Debate over room demand for 2010 FIFA World Cup rages on


FIFA’s announcement that it has released 65,000 of its MATCH-booked rooms in the western Cape has caused considerable debate about the actual demand for accommodation during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Cape Town Tourism met a group of tourism stakeholders this week to counter the perception that fewer soccer enthusiasts will travel to South Africa, due to reported overpricing by accommodation establishments for the tournament.

Cape Town Tourism spokesperson, Lianne Burton, said: “Cape Town Tourism has taken a leading role in the pricing debate by actively engaging our members about acceptable pricing. We are now finalizing our Code of Responsible and Fair Pricing, which will act as an industry guideline to establish prices for accommodation and other tourism services. We do welcome the timeous release of 65,000 rooms by FIFA and MATCH. This is not a cause for concern as it was always likely that MATCH would release this first tier. It is an opportunity for South African establishments to promote their rooms on the open market in the months leading up to the big event.”

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Cape Town Tourism, among other industry leaders, says it’s better to receive this news with enough lead-time for establishment owners to fill their rooms.

Cape Town Tourism, together with independent website,, is running an extensive survey of available accommodation and associated prices for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Burton advises accommodation holders to remember the following when setting prices:

1. Pricing is the deciding factor for establishments wishing to fill their rooms. If there is a generous supply, overpriced options will be last in line.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinforce that Cape Town is a unique, value-for-money destination. If we adopt a short-term ‘get rich quick’ attitude and raise prices unreasonably, not only will we be unable to attract the number of visitors anticipated, but those who do visit us will spread the word that the city is officially overpriced.” In contrast, reasonable prices should ensure that visitors will have positive experiences to share abroad and will return to the Mother City.

2. Establishments should be careful about how and where they advertise. It is important to market the concern to the correct target market and through a visible and credible platform or booking agent. There is also the opportunity to partner with tour operators who need to include accommodation in their packages.

3. Cape Town Tourism members may make use of the accommodation section, under the 2010 banner on, which offers special rates and tour packages during the World Cup months.

Internationally, travelers tend to book last-minute reservations. They shop around before they commit, and value-for-money is a deal-clincher. Add to this the slow, cautious re-emergence from the global recession, and it becomes clear that the tourism sector needs to keep a steady head in the lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Cape Town Tourism has appointed an international network of publicity companies to manage international perception of the city. Included in its mandate is the need to market Cape Town as a value-for-money destination to the travel trade. It aims to do this by attending trade shows and media briefings, distributing Cape Town Tourism marketing toolkits and visitor guides, and promoting .