South African hotels and hostels are set to raise their prices by as much as 300% during the World Cup. They see the world’s biggest sporting event as a great opportunity to rake in massive amounts of cash at the expense of those visiting their country to support their team.
It is not unusual for the hosts and organisers of major sporting events to try to make money out of those who would otherwise not be visiting the location involved. This is particularly true if the visitors happen to be coming from much richer countries with wallets laden with cash. This is the case for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, yet with one crucial difference: prices will not be slightly higher for accommodation; they will be sometimes three times as much.
Experts are placing blame not on South African hoteliers but on a British-based company which has struck up an exclusive deal with FIFA to arrange hospitality packages. This not only means that the average football fan will not be in South Africa, leaving random competition winners to watch their teams, if they have one, yet also means that most available rooms have already been snapped up. It has been estimated that the deal accounts for 80% of rooms around the venues, leading to astronomical price rises in the remaining 20%.
It is thought that the mad prices are, for instance, putting English fans from travelling to South Africa. There were 200,000 English fans at the last World Cup, whereas 25,000 are expected to turn up this time. Other factors that may explain the decline in attendance of the FIFA World Cup 20120 in South Africa include the fear over safety, long distance, high travelling expenses and uncertainty. Accommodation prices, however, are at the forefront of many English fans decisions to stay at home.
South African hotel owners, restaurateurs and tourist officials must have been licking their lips and stroking their wallets when their country was chosen to host the 2010 World Cup. It must have come as a huge bonus to the country, which has endured an array of problems with poverty, crime and political tension in the past. Investment plans were made to prepare for the June 2010 event and hotels underwent refurbishment. Nevertheless, it now appears that the invested cash is unlikely to come back with interest.
It has now been predicted that 220,000 non-South African tourists will come to the World Cup: just over half the original figure. A further problem is imposed by the fact that it appears that many of the tourists will come from outside of Europe and North America. In other words, they will be budget tourists from African or South American countries. It appears that less money will be spent and the profits will be much lower than expected.
The economic climate in Europe is still fragile and football fans may be tempted to save their Pounds and Euros by watching the event at home. After all, South Africa is hardly just around the corner. They may simply invest in a bigger TV and appease the family with a shorter break somewhere else. South Africa should, however, concentrate on enhancing its reputation despite the bad news about visitors. The real benefit of the World Cup is a long-term one, not just a short-term quick win for caterers and hotel managers.
A Tourism-Review.Com Article