South Africa investigates alleged World Cup hotel price-hike

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The South African government is to conduct a survey to find out whether hotels are ripping off guests in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup event to be held in June and July this year.

    It is alleged that hotel groups have been inflating accommodation prices in the lead up to the event and the South African Department of Tourism said it wanted to find out whether these allegations were true.

    The government believes high hotel fees could damage the reputation of the South African tour industry.

    South African tourism minister, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said: “South Africa is a value-for-money destination, and this reputation should be safeguarded. Price-hiking could damage the reputation of our tourism industry. However, at the same time it must be kept in mind that June and July 2010 will be high season in South Africa, and tourists should not expect the normal low-season prices for that time of the year.”

    Van Schalkwyk said that the government had only recently become away of the alleged price-hiking problems. He said that the survey would compare accommodation prices of hotels to those of other nations that have previously hosted the FIFA World Cup.

    He said: “In recent weeks we have noted allegations that accommodation establishments in the tourism industry are not responsible, and are inflating prices excessively. Until now our impression has been that this is not the case, but we believe it should be investigated and the results of the investigation made public.”

    The Department of Tourism said guests should be careful not to confuse hotel price with those of private apartments and houses that are being rented out, often in some of the most high-end neighbourhoods. These private leases are normally much more expensive and does not represent the average tourism industry.

    At a recent United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference, UNWTO, secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said Africa was the only tourism region in the world to grow last year and that the trend was expected to continue with the upcoming World Cup.

    However, Rifai also said the poverty gap within developing countries such as Africa is still large and that the world is still far away from fair globalisation. He said that nations needed to focus on global equity and share the benefits throughout their country.

    Van Schalkwyk said that he would be focussing on providing a range of services throughout the country for tourists visiting during the World Cup. He believed South Africa has enough accommodation for guests during this time.

    The survey results are expected to be announced in three weeks’ time.

    Carmen Allan

    Daniel Fountain / 25.02.2010

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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