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Soccer World Cup 1000 Days Away

Posted by {Whale Cottage Camps Bay} on October 3rd, 2007. Categories: {2010 Soccer World Cup}

The milestone 1000 days to the World Cup 2010 was reached two weeks ago. FIFA appears to be satisfied with South Africa’s planning for and progress with the event, and a visit by Franz Beckenbauer, executive FIFA member, and head of Germany’s World Cup, has reinforced this. Beckenbauer was in the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Confederation of African Football. He was quoted in the Cape Argus as saying that:” I am very, very impressed. There is a lot of work facing the people, but everyone is doing an excellent job”. He likened the new Green Point stadium to a mixture of the Berlin and Munich stadia

Green Point Stadium construction site

Photograph: Green Point Stadium construction site

The preliminary 2010 draw will be hosted in Durban on 23 November, and 3 000 FIFA, soccer and 2010 Local Organising Committee delegates are expected to attend.

2010 match tickets can be obtained from as little as R 150 to a maximum of R 3 000 per ticket. An allocation of 15 % of the total number of tickets will be lower priced tickets, for which eligibility will be determined by a lottery.

TELKOM has signed with FIFA as a National Supporter for the World Cup.

Airlines flying in to South Africa for the World Cup will be allocated specific airports at which they must land, depending on where they are coming from. All flights from South American countries and the USA will land at Cape Town International; flights from Europe, the Middle East and the rest of Africa will land at OR Thambo airport in Johannesburg; and flights from Asia and Australia are to land at the new King Shaka International Airport in Durban, says TravelHub. The allocation is to help reduce congestion at OR Thambo airport. Private planes may have to use Lanseria, Grand Central and Rand airport in Johannesburg.

The construction of the new King Shaka airport was approved last month, subject to 80 environmental conditions, reports Business Report. The airport is expected to handle 7,5 million passengers annually on its completion, in time for the World Cup. One of the environmental conditions is that “flight schedules must be planned around the flight times of the swallows.” More than 1,3 million birds are in the area in summer. Chameleons are also to be taken out of bushes before they are cleared for construction.

Project 2010 reports that a recent survey shows that three-quarters of South Africans believe that the World Cup will be good for South Africa in terms of job creation, tourism and the impact on the economy.

Conrad Mayer, Chairman of the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, addressed the ‘Access the Destination’ Workshop on the lessons Munich had learnt as a Host City for the 2006 World Cup. “Even if the high turnover speculations were not fulfilled in some regions of Germany, the World Cup was, above all, a priceless Public Relations success.” he told the tourism industry delegates. More than 2,5 million bednights were sold in Germany at that time, with a 3,4 % average increase in rates. Germany’s GDP rose by 2,4 % over the previous year. The accommodation sector recorded a growth of 8% and the catering industry a 4 % growth. Prices for the World Cup period were set moderately, yet peaked on, during and after matches played in Munich. The ‘right’ accommodation pricing level was a large talking point for Munich hoteliers. In preparation for the World Cup hosting in Munich, four tourism conferences, involving the entire tourism industry, were held to create networking between all service providers. The Munich industry commissioned a survey to define what Bavarian “Gastlichkeit” meant, and then implemented ‘Friendliness Seminars’, to which taxi drivers, policemen and retailers were also invited, briefing participants on dealing with international guests and the media. Mayer’s association compiled an intercultural communications guideline, to assist the industry in understanding, respecting and reflecting specific international guests’ cultures. The association educated its restaurant and bar members about licenses that were needed for public viewing of the matches on their big screens if an entrance fee was charged at such establishments.

During the World Cup 2006, Munich hoteliers found that many of their regular guests stayed away from the city, changing their business and conference visits to before and after the event. In June 2006 the overnight stays decreased by 4 % due to this, despite the World Cup. Direct accommodation bookings for the event were only received six months in advance of the World Cup, for those establishments that had not offered the bulk of their accommodation to FIFA via MATCH. MATCH cancelled 60 % of the rooms it was holding five weeks before the start of the World Cup for the days that were not match days. Variations were experienced in hotel occupancies during the month-long World Cup, falling to as low as 19 %, depending on the scheduling of matches in Munich. Given an excellent June 2005, some Munich hotels experienced a decline in turnover in June 2006 relative to the year before. However, many hotels made this up with improved turnovers in May and July, with displaced business.

Munich welcomed more visitors from the USA than from any other country during World Cup 2006, followed by Italy and the UK. Visitor numbers from South American countries, Central America and the USA increased considerably in Munich, and this is seen to have long-term tourism benefits.

A German branding expert and author of “Brand Ovation”, visiting the country this month, was Nikolaus Ebert, who said that Germany won the World Cup 2006 in terms of the improvement of its brand value, now ranking second on the Nation Brand Index. The event turned around Germany’s sagging economy, changed the mood of Germans and made Germany an attractive tourism destination. He advised South Africa to have an objective of how it wanted the world to perceive the county, particularly given that South Africa has slipped from 22nd to 33rd position on the same Index, reports the Cape Argus. He attributed the slide in the country’s standing to perceptions about crime and HIV/AIDS.

