The international Rezidor hotel group, which is already established in this country, sees huge opportunity for expansion following the success of the
World Cup, according to Kurt Ritter, the company’s president and chief executive.
He said it was “short-term thinking” that had made some people in the trade give way to disappointment because the event had not been followed immediately by the forecast rise in tourists from overseas.
This was normally the low season and the worldwide television coverage had made South Africa better known.
Millions of people now knew that South Africa was a peaceful country that was no more dangerous than New York.
“In fact there are already signs of a pick-up in arrivals”, said Ritter. “I was hard put to find a seat on a flight to Johannesburg (from Europe). Lufthansa and Air France, each with 500 seats on their Airbus A380s, and Swiss International airline, were all full.”
His group, which opened its first five-star Radisson Blu hotel in Sea Point 10 years ago, has two new ones within 500m of each other in Sandton. Rezidor plans to roll out a secondary chain of mid-market Park Inn hotels all over South Africa in sizeable towns such as Polokwane and Umtata at a rate of two a year.