Over 6000 non-hotel rooms for World Cup

Posted On Tuesday, 27 November 2007 02:00 Published by
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More than 6,000 non-hotel rooms and 22,000 hotel rooms have been identified to accommodate visitors during the 2010 soccer world cup

More than 6,000 non-hotel rooms and 22,000 hotel rooms have been identified to accommodate visitors during the 2010 soccer world cup, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Monday.

Van Schalkwyk was speaking at the launch of Fifa's Tour Operator Programme after the launch of the Soccerex exhibition in Sandton.

"We set ourselves a minimum target of 10,000 non-hotel rooms to be signed up by May 2008. I am certain that we will exceed the 10,000 mark long before May next year," he said, adding that a further 6000 rooms were in the process of being contracted and that the numbers grew daily.

"These contracted rooms are located across the country, with the largest concentration being in KwaZulu-Natal currently."

To date, 157 hotel rooms had been contracted in Botswana and 329 in Swaziland. Of the 6,000 non-hotel rooms identified, 1000 had been contracted to SA National Parks.

Van Schalkwyk said bed and breakfast and guest house accommodation had "taken off" in townships and that it was important for this to be recognised.

His department was in partnership with MATCH, the company contracted by Fifa to handle the management, accommodation, ticketing, computer solutions and hospitality for the event.

MATCH's senior operations officer Mahandra Naidoo said around 80 non-hotel rooms had been contracted in Soweto.

Mike Bobby, the owner of the Kwa-Eden accommodation and conferencing venue in Meredale, south of Johannesburg, questioned the benefits of being contracted to MATCH.

"What benefits are there really? For the bigger hotels it's a plus," he said.

Bobby, speaking from his government subsidised exhibition stand, said it was not feasible for guest houses with less than 10 rooms to be affiliated with MATCH as they could not afford to turn away regular clientele.

David Will, the chairman of Fifa's ticketing sub-committee, said 350,000 of around three million World Cup tickets would be made available to 160 Fifa-authorised tour operators worldwide.

He said 120,000 free tickets would be given to South Africans who could not afford the fixed 20 dollar category four tickets.

There would be four categories of tickets sold for the World Cup, with category one tickets being the premier tickets.

Will said the exact number of tickets would be decided seven months before the date of "kick-off", once all stadiums had been completed.

Between 2.8 and 3.1 million tickets would be on sale from February 2009.

About 400,000 foreigners were expected to attend.

Earlier on Monday, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa told delegates and media at the official opening of the soccer business convention that South Africa would be ready for 2010.

The country was on track with the planned infrastructure development, and that it was "now up to the coach".

Shilowa said the country was proud to host the Soccerex 2007 to 2009 convention.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter officially declared the convention open on Monday.

"It is a unique occasion for delegates as well as exhibitors to show products and services in support of another successful Fifa World Cup," said Blatter.

He said there were 260 million players in football.

"[And] more than 1 billion people directly or indirectly involved... this is the market we can offer you.

"We at Fifa, we trust South Africa," said Blatter, adding that it was a big adventure not only for South Africa but for the African continent.

Soccerex -- which was previously hosted in Dubai -- saw more than 5000 delegates walk through its doors on Monday and over 300 exhibitors set up stands.

Gauteng sports MEC Barbara Creecy said 16 smaller enterprises had also been subsidised by the provincial government to exhibit at Soccerex.

"[It is to] enable those who might not be able to afford the economic cost to come here on a subsidy," she said.

Bobby for Kwa-Eden was one such exhibitor and he said the exposure he had received by the end of the first day of Soccerex was promising.

He said the subsidy proved that government had the "insight" and "faith" in entrepreneurs.

"It is an opportunity to meet the international and local market," he said.

Another subsidised exhibitor, Palesa Moletsane, said she did not know what to expect from the event but so far it had been "quite amazing".

"The interest from people is so lovely. They are like sponges who want to be fed. The exposure and platform is awesome," she said.

Sipho Tshabalala, director of Phumele Tours & Transfers, said his company had already received exposure from Fifa as it handled a number of the Fifa and MATCH officials' transfers.

Tshabalala said, with a subsidy, he had paid around R35,000 to exhibit at Soccerex. The price included two delegate passes. Additional passes cost 800 pounds each.

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Sapa


Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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