Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cruise Ships as Floating Hotels?

Apparently, South Africa organizers are short of the number of hotel rooms the country needs to handle visitors arriving for the World Cup ...

To the tune of 15,000 rooms.

That's quite a shortfall. That's a lot of tourists roaming the streets, or sleeping in train stations, or ending up in third-rate accommodations.

Anyway, the ever-helpful Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, has suggested cruise ships could help solve the problem.

And yes, cruise ships sometimes do help. They were used to augment hotel rooms at Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, in 2005; and for the Barcelona Olympics, in 1992.

The biggest drawback for South Africa 2010 is that only two of the 10 World Cup venues -- Durban and Port Elizabeth -- have the sort of docking facilities a cruise ship would need to be of any help to tourists.

So, if you want to see a game in Johannesburg, or Rustenburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontain -- and even Cape Town, apparently -- it doesn't do you much good to be docked in Port Elizabeth or Durban, hundreds of miles away from where you need to be.

It would be rather like docking in San Francisco and planning to see a match in Phoenix later in the day. You'd still have lots of logistics ahead of you.

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