South African Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said today that infrastucture developments are on track and the country is ready to host the World Cup next summer.
Speaking at a press conference at EIBTM in Barcelona, ahead of friday´s all important draw, Minister van Schalkwyk said: “We are ready to host the world, our stadiums are on track, our roads have been upgraded, world class hotels and accommodation are in place and our visitors can look forward to safe and easy access to the event.”
He also revealed that the government provided 17 guarantees to FIFA in order to win the bid to host the tournament. These cover access to South Africa, a supportive financial environment, intellectual property and marketing rights, safety and security, healthcare services, transport and telecommunications.
Host cities also have certain agreements signed with FIFA that they have to fulfill and these include aspects such as stadiums and official training grounds, supporting infrastructure, an official fan park, city beautification and compliance with FIFA marketing guidelines within the cities.
Highlights of the latest World Cup developments include:
Six new soccer stadiums are completed or in the final stages of completion and four others have been upgraded. These ten stadiums will seat more than 570 000 people.
South Africa has ensured that it will have enough accommodation for the World Cup. The Department of Tourism has provided US$ 26.6 million to assist with the grading of small, medium and micro enterprise accommodation.
US$14.2 billion has been invested to upgrade public roads from 2005 to 2009.
Over 2 000 train coaches are being refurbished.
US$1.16bn is being spent on the revamping of all the major airports in South Africa and the launch of a new airport in April 2010 in Durban.