Domestic airlines offering fares at reasonable rates
AudreyD’Angelofinds reasonablypricedlocalflights thismonth
FORECASTS that l ocal f l i ghts would be crammed with visitors from overseas, sending fares sky-high, and accommodation fully booked in all the cities hosting games, caused most business travel in this country to be postponed this month.
But in the event many of the visiting fans seem content – at this stage anyway – to stay in the cities they originally chose as a base and watch the games in other places on the TV.
And, without the normal business travel at this time of year, domestic airlines are offering fares at very reasonable rates on their websites, often combined with package deals with hotels and guest houses in the coastal towns eager to fill empty rooms. So, if you are not among those who opted to leave the country while the World Cup is on, but would like a break in a local resort, particularly while your children are on extended school holidays, now is the time to see what is available.
Meanwhile, the number of foreign fans who have arrived so far seems higher than some pessimistic forecasts in the past few weeks suggested, although t he l argest number have opted to stay in Gauteng, where most of the games are taking place. But we have a particularly large contingent of 5 000 fans from Brazil, who have taken over the Protea Fire and Ice hotel in the city centre and the Southern Sun at the Waterfront.
Calvyn Gil f el l an, chi ef executive of regional tourism marketing authority Cape Town Routes Unlimited, discovered on a visit to Brazil that Brazilians like to stick together overseas, but also want to meet the locals, so Sea Point Civic Centre and the L ookout a t t he Water f r ont have been turned into meeting places where they can watch the games on TV. But local people are welcome to join them in Sea Point after 6pm to enjoy entertainment, i ncluding dancers in carnival costumes, with Brazilian food available. There is an admission charge for local people.
Emirates Airlines, which flies daily into Cape Town and already operates 10 of the giant Airbus A380 aircraft, has ordered 32 more in addition to the 58 already on order. This will make it by far the biggest operator of this aircraft. With so many in the pipeline it cannot be long before we see it in use at Cape Town which, with Johannesburg, is already capable of handling it. It is now in regular use by Air France on its scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Paris. Lufthansa, which used it to bring the German soccer team to this country for the World Cup, will use it on scheduled flights between Frankfurt and Johannesburg from October.