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General Manager, Amadeus South Africa
Football fans around the world are excitedly watching the FIFA World Cup, which is being held in South at 10 venues across the country. South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry has understandably been rubbing its collective hands in glee at the prospect – the World Cup is predicted to draw in 373,000 visitors, with overseas tourists predicted to stay an average of 18 days.
For travel agencies, the challenge is to ensure that customers can be guaranteed a booking during the World Cup. Occupancy rates will soar as demand increases, and the hotels nearest the 10 stadiums will command premium prices. Despite this, travellers will still expect their agents to find the best prices possible.
By the end of May, almost 95% of the 2.8 million World Cup tickets had already sold out, so the pressure was on for fans to find somewhere to stay.
Amadeus – thanks to our brighter collaborative approach – has recently signed up over 30 new properties in South Africa, ranging from luxury to economy hotels, bringing the grand total of bookable hotels in the country to approximately 600. Of these properties, 300 are in or around the nine cities hosting stadium events for the World Cup. Recent additions to the Amadeus portfolio in South Africa include Southern Sun, City Lodge and Relais Hotels.
With almost 300 properties located within easy reach of a World Cup stadium, booking through Amadeus not only provides a guaranteed room on arrival, it also offers a whole range of properties – from luxury stays to budget accommodation.
As well as the dedicated fans, people will also be travelling with partners and families. These travellers will want not just football, but a well-rounded holiday with facilities and entertainment for children and adults who dislike sport!
The relentless World Cup media coverage and word-of-mouth recommendation are predicted to create a long tail of demand for South Africa as a holiday destination. According to Richard Middleton (Standard Bank of South Africa): “Evidence from previous host countries – such as Argentina – suggests that all the publicity should add at least 10% to tourist arrivals over the next 10 years.”
The range of properties and experiences available for travellers in South Africa is phenomenal. Travel agents have the opportunity to tempt the most hardened football fans to try some of South Africa’s other attractions during their stay; and to use the media coverage of the World Cup as an illustration of all the country has to offer.
Amadeus’ hospitality partners ensure that whatever someone wants from their stay in South Africa they can get it.