Tag Archives: Marthinus van Schlakwyk

World Cup accommodation pricing to be investigated

The Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has announced that he has contracted Grant Thornton to conduct a survey of accommodation prices during the June/July World Cup period, and to benchmark these against the prices of accommodation in countries that previously hosted FIFA World Cups, reports www.iol.co.za.  The survey is to be conducted, despite the tourism industry body Tourism Business Council of South Africa and FIFA’s MATCH accommodation agency denying that World Cup prices are excessive.

The survey comes amidst international criticism that accommodation pricing is excessive and deemed to be “rip-off”.   Van Schalkwyk said that “the survey would help safeguard the reputation of the South African tourism industry, since South Africa is a ‘value-for-money destination’  Price-hiking could damage the reputation of our tourism industry”, he said.

Van Schalkwyk did make it clear that tourists could not expect to pay normal low-season rates during the World Cup : “……June and July 2010 will be high season in South Africa”.

The Grant Thornton survey will only be conducted amongst professional accommodation establishments, and will exclude private homes.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), which claims to be ‘the official umbrella body for organised business in the South African travel and tourism industry’, and MATCH, FIFA’s accommodation agency, have made a joint statement that the industry pricing is not rip-off nor excessive, reports S A Tourism Update.  The TBCSA chairman Mmatsatsi Marobe praised the tourism sector for not charging “exorbitant prices as they understood the long-term effect on tourism into South Africa, but it was the doing of a few small suppliers that put South Africa in a bad light”, she said.   The MATCH Chairman, Jaime Byron, came with the following brilliant logic about pricing: “…the 2010 FIFA World Cup was expected to be more expensive than previous tournaments because it was a long-haul destination.  This makes South Africa inherently more expensive”, he is quoted as saying!   It was noted by them that the media should be careful about attacking the World Cup pricing, as it had to be accurate about what exactly was included in the prices quoted in such media reports (e.g. accommodation, tickets, transport).  

The TBCSA/MATCH statements are ironic, as MATCH has been blamed for excessive “rip-off pricing” since it started recruiting accommodation for the World Cup four years ago, demanding a 30 % commission from accommodation establishments initially, and now just adding this commission percentage on to the already high accommodation rates! 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Cape has most 2010 accommodation

Of all the provinces, the Western Cape has the largest availability of rooms for the 2010 World Cup, according to the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, when he addressed the media about the new tourism portal (see blog post dated 12 December 2009), reports the Cape Argus.

Minister van Schalkwyk stated that the Cape has 62 000 rooms, of the country total of 202 000 rooms, just less than one-third.   Gauteng has 44 000 and Kwa-Zulu Natal has 31000 rooms.   Given that 450 000 foreign visitors are expected to come to South Africa in June and July 2010, and assuming that 2 persons will share a room, the country should have enough accommodation. (What the Minister has not incorporated into his calculations is that South Africans are the largest purchasers of tickets, and may travel from one city to another to view a match, and may also need accommodation).

The estimation of the number of rooms comes from the National Accommodation Database, which was established via calls made to all known accommodation establishments, and may be understated, as many accommodation owners may have withheld information from the callers involved in the database verification, as they called at non-business hours, such as on Sunday afternoons, and at 20h00 in the evening.

The Minister quoted the following statistics: there are close to 19 000 accommodation establishments in the country, of which 40 % are graded by the Tourism Grading Council.   Just more than half of the 202 000 rooms are graded.   Each host city has a minimum of  7 500 accommodation establishments, within a 50 km radius of a World Cup stadium.   There are just more than 100 000 rooms in host cities.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

G20 of Tourism Ministers to meet in SA

The first ever meeting of Tourism Ministers from around the world will be hosted by and held in South Africa in February, reports Engineering News.

The Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced that the G20 of Tourism Ministers will meet from 22 – 24 February, when he addressed the National Tourism Conference in Johannesburg last week.  The theme of the G20 meeting will be “Travel and Tourism: stimuli for G20 economies”.

Minister van Schalkwyk stated that this country’s tourism industry had better withstood the global economic crisis, compared to such sectors as construction, real estate and car manufacturing.   He announced that in 2008 South Africa had received 9,5 million arrivals, a 5,5 % increase compared to the year before.   The global tourism growth average has been 2 % for the same period.   The 2009 tourism growth may be under pressure, the Minister said, and therefore a co-ordinated international response to the tourism downturn was needed.

The Minister also announced that South Africa has been elected to the executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.  The Organisation recognises the role that tourism plays in creating jobs – 75 million worldwide – and is an important generator of small and medium businesses.

Linked to the G20 meeting of Tourism Ministers, South Africa will also host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation/South Africa Summit on Tourism, Sport and Mega-events, from 24 – 26 February next year, in Sandton.   It will help South Africa to plan for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com