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Too few flights for Dutch fans

Jun 22 2010 14:21

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Johannesburg - There are too few flights to South Africa to cope with the demands from Dutch fans who want to attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup, according to reports in the Dutch press.

The Netherlands have won their opening two matches and qualified for the next round, with some pundits proclaiming that the Dutch (along with the Brazilians) are the most impressive teams in the tournament.

But only an estimated 10 000 Dutch fans are in South Africa, with many staying home due to alarming media reports about the country's crime levels and "pending civil war" following the murder of Eugene Terreblanche.

The Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (Royal Dutch Football Association) also put potential travellers off with warnings about the dangers in South Africa.

Klaas Deknatelchief, editor of the online publication Zuid-Afrika Journaal, said reporting on the World Cup build-up was "shockingly" negative, but the media feedback since the start of the tournament has been very upbeat.

"[Dutch fans in South Africa] are also amazed how friendly South Africans are, and feel much more secure than they had expected as there is a lot of security and police on the streets.

"Some also expected to come to a third world country, but notice that parts of Joburg do not look like that at all."

He says the "enormous enthusiasm" and support for the Dutch team in South Africa, along with reports about the country's natural beauty, should convince more fans to come.

According to the Dutch travel group OAD, the Dutch team can expect "massive" support from fans.

Little flight capacity

"After the good performance of the Netherlands team, many fans are now prepared to travel [to South Africa]."

Some Dutch publications have reported, however, that there is a lack of flights to South Africa.

OAD director Julius ter Haar told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad that finding accommodation and match tickets won't be a problem.

Brett Dungan, CEO of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), recently said there still was abundant accommodation for last-minute visitors, particularly outside Johannesburg.

Currently hotels are busier than usual for this time of year, but activity levels are not what was expected for the World Cup.

After end-June, when some teams leave the tournament, even more accommodation will be available.

However, flight tickets are a problem, said Ter Haar.

"How we can get people [to South Africa] is a different story. There is very little flight capacity."

If the Netherlands should reach the quarter finals, OAD expects an additional "couple of thousand" Dutch fans to visit South Africa, which will create more pressure.

On KLM's website there are still some flights from Amsterdam to Johannesburg available, although many have stopovers and there are warnings that those are the last tickets available. Prices range from €450 (R4 160) to more than €2 000 (R18 480) per flight.

SAA is also offering flights, with an economy return ticket for this week (returning after the World Cup final) now priced at €3 087 (R28 500).

- Fin24.com
2010 fifa world cup
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