.”

For the 2010 World Cup, TEAM handled 68 000 VIP guests and one in ten people who attended the final were looked after by Tourvest. This experience resulted in an in-depth understanding of the sports events sector which, Tourvest realised, could be applied to similar sporting events internationally.

“Most of the decision-makers that were involved in the 2010 World Cup were also involved in organising the showpiece in Brazil. We realised that if we did a good job in South Africa, we would be able to prove to these key people that we were capable of doing the same in Brazil,” he says.

“Many of the lessons we learnt in South Africa were applicable to Brazil, such as the fact that it is a long-haul destination for most of the world and that accommodation is scarce in some of the host cities. Having found a solution to these problems in South Africa, we have been able to apply our experience to Brazil.”

TEAM already has a staff contingent of 800 employees in Brazil and will be sending a further 35 senior employees this week to fulfil various project management and other managerial functions across the 12 host cities. In addition to accommodation and transfers, it will look after the ground-handling, hospitality staffing and itinerary planning of its corporate guests, most of whom are FIFA sponsors and partners, the media, sports marketing agencies and sports tour operators from across the world.

Since 2010, TEAM has rapidly expanded its global footprint with offices spanning Barra Da Tijuca through London to Lisbon and Sochi, where it was involved in the Winter Olympics earlier this year. “Our presence in soccer circles is becoming more and more influential and for the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon, 3 000 VIPs who attended were our customers,” he says. “We are not, however, limited to soccer and Olympic events, having recently entered into a joint venture partnership with the South African Rugby Union to look after the travel requirements of Springbok fans for the IRB World Cup taking place in England next year.”

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