Sep 27

The World Cup is a Tourism thing

Are we about to commit a massive own goal? Have we, through stupid shortsighted greed, given ourselves the ultimate red card?

This is not going to be another of those World Cup articles, this is actually going to be, in part at least, a factual look at some of the things we have done or are doing and how that may limit the massive potential the world’s largest sporting event may have on SA in June – July.

This is also not an anti FIFA tirade, although they may be charged with being an accessory “before” the fact. No, this is just a note to say to people; wake up, smell the roses, see the medium to long term potential and don’t kill the goose that lays the Golden Egg’s!

Ask yourselves at this point, what single thing has the World Cup got most to offer? The answer has to be an audience of two billion watching a one month TV advert on SA. It’s a tourism thing, plain and simple! So what is the last thing you should do, especially if you have spent R20billion of tax payer’s money, on a one month worldwide TV advert? Answer – alienate the tourists before, during, or after the event itself!

I am a Pom and I think I know something about football. I know how soccer fans and normal guys think and they are the people we want to attract from around the world to make up 90% of the visitors.

Soccer fans are not middle class Rugger Buggers, but they will have mates who experienced the World Cup Cricket in the West Indies, which was a disaster! Why was it so bad, well it forced the guys to travel expensively around to different locations and then they were further ripped off by hotels and bars everywhere! So let SA beware, do you think those cricket fans are good adverts for the West Indies today, quite the contrary!

So as Match and FIFA hand back all their Kruger Park accommodation, because allegedly some wanted eight times their normal rates, look at this simple info which I feel amounts to profiteering!

You and I can fly return with SAA (an airline funded on tax payer funds) fromCape Town to Joburg, or Cape Town to Durban on 4th May 2010 for R2,010 or R1,540 respectively, not bad eh? So will you be flying the same flights on 4th July 2010, while the World Cup is on? If so you will have to pay R7,280 for either of these tickets! This is a 260% or 370% rip off, what are they thinking?

In the same vein, we could fly from Cape Town to London on 1st April for R9,160. So will you be flying that route on 1st July for R13,600, that’s a 48% penalty.

The average person in the UK believes they can fly to SA for £750 economy return. So when they find out the price of an internal flight, for one match only, is the same amount they will,

A) Rush out to book or B) Laugh, check on their Sky subscription, get the beers in and organize the boys around for a barbeque? Don’t forget its Europe’s summer, our winter!

We need to react now, kill off the image of greed being shown by TV stations around the world and play the decent hosts. Playing the games all over SA was a stupid FIFA idea, it may work in Europe where the visitors are locals, SA should have insisted on all group games being based in one place, people are travelling far enough just to get here!

As it is, the boys may arrive but I think it will be for shorter trips during the Knock Out phase, that’s three tickets and possibly two flights, certainly not in the visitor numbers predicted, numbers already slashed by nearly 70% by FIFA from 450,000 to 150,000!

Let’s stop, think and start planning to be great hosts, our pay back will be over the next ten years rather than what can be grabbed in one month!

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