Dr Laurine Platzky, Deputy Director-General in the Western Cape provincial government, warned the industry at the ‘Access the Destination’ workshop that Cape Town would lose some special FIFA privileges if it did not get enough rooms signed up by MATCH. A Fan Park is planned for the Grand Parade in the Cape Town city centre, and a Fan Mile will stretch from the Grand Parade to the stadium in Green Point. Third Party Public Viewing is planned for Philippi, Athlone and the V & A Waterfront. Platzky estimated that up to 40 000 British supporters, and about 30 000 Italian and 30 000 German supporters can be expected.

The tourism sector is professional and well-prepared, and leading 2010 preparations, Moeketsi Mosola, CEO of South African Tourism, told the ‘Access the Destination’ workshop. He said that the event is opening the skies to airlines increasing their flights to South Africa. Emirates is starting a direct flight to Cape Town from January 2008. SA Tourism has a detailed Tourism Plan for 2010, the objective of which is a world-class 2010 African event, which will lead to job creation, GDP growth and is to transform the nation, Mosola said.. While ‘Brand South Africa” is set to benefit from the event, Mosola said that other African countries will be incorporated into the event. Programmes that S A Tourism is working on for 2010 include marketing the country via packages linked to MATCH, increasing the number of graded establishments, addressing service levels, creating an event and attractions database, clean Host Cities, hygiene standards of restaurants, public transport, and a national safety plan. Close to 450 000 international visitors are expected for World Cup 2010, while the tourism industry income is estimated at R 11 billion.

The MATCH contract for Smaller non-Hotel Accommodation for World Cup 2010 has been amended, in order to attract more Guest Houses, Bed & Breakfasts and Self-Catering establishments to provide accommodation for 2010. It is the first time in FIFA’s history that a separate contract has been drawn up for smaller accommodation establishments. The biggest change is that MATCH will add its booking fee on top of the establishment’s net 2010 rate, the latter rate calculated by a prescribed 16% of the 2007 rate. The original 30 % commission MATCH wished to take out of the establishments’ net rate was a major deterrent to the smaller accommodation segment signing with MATCH. The cancellation terms have also become a little more palatable. However, the amended MATCH contract still has problems, in that it specifies that the basis for the calculation of the 2010 rate must be the June/July 2007 rate. This rate base has now been altered, to allow establishments to use the summer 2007 rate, but the contract has not been altered to reflect this change. Whilst stating that it is adding 30 % to the establishment’s 2010 rate to calculate the rate it will charge soccer guests, MATCH in fact is adding a 43 % booking fee to the rate of each establishment, which could create perceptions that the South African accommodation industry is opportunistically priced, when it is in fact the hefty MATCH fee that will create this perception. The contract also states that MATCH will not have to refund the “taxes” when it pays cancellation fees, meaning that establishments lose a further 14 % to VAT. This is felt to be illegal, and MATCH will have to communicate to the industry what exactly it means by “taxes” it plans to withhold. Overall the MATCH contract places all rights and benefits with MATCH, and very little other than rates with the accommodation establishments.

In a MATCH “Frequently Asked Questions” booklet, it states that MATCH is looking for 55 000 rooms for World Cup 2010. These will be used to accommodate FIFA delegates, VIP’s, Local Organising Committee delegates, referees, sponsors, the media, and soccer fans buying match ticket and accommodation packages via MATCH. The booklet also prescribes the accommodation requirements of each of these MATCH client categories, and the fact that most of them require 24 hour service means that the bulk of the MATCH accommodation will go to 5-star establishments. Only the individual soccer fans do not have the service specification, and therefore can be accommodated by smaller establishments. Interestingly, the service requirements are not written into the MATCH contract.

The South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has called for “proper public transport” for 2010. Its Western Cape chairman Vernon Kirsten is looking for “effective transport between the airport and the central business district.” “We must think innovatively and find a solution,” he said. He was also critical of ACSA, in that it does not consult with the tourism industry when it plans extensions and improvements to the airport, “as it is in everyone’s interest that these are the best possible” he added. The long lead times of issuing transport operators with permits, in some instances up to two years, should also be addressed, he said.

At least eight new hotels are being built in Cape Town to capitalise on 2010, and include the Taj hotel on St George’s Mall; 15 on Orange; Express by Holiday Inn, also on St George’s Mall;  One & Only in the V & A Waterfront; two further hotels in the Waterfront; and another alongside the Convention Centre. Cape Town is estimated to have 1 500 accommodation establishments already, with about 50 000 rooms in total, reports the Weekend Argus. The number of rooms in Cape Town is expected to more than double to 120 000 by 2010.

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