/ 21 November 2008

Meeting resolves 2010 Cup accommodation spat

A meeting held by Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs Marthinus van Schalkwyk with world football governing body Fifa and various tourism bodies has resolved a spat about accommodation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, SA Tourism said on Friday.

”The purpose of the meeting was to resolve the issues and map the way forward. It is an agreement that it is important for all of us to work together,” said SA Tourism chief executive Moeketsi Mosola.

”We came out of a very positive meeting [committed] to make our country proud.”

Earlier this month, SA Tourism quit the Match advisory board. Match AG is the Swiss-based company appointed by Fifa to provide ticketing, accommodation and event information technology services for the Confederations Cup in 2009 and the 2010 World Cup.

Mosola was quoted in media reports at the time as saying his organisation had quit because Match was attempting to ”bully” smaller bed-and-breakfast establishments and independent hotels into dropping prices.

On Friday, Van Schalkwyk said the Cup’s organising committee, Match, SA Tourism, the Tourism Business Council, the Hotel Industry and the Tourism Grading Council had all attended a meeting on Thursday with him.

”The tourism industry has a very good working relationship with Fifa and Match.

”We remain committed as partners to assist Match in achieving their target and we will continue to encourage players in the industry to sign up their facilities,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He said Match continued to play a ”central role” in ensuring a successful hosting of the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

”Our working relationship is one of mutual respect and partnership and I would like to encourage all role players to ensure that nothing detracts from this.”

The minister also said he envisaged that a broader advisory structure, inclusive of SA Tourism, would be established to advise on accommodation and other 2010 matters.

On Friday, Mosola said a new tourism industry forum on 2010 would be formed shortly.

The forum would include SA Tourism and representatives of Match, the Tourism Business Council and all other related bodies.

Mosola said all issues relating to 2010 accommodation had been resolved at Thursday’s meeting.

”We discussed it and we are moving on on a very positive footing.”

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday about the confederation cup, Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke touched on the issue of world cup accommodation.

He said Fifa’s ”only [concern] was to have the right price and not have to pay three or four times more [for accommodation] … just because it is the Cup”. — Sapa