Former German media mogul Leo Kirch won’t be allowed to use cruise ships as floating hotels in the way he hoped during next year’s World Cup, the South African government confirmed Friday. “The position of the Tourism Ministry was always that we don’t want ships at the World Cup that have the objective of anchoring in our harbours and presenting themselves as alternatives to our local hotels,” the Tourism Ministry said in a statement to German Press Agency dpa.
According to a report in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, Kirch’s company, KF 15, had hoped to have two cruise ships dock in Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth and function as hotels during the World Cup finals.
The luxury liners in question, MS Westerdam and MS Noordam, offer a combined total of 4,600 beds. The cost for the two ships is estimated at upwards of 10 million euros (14 million dollars).
However, the South African Tourism Ministry has now made clear that berthing rights for both ships were based on the proviso that the vessels brought tourists to the country.
FIFA president Joseph Blatter had previously suggested that cruise ships could be the solution to the 15,000 hotel beds lacking for the month-long World Cup finals.
p>The World Cup takes place in South Africa June 11 to July 11, 2010.
Source: Earth Times