Gauteng's preparations for the 2010 Soccer World Cup are under way and offered good opportunities for economic development in the province, premier Mbhazima Shilowa said yesterday.
The first phase of the refurbishment of the George Thabe, Sinaba and HM Pitje stadiums was finished, Shilowa said at the opening of the Gauteng legislature.
"We plan to complete phase two of the Sinaba and HM Pitje stadia by the end of the next financial year," he said.
Fan parks were also being developed for the watching of matches, Shilowa said.
"In July the concept of fan parks will be piloted when the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown will be turned into a fan park for the Telkom Challenge matches," he said.
Shilowa said an integrated 2010 plan for Gauteng that would also inform the private sector about economic opportunities being generated by preparations for 2010 was due to be launched at the end next month.
"The World Cup holds prospects for us to provide a world class event, while dealing with our priorities such as accelerated economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation," he said.
To illustrate his point Shilowa said that tourism last year had increased by 10 percent since 2004.
He also said that Gauteng's hosting of SoccerEx, the largest soccer business exhibition in the world, over the next three years would be used to show the province's readiness for 2010. - Sapa