The World Cup in South Africa concluded on Sunday night with Spain’s 1-0 victory over the Netherlands. Now, the footballing world shifts their focus to Brazil, the hosts of the 2014 tournament.
In a lot of people’s eyes this was a World Cup that attracted a fair share of controversy and criticism. The pesky (but cultural) vuvuzelas that ruined (or enhanced) the atmosphere at a lot of the games, the goal line technology that is desperately needed in the modern game, the overzealous referees with many soft dismissals, Paul the physic Octopus, low ticket sales, reports of crime and violence on tourists, and the Jabulani ball that promised more goals, but failed to deliver.
Did the economic benefits of hosting the World Cup actually outweigh the costs in South Africa? Did the tournament paint a positive light on South Africa for an attractive tourist destination? How can Brazil learn from the mistakes made in South Africa to ensure that Brazil 2014 is a spectacular event; one that enhances the perception of Brazil as a top travel destination, and one that also enhances the local economy?
According to hotel price comparison website Hotels Combined, room prices of most of the major hotel chains in South Africa were actually lower than what they were for the previous World Cup. You’d think that when a big sporting event comes to a city or country, demand outstrips supply, and prices are much more expensive than usual.
Was it due to the international perception of South Africa being a dangerous place? With four years to go before Brazil 2014, how can we ensure that foreigners will have a good perception of Brazil?
According to the Brazilian Football Confederation president, Ricardo Teixeira, Brazil will have to start with upgrading its airports for the increased influx in foreign tourists for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, to be hosted in Rio De Janeiro. With four years to go, there is a lot of work to be done.
As Romario said yesterday “I hope it will be a chance to show you the true face of Brazil. You will see what football means to Brazilians. I am sure the atmosphere will be unprecedented.”
I hope so, too.
new project: the World Cup Brazil 2014