Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year- World Cup 2010- don't spoil it!

2010 is upon us and suddenly the prospect of South Africa hosting the soccer World Cup in 2010 is no longer a distant dream opportunity but it is almost upon us. For many involved either directly, such as in the provision of affordable World Cup accommodation, or indirectly ; there is the hope that this may lead us out of the economic recession that was the mark of a difficult 2009. We hope, however, that all concerned in any way will be responsible in their approach to the many fans and visitors that we optimistically expect.
Travel blogs, websites and fan sites abound with the optimism of private homeowners seeking to make a fortune by letting out their homes. Undoubtedly those with homes in the vicinity of any of the stadia will be able to cash in on the opportunity, but they will not constitute a significant number of rooms.
I have been concerned at the number of reports in overseas press and websites that are creating the concern that enthusiastic fans and visitors are going to be ripped off during this momentous event. Some European websites are even urging overseas fans to stay at home and watch the matches on the TV. This is terrible news for any of us in the tourist and travel industry who realise that the world cup matches are not the culmination of an opportunity, but merely the beginning. This is a wonderful chance for us to showcase our beautiful country as an affordable destination to hundreds of millions of viewers all over the world, during that coming magic month. We want friends and visitors to go back and enthusiastically tell both friends and family how great it was and encourage others to visit- the tools at the disposal of these visitors such as the social networks, U tube and the like make them ambassadors and publicists in a way that no paid advertising could ever do. When providing World Cup 2010 accommodation we hope that guest houses, B n’ B’s, lodges and the like-accommodation providers outside of the hotel sector- will heed the call of many to limit the prices being charged to no more than the usual holiday season rates.
There was a very adverse report in the British newspaper the Telegraph, which stated that

British visitors to South Africa during the World Cup next June could have to pay five times the usual rate for a hotel room. Hoteliers, official accommodation agents and tour operators are all taking advantage of the limited availability during the five-week tournament.”

They claimed that research had shown that visitors would expect increases in hotel rates of up to 480%. Of course, like all the sensationalist journalism, the comparison had been made not with the normal hotel holiday rates but with the lowest published off-season rates and, as everyone knows, in the depths of winter the rates are much lower to attract custom. Nevertheless this influential newspaper as well as the tabloid, The Daily Mirror are not doing any service to us by publishing this sort of report. The daily Mirror reported that “ Match Event Services, part-owned by a British firm based in Manchester, was expected to block-book 55 000 hotel rooms for the tournament in June.” “They would then take 30 percent commission, which is a huge amount. The norm is 10 percent and at most 20 percent for operators with whom one has done business for a long time,”.
Delia Fischer, a spokeswoman for Fifa, has admitted that Match, the official accommodation agent, is adding commissions of up to 30 per cent on all bookings, but she blames the rises on increased demand.
"There will be some difference between the prices charged in the normal off-season and what hotels may be charging next June," she said. "All the Match-approved hotels will be charging their high-season rates and a 30 per cent commission is quite standard."
If you are a if football fan from overseas reading this you may have been informed that Match has not been able to secure the 55,000 rooms that it set out to contract with accommodation providers; please be assured that this does not mean that there will be a shortage of accommodation or that you will have to be content with paying exorbitant charges. There is plenty of accommodation available in Cape Town which will be provided by the many privately run and owned accommodation establishments all of which are experienced in dealing with overseas guests, many of whom are Star Graded for your protection. Many of these chose not to contract their rooms to Match but to deal with guests looking for value for money accompanied by excellent accommodation directly, and you would be advised to look to this sector.
The Internet has all but replaced travel agents, and has empowered everyone with access to a computer to do thorough research and make their choices. We urge all our visitors to use these means to locate affordable World Cup 2010 accommodation. You are also invited to review some of our earlier posts for more information that will help you find an ideal combination of quality, comfort and price
Most of all we wish you a prosperous and peaceful New Year and hope that your New Year resolution is to make the African World Cup 2010 a success in every way

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