2010 WORLD CUP: Cape Town To Benefit Most
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The current lack of accommodation in 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities such as Durban and Bloemfontein will add to the growing trend of overseas sports fans basing themselves in Cape Town and ‘commuting’ to games in other regions during the tournament. Recent reports in the British media highlighting these regional shortages during the British & Irish Lions rugby tour have increased Cape Town’s standing as the global soccer tournaments premier tourist destination.
This is according to David Solomon, Chairman of Solomon Brothers Property Holdings and developer of Pepper Club - a R400 million five star luxury hotel and spa set to open its doors in Cape Town in February 2010.
“The construction of new five star hotels around the city is an indication that Cape Town is positioning itself to take advantage of the predicted exponential growth in the local tourism industry. Our increased booking enquiries have indicated that we are already benefiting from the shortages in smaller host cities and that Cape Town is in pole position to attract the majority of the expected 450 000 visitors.”
FIFA, world football’s governing body, has estimated that approximately 55 000 hotel rooms will be required for the duration of the tournament - 15 000 more than is currently available.
According to many airline charter companies, though they have been significantly affected by the global downturn, bookings for return flights out of Cape Town significantly increased during the staging of the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) and British & Irish Lions tour and are expected to spike again during the soccer tournament. “Many of our guests booked for the 2010 World Cup, predominately from Brazil and Mexico, have already enquired about charter flight options,” says Solomon.
“The recent six-week tour by the British & Irish Lions was a tremendous boost to Cape Town’s tourism revenue which made up a significant portion of the tour’s estimated R1-billion national revenue. All of this and the region did not even host an official test match.”
Solomon cites a combination of factors such as world-class beaches, ample tourist attractions such as the winelands and Table Mountain, and cosmopolitan night life, for enhancing the global appeal of Cape Town, when compared to other 2010 host cities.
With increased accommodation options in the city around the time of the tournament, Solomon says that Cape Town is also best placed to take advantage of so-called ‘last-minute travellers’. “This is an emerging trend whereby overseas tourists fly in for a single game and return home in the space of a couple of days, as opposed to staying for a few weeks. Next year’s tournament is predicted to have the highest number of this type of tourist than any previous World Cups.
“Many Cape hotel owners are thinking beyond 2010 and capturing and hosting the largest share of tourists during the tournament will ultimately increase the probability of return-visits to the city,” concludes Solomon.
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