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March 10, 2009

Cape Town ready to welcome football visitors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™

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The Cape Town Station is to get a drastic facelift in preparation for 2010. Photo courtesy Damien du Toit

As Cape Town counts down just over 400 days until the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ kick-off, local excitement is being mixed with furious activity to ensure that the destination is fully compliant, on time and ready to welcome the world.

“Now it’s only about delivery. We cannot move the kick-off. We can’t say, ‘Sorry, there’s going to be a delay’,” stresses FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold agrees, saying, “The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ is our time to shine. We have to be, and we will be, ready to host the world – and we are ready to win the hearts and imagination of the world.”

To date, over 506 000 ticket applications have been received from 140 countries. The ticket system works on an application and random allocation system to give all applicants a fair chance to purchase their tickets.

Cape Town’s and South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cup™ medical support plan was recently given a clean bill of health. Jiri Dvorak, head of the FIFA medical committee, says, “I am confident that we can hold the World Cup from the medical side ... that the teams, the FIFA family, the FIFA delegation and the spectators will be well taken care of.”

As the official marketing and visitor information resource for Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism has activated more than 25 World Cup-specific projects. They cover destination marketing, in-destination activation, industry readiness, visitor services, training and communication.

Cape Town Tourism is readying itself for an unprecedented number of enquiries about accommodation, tours, transfers and more. The recent launch of Cape Town’s first visitor-dedicated website, www.capetown.travel, is just one phase of a technological upgrade in the organisation’s e-marketing services.

Commenting on the significance of the World Cup for tourism, Du Toit-Helmbold says that the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup is not an end in itself, but rather a springboard for long-term growth. “Ensuring sustainability will require a comprehensive, long-term approach.  Thus we are focusing on readiness for 2010 as well as our legacy beyond it, making sure that all our programmes are aligned with the host city’s 2010 business and marketing plan,” she says.

A further objective is to create a legacy of improved quality and service excellence for tourism businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, getting local people behind the Cape Town brand.

The requirements for 2010 have major implications for Cape Town’s visitor services.  Cape Town Tourism’s has to be able to handle large numbers of information enquiries in a short space of time through its network of more than 18 visitor centres, a contact centre and the web.

The extended stay programme encourages visitors to make a holiday out of the World Cup by packaging the experiences of Cape Town and its surrounding regions in attractive, value-for-money travel specials to suit the needs of the soccer visitor.

A new range of visitor guides and maps is being developed and a range of programmes are available to visitors seeking travel information. Provision of mobile and electronic visitor services through a digital media platform was launched in 2007. Purpose-designed web-based information is accessible by smart phone as well as PC or laptop with SMS message services for visitors.

Cape Town Tourism has also launched a staff and industry training and awareness programme to enhance service delivery and communication to World Cup visitors in particular.

The focus now is to get an information and knowledge management system running that will enable Cape Town Tourism to answer enquiries from visitors, travel trade, media and members; to convert more enquiries into reservations for members; and to analyse information and visitor trends so as to understand and meet the needs of visitors and members.

The Cape Town Tourism visitor centre network is being expanded and improved to include a new centralised visitor centre at the Cape Town International Airport, a one-stop travel centre at the new Cape Town Station and visitor centres at all major tourism attractions in partnership with the private sector.

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