Moses Mabhida seats selling slowly as hotels prepare to host four teams

2013-01-16 00:00

FOUR of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) teams being hosted by Durban for the group stages of the tournament jet into the city on Sunday.

The Witness has established that Bafana Bafana, Cape Verde, Morocco, and Angola will be booked into hotels on the Golden Mile and in Umhlanga.

The home team would stay at Southern Sun Elangeni, said Vusi Mazibuko, head of Afcon Durban host city.

He also confirmed that Angola and Morocco would be booked in to the Garden Courts in North Beach and Umhlanga respectively, while Cape Verde has secured Protea Hotel in Umhlanga. None of the hotels would confirm details, citing security as a reason.

But Mike Jackson, director of operations at Tsogo Sun, which owns the Elangeni and Garden Court, said some of their hotels were being used. He said the tournament was coming to Durban at a time when hotels were typically quiet, with low occupancy rates from January 10 to February 10.

“Some hotels in Durban will be hosting teams, and others will host officials and supporter groups. Supporter group inquiries have started coming through, and while a bit slow, we are hoping that the hospitality sector will see a last-minute scramble for rooms by supporters.”

Ticket sales have been slow, although there are signs interest is peaking. Marketing of the event has also been muted, compared to the frenzy of Fifa World Cup 2010.

Mazibuko said the city was confident it would reach its target of selling 40 000 tickets for each game.

By Sunday, the match between Angola and Bafana Bafana had sold about 20 000 tickets, while the game between Morocco and the home side had sold 10 000.

About 200 tickets a day were being sold by Sunday, and since Monday that figure had risen to 500.

Andrew Layman, chief executive of the Durban Business Chamber, said the business community was thrilled to have a major event taking place in the city.

“These people will spend money here. Already, organisers have spent a good deal of money in city hotels. It is also taxis, restaurants and traders who benefit from high-profile events that result in an influx of visitors.”

Layman said it was essential for the city to have a reputation for hosting major events because they brought media exposure and the private sector reaped the rewards.

“However, the public sector’s role must be to nurture an environment in which business can prosper. Prosperous business means more job creation, a more vibrant economy which attracts new investment, and less demand on the ratepayers,” he said.

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