Monday, November 12, 2007

Many Winners in WC 2010

One of the many positives of staging the 2010 World Cup in Africa is the potential economic windfall South Africa's neighboring countries could stimulate.

One such neighbor is being very aggressive in trying to get that money into their country: Mozambique. (Above:Wimbe Beach, Pemba, Mozambique)

You can't really blame them. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. If they can garner come much-needed cash from residual tourists in South Africa during the Cup finals, why not go for it? They may be poor, but one thing they do have is pristine sandy beaches (as you can see above) and quaint colonial cities. The former Portuguese colony also has a low crime rate unlike South Africa, which is grappling with one of the world's highest levels of violent crime.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Rosario Mualeia told Reuters that the impoverished southern African nation hoped to lure at least 150,000 tourists to its shores, or about one third of those expected to visit host nation South Africa during the World Cup.

Mozambique is also negotiating to host training and base camps for some of the teams that will qualify for the finals.

"We are near to South Africa and the crime rate in Mozambique is not as high as the host nation," Mualeia said in an interview in the northern Mozambican city Pemba.
"Many fans would be prefer to be in a quiet place and Mozambique has the environment for that."

The Mozambican government plans to spend at least $600 million on hotels, casinos and other leisure facilities as part of an effort to capitalize on the tourism boom expected during the one-month World Cup, which begins on June 11, 2010.

Mozambique is experiencing an economic boom. Tourism revenues have provided crucial foreign exchange for the government's public works programs.
The bulk of Mozambique's infrastructure, particularly its roads and ports, were destroyed during a 17-year civil war that ended in 1992.

"We expect to earn more than $150 million from tourism this year and to double that in four years as more Europeans discover sand and sun in Mozambique," Mualeia said.

Tourism generated $144 million for the former Portuguese colony in 2006.
The bulk of the country's visitors come from South Africa, Italy, Germany and a handful of other nations.

I think Mozambique is going about this the right way. Why not try and get some of the treasure the World Cup promises? Why not try to bolster their image through the spectacle of the Games? Remember, these are Africa's games, not just South Africa's.

I think I'll have to pencil in Mozambique in my travel itinerary. A nice day on the beach after watching some world-class football sounds about right to me ...

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