Richards Bay Accommodation & Tour Venues the ends of the earth...

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Momentum grows for 2010

THE local accommodation industry can look forward to benefiting greatly from the 2010 Soccer World Cup, with controlling body FIFA having identified Richards Bay a satellite area.  This status was granted based on the ability to provide at least 200 contracted rooms, with close airport and bus access.  Speaking at the Hotel Richards on Thursday, Nicky Krugel of Match Event Services - organisers of accommodation requirements at World Cups and other major events for the past 23 years - said local bed providers would have to work together to reap the benefits.  ‘We presently have 32 000 beds and we need a total of 55 000 by 2010,’ said Krugel.  ‘Match will, for 18 months at no charge, put you on our web site, from which visitors will choose where they want to stay.  ‘This saves you having to do your own marketing overseas - and we receive about 4.2 million hits a day.’
Krugel warned against high expectations and said there was no point in building more hotels and B&Bs that would not be sustainable in the long term.
Business plans
The luncheon, attended by a large group from the leisure, accommodation and tourism sector, was also addressed by Danie Lubbe of the uThungulu District Municipality, who heads the local Soccer 2010 Project.
Lubbe said a comprehensive business plan submitted had secured grant funding of R25-million over three years.  This will primarily be used to upgrade the Central Sports Complex at Veldenvlei.  ‘This is not enough, but since the site is already paid for (by the City of uMhlathuze), all the money can be used for the upgrade,’ said Lubbe.  ‘We called for a tender for the design of the multi-purpose stadium and received 10 responses.  ‘It will be more than just a soccer stadium, as the more codes there are, the more sustainable it will be. In fact, it must make a profit to pay for its upkeep.  ‘Sports facilities are also an incentive for attracting investment.’
At present Lubbe is writing the District Strategic Master Plan for 2010, which includes sectors on Tourism and Accommodation , Safety and Security, Infrastructure, Economic Empowerment and Small Business, and Disaster Management.  ‘Besides the stadium, the other focus will be on Fan Parks, which can also be used after the 2010 event,’ said Lubbe.  ‘Due to our being more than 30 minutes from a match venue (Durban), we cannot host a training camp for one of the teams but we will put in a bid to host a nation at the Richards Bay base station.’

Danie Lubbe 2010 Soccer World Cup

Danie Lubbe reassures guests that much pre-planning has already been done in preparation for 2010

Source:  Zululand Observer