2010 World Cup: the cost debate

By admin
26 February 2010

How time flies - we’ve reached the symbolic 100 days-to-go marker in the countdown to the 2010 Fifa World Cup kickoff. And most South Africans seem proud of the buzz around the world’s biggest sport tournament and our imposing stadiums.

The Swart family of Brackenfell, Cape Town, are among them. After reading in YOU about the need for 2010 volunteers they wanted to be part of it all, furniture store owner Reinhold Swart says. So he, wife Fransonette and children Sonika and Rikus travelled more than 8 000 km in 20 days to admire the stadiums.

“Stand in front of those stadiums and all negativity will vanish like mist in the morning sun,” Reinhold says.

Unfortunately not everyone shares their enthusiasm. There are mutters about inflated prices for accommodation, flights, packages for overseas visitors and tickets for local enthusiasts.

Do South Africans have cause for concern? What if people don’t come in their expected numbers? How expensive is it really to get here and attend some of the matches?

Cash constraints, expensive flights, steep hotel rates, inadequate local transportation, uncertainty about safety and winter weather have dampened interest in the World Cup even among England’s most passionate fans, Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters’ Association in Britain has said.

Fifa recently made more tickets in the cheapest category available to South Africans and secretary-general Jerome Valcke asked airlines and travel agencies not to greedily hike prices.

“As far as ticket prices go this World Cup is 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than the last one,” SA Tourism’s global events manager, Sugen Pillay, Pillay says.

When events such as this take place prices go up in any country; it’s purely supply and demand, he says. It happened with accommodation and flight prices in Germany in 2006 and Beijing in 2008. But, he says, don’t charge too much for what you’re offering because if SA is seen as an expensive destination we won’t reap the long-term rewards of 2010.

* Read more in the latest issue of YOU.

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