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QATAR AND CALIFORNIA: DEVELOPING A SPORTS TOURISM CULTURE

• Published on 31 Jul. 2015 • Category :Sport • Tags : 2015

QATAR AND CALIFORNIA: DEVELOPING A SPORTS TOURISM CULTURE

Powered by:Alan Kasujja, Presenter, Newsday, BBC, Uganda

Mark Spitz, Nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimming, United States

David Simon, President, Los Angeles Sports Council, United States

Glyn Milburn, former NFL Pro Bowl player; Business Team, Office of Economic Development, City of Los Angeles, United States

Glenn Lovett, President of Global Strategy, Repucom, United States

Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud, Director General of Aspire Logistics, Qatar

With the 2015 edition of Doha Goals being the first to be hosted outside Qatar, Los Angeles was a natural choice of venue.

Why? With the Qatari government spending billions of dollars making sports a national priority and California a veritable sporting haven, it represented a perfect fit.

A focus of the Qatar/California session was what Qatar could learn from its American counter-part. And David Simon, President at the Los Angeles Sports Council, was keen to point out that, like with any strong plan, identifying the objectives before the implementation phase was crucial.

“For each country or city, the first question you have to ask is, what goals are reasonable?” he said. “What goals are the low-hanging fruit for your community?”

The answer to that question, the panel agreed, hinges on a number of factors ranging from the ethnic to the socio-economic, and that can mean that compromise is sometimes needed.

“For a city as large as Los Angeles,” said Glyn Milburn, a Business Team member for the Office of Economic Development, City of Los Angeles, “we represent so many different viewpoints that I don’t think you can ever get full consensus in terms of one direction. You have to establish what the priorities are.”

Qatar’s goals are clear – to improve the standard of both facilities and sporting talent in the country, while also boosting community participation.

As well as the 2022 World Cup, Qatar recently won the right to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

Abdulaziz Al-Mahmoud, Director General of Aspire Logistics, explained what Qatar was doing to ensure they were both capable of hosting such global events, but also encouraging local communities to engage in sports.

“We have learnt that, to be a sports nation, you have to have a sports eco-system, the infrastructure and government commitment,” he said, before going on to discuss the huge expansion of running tracks, cycle routes and sporting venues being built in Qatar.

Swimming legend Mark Spitz, a Nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist, spoke from an athlete’s perspective about what countries had to do to attract the best sports men and women to compete in a country and inspire the population.

He described the importance of top-quality coaches to an athlete, citing his family’s move from Hawaii to northern California so he could link up with Olympic coach George F. Haines when he was 14 as a prime example – and he urged Qatar to do all they could to attract the best in the world.

“During my time swimming in the 70s we were dominant, but the rest of the coaches there took that experience back to other countries and they became dominant, so Qatar can attract the same situation by importing great coaches,” he said.

But in the rush to spend money on the most up-to-date facilities and bringing in world-class talent, Glenn Lovett, President of Global Strategy at Repucom, called for Qatar to remember one word: legacy.

Lovett used the 2012 London Olympics as a prime example of a sporting event designed to inspire and engage for decades rather than just one summer.

“It is about spending your money smartly in facilities which have an ongoing value and can still be used – basically, they won’t be a white elephant.”


Contact DOHA GOALS

Doha GOALS Foundation
Aspire Zone, Sport City
PO BOX: 23833
Doha, Qatar
T: +974-4413-6602 / F: +974-44136800
info@dohagoals.com

Contact RA&A

555 Madison Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10022 USA
P: +1 212 794 8801 | F: +1 212 794 8677
Mail - www.richardattiasassociates.com

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