FIFA fan centre gets Durbanites excited

Friday, June 11, 2010

Durban - The city's mayor Obed Mlaba welcomed the world to Durban at the official launch of the FIFA Fan Centre at New Beach on Thursday.

"We are 100 percent ready. We are a friendly city and that's the long and short of it," said Mlaba.

All of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches will be screened at the venue. There will be a massive entertainment component which will see a host of various artists performing, including Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela and the Parlotones.

Strategic Projects Unit deputy head, Sue Bannister, said the Fan Centre was designed to improve the impact the World Cup would have on the city.

"It looked at the economic needs of the World Cup. We have a trademark with 150 markets that sell local produce. We want to sell our goods to the visitors and want them to place bulk orders," said Bannister.

She added that the idea was also to make everything easier for people. There is an on-site tourism centre which houses information about tours and activities in the province.

It also has an international fan embassy that will assist foreigners with lost passport or emergency situations. The Centre has Internet facilities.

The mayor was delighted with what he saw on Thursday and said the feedback his office received thus far has been extremely positive.

"All I have heard via smses and phone calls is how proud they (KZN residents) are of Durban. I want to congratulate those who are responsible for this. I thank Durban for their standard of excellence," said Mlaba.

He urged Durbanites to continue being friendly and supportive because the mission of the city was to attract visitors beyond 2010.

"We want to see more investment in the city, with a more vibrant economy."