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Southern Africa readies for sport tourism boom

Southern Africa readies for sport tourism boom

As excitement grows ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, many other countries in the region are also holding high expectations of a tourism boom.

Countries across the region have made huge investments in the hope that large numbers of fans travelling to watch the World Cup will decide to visit them too.

With teams are likely to decide on their training bases in the coming weeks, this will determine where some fans will be heading, should they decide to venture beyond South Africa itself.

In the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, a new airport is being constructed. It is also building two new football stadiums, and upgrading three stadiums.

Lodges are being refurbished in the north of the country, which is home to some of Africa’s best locations for wildlife viewing.


The chief executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Karikoga Kaseke says the World Cup is the focal point of a major drive to revive tourism in a country.

“Our objective is to rebuild the image of this country through 2010, and you can’t put a monetary value on that,” he said told the BBC

Portuguese-speaking Mozambique is hopeful that Portugal and Brazil will be among the teams preparing in their country ahead of the World Cup.

The government is expecting between 20,000 and 30,000 tourists to visit the country, and arrangements are being made for the relaxation of visa regulations.

Pinto Barros, a board member of the Mozambique Football Federation, told the BBC that the country considers itself a leading destination for teams and tourists in 2010.

“We are building a new national stadium, we have beautiful beaches, and we are a peaceful country.

“Portugal must come here, they are our brother, and Brazil too. And other countries – why not?”

The president of the Southern African football body Cosafa, Suketu Patel, says that countries in the region should look to the long-term rather than the short-term hit from the tournament.

“There are opportunities from tourism and teams preparing in the region, but this is not a very long-term thing,” he told BBC Sport.

“I think that the benefit that we can get as a zone is for countries to make themselves known for the potential that they have - either as an investment destination, a tourism destination, or as a sporting destination.”