The next World Cup will be the first on African soil
South Africa authorities have unveiled plans to boost accommodation for the 2010 World Cup and encourage fans to stay at small guesthouses in sprawling city townships.
"We are delivering on our promise to ensure that participants in the 2010 World Cup will be treated to a uniquely African experience," tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told an accommodation workshop.
He said US$22.5 million would be spent to provide extra rooms for the 3.5 million
people expected by organizers to attend the competition.
"For the first time ever (in a World Cup), non-hotel accommodation such as national park accommodation, lodges, guesthouses, and bed and breakfasts will also be
contracted," Van Schalkwyk said.
This would include "properly graded hotels and lodges" in townships like Soweto - just outside Johannesburg and a symbol of resistance to the former apartheid regime.
South Africa is preparing to become the first African nation to host the prestigious event.
Van Schalkwyk said Bloemfontein, Nelspruit and Polokwane - all designated to host first-round matches - were struggling to fill their quota of rooms and would get
financial help from the new funds.
The government has earmarked about US$665 million for building and renovating 10
stadiums - including six new ones - and a further US$1.2 billion on airports, roads and railway lines.
The finance ministry is expected to give more funding details during a visit to South Africa later this month by a Fifa delegation.