TENACITY, courage and commitment have been displayed by the Southern Kings during the Super 15 Rugby tournament, and I commend them. Through a daunting task they have shown the world what "heart and gees" is able to achieve, which is synonymous with their home city, Port Elizabeth.
Despite no longer being in the Super Rugby tournament they have done us proud on so many levels on and off the field, and this in turn calls for us as a destination and its people not to cease but instead increase and continue undying support.
The fact that they managed to rank with and stand their own ground among some of the top rugby teams has shown that the newcomers can hold their own and should pay testament to the fact that they are worthy to return to Super Rugby in the near future. Port Elizabethans and people from the Eastern Cape united as they supported a local team which brought people together with one common goal.
In addition the economic benefits have had tremendous impact and positive spin-offs with regard to tourism, job creation and destination awareness. The international coverage on SuperSport has resulted in extensive coverage for Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape.
At the conclusion of this year's season the cumulative viewership total was a massive 43844791 over 20 rounds and five finals series matches. With an average of 350758 per match over 125 matches, Nelson Mandela gained massive exposure.
This being the first year of participation it was a great achievement when the games played in Nelson Mandela Bay had the third best stadium attendance overall with an average of 32000.
The Southern Kings have not only created an impact on the economy through tourism, events and job creation, but also become role models for our youth and the opportunities of development programmes available. For this we thank you, Southern Kings, and wish to remind you that we are 100% behind you.
The city and the people wholeheartedly support you for the future challenges and in Absa Currie Cup.
Mandlakazi Skefile, chief executive, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism