Psychotherapist Hussam Nabil is best known for tabling a new approach to mental wellness in 2020 – but his expertise goes beyond that.
With a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Cairo University, Nabil has a long history in the promotion and organization of sporting events. Just four years after graduating in 2000, he had already been promoted several times to become marketing director of Al-Sadd sports club in Qatar.
His unique qualifications and ability to learn quickly were the springboard for earning a Masters in Sports Management from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Back in Qatar, he got involved in the organization of major international sporting events.
Nabil’s experience in sports, combined with a successful career as a psychotherapist, multicultural education and enthusiasm for politics and economics, places him among Egypt’s top experts in sports tourism marketing.
Based on your experience in managing sport, what does sport mean to people?
People have used sport since the beginning of history to build community, for entertainment and to release energy. Sport is a way for people to express their physique and to enjoy competition in a non-violent way. Some even go so far as to say that sport is a peaceful substitute for war.
It is important to distinguish between playing sports and watching sports. With this in mind, sport generally refers to any form of physical activity or competitive play that aims to use, maintain or improve physical abilities and skills, while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment. to spectators.
How does this impact them psychologically?
Physical exercise can have a major impact on the quality of life. It has significant mental health benefits and provides self-esteem, teamwork skills, and a close community of peers and support groups.
What is the psychological impact of playing a sport or participating in fan bases as an individual or in a group?
Exercise has a positive impact on the levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mental health. It also stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural “happiness chemicals”. In addition, physical activity also stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which improves mood. On the other hand, levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease when we exercise.
People who develop athletic competence feel more positive about their bodies and physical abilities, thereby improving their self-esteem. When we exercise, we are distracted from stressful and negative thoughts and sleep better at night, which is essential for maintaining mental health.
What is your view on the organization of international sports tournaments by Egypt?
By seizing the opportunities to host major international sporting events, Egypt will be able to attract fans and enthusiasts from all over the world, who, with their purchasing power, will allow Egypt to cover the necessary investments that it has. achieved, and also to start a source of income from other benefits obtained. It also attracts foreign direct investment and strengthens Egypt’s profile on the international stage.
In addition, a positive impact comes in the form of social and cultural developments. To host such events, the country must synergize its efforts and maintain a required level of unity that strengthens the capacities of people operationally and organizationally.
Additionally, with increased media coverage and large groups of journalists documenting their time during the events, the cultural and social norms of the country are made public, allowing Egypt to benefit from a free public relations and publicity campaign. costs. Likewise, with the events and competitions watched by a large international audience, the country’s image is greatly enhanced.
However, the organization of these events can also have a negative impact. The seemingly large funds and elaborate shows that accompany such events have shaken up some sectors of society in the past, and sometimes media attention focuses on the negative impacts, so we have to be careful.
The Brazilian government had to contend with protests that could have turned violent as it prepared to host the World Cup and the Olympics, while China was thrown into the spotlight during the Olympics when stories broke. disclosed about 1 million Beijing residents who were displaced during the events. Another example is the negative coverage Qatar has received about the working conditions of the construction workers who build the World Cup facilities.
Is there sports tourism? How to develop it?
Sports tourism is defined as the trip of an individual to a place for the specific purpose of participating in or attending a sporting event. This segment is the fastest growing segment in the travel industry today. It could range from a retired senior couples tennis tournament to a kids’ soccer team heading to Sharm El Sheikh for a soccer tournament, to a weekend getaway in March to see Al- Ahly confront Al-Ittihad Al-Sakandary in Alexandria. .
Sports tourism can be divided into five categories: Sports participation; Sport events; Sports training; Luxury sports tourism; and Tourism with sports content.
Whatever the reason sports tourists travel, their presence has become very lucrative. Youth sport tourism, a subset of sport tourism, is growing at a particularly rapid rate, with Wintergreen Research Inc valuing the youth sport tourism industry at $ 15.8 billion in the United States and forecast that ‘it will double in size over the next few years.
Why do you think Sports Tourism is important?
This type of tourism brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to a specific location. These people need to eat, and they need places to stay and stores to shop. This means more money for hotels, restaurants, sports facilities and gift shops.
Sport tourism helps communities build an identity that can attract visitors who, over time, can become residents. In 2004, for example, the town of Round Rock, Texas launched a campaign to market itself as the “Sports Capital of Texas”. Today, the Round Rock Sports Center and Round Rock Multipurpose Complex hosted a myriad of events, including the United States National Collegiate Women’s Lacrosse Championship, the United States Quidditch Cup, the National Judo Championship. of the United States and the UIL Baseball Championship.
What do we need in Egypt to increase these activities and raise awareness of their importance?
Egypt needs to start with a vision and quickly understand the opportunities in different communities. If location, market demand, and other factors are favored, cities of all sizes can reap the economic development benefits generated by sports tourism.
Egypt must determine the vision for a proposed sports complex and define success, and must think about what type of complex is sought. It is one thing to try to attract sports tourism to Hurghada than to the new administrative capital or to attract regional or national events. From there, it is essential to determine what success looks like for each community. For many communities, the economic impact is crucial.
A feasibility report provides an analysis of the factors that may affect a proposed facility. This includes an assessment of comparable sites nearby and an analysis of the demographics of the area. Reports should include preliminary estimates of construction and start-up costs, a detailed five-year financial forecast based on options for what a facility can offer, and an economic impact analysis.
Sports complexes cannot be built without funding. A financial forecast provides a clear picture for banks, and other potential funding partners, of a project’s capacity and timeframe to meet its goals.
Once the funding is in place, all phases of facility development can begin. This includes operational tasks such as the selection and development of personnel, the branding and marketing of the facilities, the organization of events and sponsors, and most importantly, the construction of the complex. We also have a strong need in Egypt to adopt best practices in sports branding and marketing.
Egypt already has world-class sports facilities and complexes that remain vacant 90% of the year because no one knows they exist! Think of the stadium complex in Cairo. Aside from the 20 games that are played at the stadium each year, we have this colossal complex idle, draining the budget and making no money!
How are players psychologically impacted after seeing, competing and playing with world champions?
Typically, top performing athletes and people approach big events and competitions in a completely different way than athletes and people who fail. For most people, the thought of competing with someone better or more experienced than them terrifies them.
For top performing athletes and individuals, this prospect invigorates them and makes them excited. They find it fun and interesting, and they adopt a posture where they feel giddy and want to learn from the experience, rather than feeling terrified and stressed.