The little island of Mallorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, has much in common with South Africa. Despite a population of just under a million residents, the economy is largely dependent on tourism in this little piece of paradise. The sector employs more than 130 000 people. Recent tourist numbers, before the onset of Covid-19, were reported at 50m visitors per season. One of the biggest island drawcards, remains the local football club RCD Mallorca, who passionately compete in the La Liga race to glory each year.
With an economy so largely dependent on the tourist trade, the Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing short of devastating to Mallorca. Much like the impact has been on the local tourism and hospitality sectors here in South Africa. But RCD Mallorca has thrown their lot in the ring in an all-out effort to rebuild the island economy, with a few lessons ripe for a South African learning.
RCD Mallorca CEO Alfonso Diaz and his team have taken a back-to-basics and from-the-ground-up approach in considering the unique position their club occupies on the island. Fully aware of their contribution to the island economy flowing from sports-based tourism, they have taken their biggest asset, the stadium naming rights, and repurposed them to assist in the recovery of the islands’ economy.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the club has renamed their stadium, previously Estadi San Moix, now to Visit Mallorca Estadi. With no financial gain behind this move, it is in effect a donation of their largest, most valuable asset. The renaming will remain in place until the end of June 2021.
With international exposure from the La Liga league, once it commences again, extending to 84 countries, the message is clear – Visit Mallorca.
Contribute What You Can, Right Now
This move serves as a prime example of how each business within a sector can work towards rebuilding a post-Covid-19 reality, by rethinking their offering. A similar approach by established businesses here in South Africa could also yield effective results for our local economy, as we enter a time of easing in the lockdown regulations. And prepare for a similar easing, in due course, of international restrictions.
What Assets Do We Have in South Africa?
Our country abounds with many similar assets which could be used to stimulate the tourism and hospitality sectors, both amongst local residents and, at the appropriate time, potential foreign visitors. One’s mind wonders to key assets such as Table Mountain, the Kruger National Park, Nelson Mandela Bridge and so many more.
How can we tap into these resources to similarly make a bold statement and announce, we are here to welcome you? How can we repurpose these national treasures, just like RCD Mallorca, to showcase the magnificence that lies within the borders of our country?
That One Thing
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons and will most likely continue to do so as we rebuild our mutual futures. One key factor runs through each successful attempt like a golden thread – the ability to adapt.
My money’s on you South Africa. Let’s show them what the rainbow nation is really made of.