Varsities' World Cup windfall

The universities have been accredited as one-star backpacking facilities for the duration of the cup.

Johannesburg University spokesman Herman Esterhuizen said his institution had made a “substantial upfront investment” in upgrading its residences.

“All the residences were renovated in the three years leading up to the event to comply with the standards set by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa,” he said.

The university has sealed two “multimillion-rand deals” with a hospitality management agency and German tour operator.

More than 5000 beds have been made available at the university’s Doornfontein, Bunting Road and Kingsway campuses.

In Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University spokeswoman Roslyn Baatjies said they hired out their “facilities” every year over the June and December holidays and “2010 will be no different”.

The NMMU has booked out all of its 1800 student beds to police officers from around the Eastern Cape to cover the series of matches to be played in the city.

Wits University spokeswoman Shirona Patel said her institution has booked out 1100 beds during the World Cup to a company “catering for the youth market”.

Not only universities are gearing for the cup. Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto has transformed some classes into hotel rooms to accommodate tourists over the period.

The school, made famous by the 1976 Soweto uprisings, is one of 256 around the country that stands to make R150000 each from hosting visitors.

School principal Elias Mashile said it was important for visitors to learn about the country’s turbulent history.

Source: www.thetimes.co.za, 20100222

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