North West needs more accommodation for 2010

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rustenburg - North West Provincial Government is facing a shortage of 4 000 beds, or single accommodation facilities, for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mmaphefo Matsemela, said on Thursday that there were only about 18 000 beds currently available throughout the province, while 22 000 were needed.

This means that the province needs a further 4 000 beds.

In total, about 1 400 beds are required in one star accommodation facilities, which includes motels and backpackers, while 4 300 beds are required in two-star accommodation facilities, which included bed and breakfasts and country houses.

In the three-star accommodation, which includes guest houses, country lodges and road lodges, nearly 12 100 beds are needed and 4 200 beds are needed in the four- and five-star accommodation facilities which included hotels, game lodges and resorts.

"There are about 18 000 beds currently available throughout the province, and this calls upon us to look at all options which can help us increase our bed capacity," said Matsemela.

She said one of the options which had been identified is to establish temporary accommodation facilities such as tented camps. However, she invited stakeholders in the industry to come up with other options.

"It becomes even more challenging judging from the fact that we are likely to have four team-based camps in the province," she said.

The MEC said that the World Cup must be used by the industry as an opportunity to position the North West province as a viable tourist destination.

"The World Cup tournament is a platform for us to package and present the tourism products to the world markets," she said.

She was speaking at the 10th Tourism Lekgotla in Rustenburg aimed at reviewing the tourism industry's achievements and challenges, as well as chart a way forward.

"We must not be afraid to look critically at how we have been doing things and give the province a complete face lift that it desperately needs. In order for the destination North West to maximise exposure there must be in agreement on who we are, what we stand for and where we want to go," Matsemela said.

The provincial tourism industry should be dynamic, innovative, sustainable and highly-regarded sector, offering international and domestic customers a positive and memorable experience beyond their expectations, the MEC added.