Jozi's mixed Cup fortunes

Johannesburg - Guesthouses in and around Johannesburg have had mixed fortunes since the beginning of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Those in Soweto are smiling all the way to the bank as tourists pour in to experience the township.

Paula Majola, who runs Ekhaya Guesthouse in Orlando West opposite the house of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, says business has increased by 40% since the start of the World Cup. "The biggest drawcard for my business is the Tutu house, as some of the tourists have a chance of bumping into the old man when he is in the neighbourhood."
 
Tutu's house is located on Vilakazi Street, just a few houses away from where Nelson Mandela used to live.

Majola has experienced a spike in profits despite not being contracted to Match, a FIFA company that markets local businesses internationally during the tournament.
 
On average, each tourist spends four days in the five-bedroom, two-star guesthouse.

Rose Molonyeni, owner of The Rose Bed and Breakfast in the Tutu and Mandela neighbourhood, has also experienced a profitable winter with a higher number of foreign clients. She says: "The World Cup has been very good to me as my revenue has increased by 90%."
 
In the week Bafana Bafana played Mexico, her six-bedroom guesthouse was fully occupied and her guests asked her to install an extra bed.

Mookho Lebelo's Mookho's Bed and Breakfast in Pimville is also getting more customers. Lebelo says: "Though business has increased by 50%, I am not too excited because this event is only running for a month."

Mookho's guesthouse is 2km away from Freedom Square, Kliptown, where the Freedom Charter was signed.

Even larger accommodation providers are enjoying a good season.

Lindiwe Sangweni, general manager of The Soweto Hotel on Freedom Square, says: "We have been running at 100% occupancy during most days of the tournament, especially when the games are played at Ellis Park or Soccer City. But that number drops to 80% when games are played outside of Johannesburg."

However, businesses operating in some suburbs were not happy.

Ethel Williams-Abrahamse, founder of Troyeville and Kensington Fan Village, an organisation that supplies travel and hospitality information to tourists, says guesthouses and hotels in the area have been quiet. "What we have noticed is that most of the tour operators are only taking foreigners to Soweto and Sandton."
 
She says accommodation businesses in the area are only busy when matches are played at Ellis Park.

Making a killing

Nevertheless, upmarket hotels are making a killing.

According to Wayne Hill, general manager of hotels and resort operations at Emperors Palace,"An increase in bookings has been noted in our three- and four-star hotels. Bookings at our five-star D'Oreale Grande Hotel have remained flat but above 90%.

"However, the Peermont Metcourt and Metcourt Suites, both three-star, climbed to above 95% (up 7%) and the four-star Peermont Mondior climbed to 90% (up 5%)."

Legacy Hotels and Resorts marketing director Brian Davidson says: "In comparison to a normal year, there has been a vast increase in the number of overseas guests for the World Cup. This is most welcome because winter is traditionally our low season."

Davidson said statistics on tourists who stayed at Legacy hotels, which include the Michelangelo and Raphael penthouse suites in Sandton, would only be available after the tournament.

 - City Press
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