The head of the local organising committee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup has appealed for “fair pricing” by South Africa’s hospitality and services sectors for the duration of the month-long tournament, which will kick off at Soccer City on June 11 next year, so as not to undermine the country’s long-term tourism-growth aspirations.
Speaking at a Star-Safmarine business breakfast in Johannesburg on Thursday, Danny Jordaan underlined tourism growth as a key potential World Cup legacy and said the event should be seen as part of a larger strategy to elevate tourist numbers to the 19-million-a-year target by 2015.
But he cautioned that South Africans should not seek to profiteer and should also resist the temptation of seeing the tournament as a one-off windfall, as had so often been the case at other major sporting events that have taken place internationally.
He warned, for instance, that if the price of a room “suddenly jumps by 500%”, it would undermine the image of the country and touring fans would also be far less likely to return, or to suggest South Africa as a destination that should be visited by their friends and family.
“We want 10-million tourists by 2010,” Jordaan said, indicating that tournament organisers were still aiming to attract 450 000 visitors as a direct spin-off from the event, despite the economic meltdown. This was an ambitious target, considering that the Sydney Olympics attracted 284 000 people, while co-hosts Japan and Korea attracted only 279 000.
In 2008, 9,1-million tourists visited South Africa, rounding off a solid four-year growth cycle that saw the number of tourists rise by an average of 1,1-million a year since 2004.
“One of the outcomes of this World Cup must be a major influx of tourists from new markets,” Jordaan asserted, noting that the 32 participating teams would expose their respective populations to South Africa as a potential holiday and business destination.
‘PLAN B’ IS DEAD
Jordaan also, once again, proclaimed the much-speculated ‘Plan B’ as officially dead.
He said that all the stadiums would be completed by the end of the year, which was well in advance of the experience of previous hosts, such as Germany and South Korea.
“So, buy your tickets, forget about plan B.
“If you think you are going to go to Australia, you can think about 2022.
“If you think you are going to watch the World Cup in England, or the US, or anywhere else, you can look to 2018.
“2010 is happening here and this is our World Cup,” Jordaan concluded.