The city of Johannesburg is confident that its infrastructure is more than adequate to provide a hospitable stay for the expected throngs of people during the Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.

“Our various projects and infrastructure programmes are on course for a scheduled completion,” Johannesburg 2010 office executive director Sibongile Mazibuko said at the Tourism Indaba 2009 in Durban.

Global Event Management has been awarded a five-year contract to manage the Soccer City stadium.

“The contract has an option to renew, includes access for the community to use the stadium for social events and has a performance-based scorecard. We opted for a professional company, as opposed to a municipal manager, to manage the 94 000 capacity stadium because we it is a huge investment and we want to take advantage of the asset,” added Mazibuko.

Soccer City is scheduled to be completed in July.

She added that a decision to appoint a facility manager for the Orlando stadium in Soweto is “in the pipeline as the city is busy with a consultation process with the nearby communities”.

Premier Soccer League teams Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Moroka Swallows have shown interest in using the stadium for their home matches.

The transportation system is being optimised through various road and railway upgrades.

“The Bus Rapid Transit system will be used during the Confederations Cup, pending the buy-in of the taxi industry, which needs clarity on how operators will benefit from the operational process.

Mazibuko stressed the importance of the city‘s readiness to host the Confederations Cup this year and the World Cup next year.

“Johannesburg is a megacity and we are the biggest of the hosts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We are expecting more people to stay here, which brings into question issues of accommodation, safety and transport. As matters stand, there are 135 hotels (6 628 beds) and more than 250 nonhotels (981 beds) coupled with various small, medium-sized and macro enterprise bed-and-breakfast operations that are widely established across the city and surrounding areas.”

Meanwhile, South African Tourism Board chairperson Jabu Mabuza told the Indaba that the country was “cautiously optimistic” that it would reach its goal of ten-million visitors in 2010.

“The South African Tourism industry remains buoyant, positive and is already celebrating the FIFA 2010 World Cup. We confidently expect 300 000 visitors in South Africa for the tournament and remain cautiously optimistic of attaining our ten-million visitors in 2010.”

He cautioned the industry that times are tough and the industry is feeling the effects.

“Many of our primary markets are officially in recession. It is time to be sober and sensible.”

South African Tourism had been working hard to market the destination and to make the most of the opportunities the Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup presented.

South African Tourism launched its 2010 FIFA World Cup destination campaign at the Indaba 2009 opening ceremony.

The campaign comprises a 60-second television commercial, a 2010 website, social media components and a strong public relations drive.

“This is the biggest sporting spectacular in the world and it is coming to our country in our lifetime. It is an opportunity that none of us alive in this country today will ever be given again. We must grab this opportunity with each of the 45-million pairs of hands we have in South Africa,” said South African Tourism acting CEO Didi Moyle.

TOURISM SATELLITE ACCOUNT

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Deat), South African Tourism and a number of partners unveiled the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), which will enable them to measure and track tourism’s contribution to the larger economy and to total job creation in South Africa.

Deat deputy director-general Sindiswa Nhlumayo says: “Tourism is now entrenched as one of the pillars of economic and social development in South Africa. Although we have good and accurate research around tourism specifically, there has, until now, been a statistics void around the peripheral industries especially and the extent to which they profit from tourism.”

Besides tracking the number of tourism jobs created and the contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, tourism bodies are also able to tell which activities are most beneficial to the tourist and, in effect, to the economy as well.

She added that the launch of the TSA will help the country to realise the importance of the contribution of tourism to the economy.

“There is an argument all the time about the contribution of tourism, but we did not have the necessary tools to convince the superpowers in terms of where we really stand. I am glad that this tool will enable us show us our contribution in comparison with other sectors,” Nhlumayo said.

She noted that it is difficult to define the tourism industry because it is related to many issues.

“It [the tourism industry] is linked to transport, financial services and makes it difficult to quantify. We are excited and looking forward to working with our partners to improve the timeliness of the provision of this information because we believe that it will help us in policy decisions and when investors want to invest in the sector.”

An important part of tracking changes in the tourism industry is to have good monthly indicators, Statistics South Africa deputy director-general Dr Rashad Cassim said.

“We need to focus on the best monthly indicators to assist the government and tourism industry. It is a big task to put together. Many countries have monthly indicators that range from arrivals and departures, travel companies’ monthly output; ultimately there is no substitute for current monthly indicators.”

He added that to put together the TSA is a complicated process.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Dennis Ndaba
DATED: 11th May 2009