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AAs one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa, and in the world, it is exciting that the Diamond Cup Skateboarding Competition is taking place this week in Kimberley, Northern Cape. This is the third time this event is taking place in Kimberley, the home of the Big Hole, and once again it proved to be an action-packed competition. The festivities kicked off on Sunday the 4th of October and ran through until Saturday the 10th of October. More than fifty different countries sent their respective world champs to participate.
The event has an immense impact on South African tourism, as it was recently announced that skateboarding has been proposed as one of the five new sports added to the Olympic Games for 2020. The Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, paid a visit to the Northern Cape to highlight the potential growth of tourism in the province, as well as to spend a few days interacting with the media and to meet and greet with the skaters and participants.
Minister Hanekom highlighted how remarkable South Africa is at lending itself to such world-class events. He emphasised how important it is that events such as these take place in order to boost the local and international support of small businesses namely, boutique hotels, tour guides and local restaurants. In turn, it also creates a great platform for these businesses to market their services to the international audience, thus attracting foreign guests.
One of the key concepts he mentioned was the importance of building trust and allowing tourists to engage with new businesses with confidence. He also mentioned that government needs to, and will, assist small businesses in making tourism a priority in our smaller provinces in the near future. Incentive programmes are being planned which will assist with marketing, renewable energies, skills development as well as disability access.
The Minister spoke with passion and his enthusiasm was clear and tangible which gave everyone a feeling of pride and excitement for tourism in the Northern Cape, and in South Africa. Local stakeholders were pleased to have been given the opportunity for open discussion and engagement with Minister Hanekom. The Minister went on to enjoy some of local attractions and visited the Kumba Skate Plaza where the Diamond Cup has attracted some of the best skateboarders from around the world.