FIFA to visit Harare's World Cup facilities

AFP , HARARE

Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 20

A delegation of FIFA officials was to arrive here on Monday to assess the country's capacity to host visitors for the 2010 World Cup to be hosted in South Africa.

"The FIFA officials will assess the capacity of Zimbabwe to host visitors for 2010," Karikoga Kaseke, chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), said in a statement. "They have specifically requested to see three to five-star hotels in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, as well as other service facilities in the tourism sector."

Zimbabwe, which plans to invest US$20 million on hotels and stadiums, is one of the host country's neighbors expecting to rake in the windfall of the month-long event by hosting training camps, accommodation and fan parks for teams and visitors during the tournament.

A report drawn up by the sports and environment ministries, which has been adopted by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Cabinet, called for a comprehensive refurbishment of hotels, which have seen a marked drop in foreign visitors since the implosion of the economy. A new stadium is also in the pipeline.

The FIFA delegation will also be looking at touring possibilities and activities, Kaseke added.

"We will not leave anything to chance. We have to make sure that the industry standards are brought up to expectations of FIFA," he said.