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May 11, 2009

Cape Town ready to welcome the world for 2010 FIFA World Cup

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Aspiring soccer stars at the Danone Nations Cup 2008, photo courtesy Maëlis aka Somethingintheair

As Cape Town counts down less than 400 days to 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.

His sentiments are echoed by Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du-Toit Helmbold: “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.”

As the official marketing and visitor information resource for Cape Town, Cape Town Tourism has activated more than 45 World Cup-specific projects that 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 dedicated visitor website, www.capetown.travel, is just one phase of a total technological upgrade in the organisation’s e-marketing services.

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

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

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

The extended stay programme focuses on encouraging visitors to make a holiday out of the World Cup, by packaging the experiences of Cape Town and its surrounding regions to suit the unique needs of the soccer visitor.

New visitor guides and maps are being developed and a digital media platform provides mobile and electronic visitor services.

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 key focus for the next two years is the development and implementation of an information and knowledge management system. This will enable Cape Town Tourism to efficiently fulfil enquiries from visitors, travel trade, media and members alike; convert more enquiries into reservations for members; and analyse information and visitor trends so that we can understand and deliver directly to the needs of our visitors and members.

Cape Town Tourism’s 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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