Ekurhuleni rolls out the welcome mat

THE EKURHULENI Municipality might not be hosting the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup, but it is pulling out all stops to contribute to the success of the two tournaments.

THE EKURHULENI Municipality might not be hosting the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup, but it is pulling out all stops to contribute to the success of the two tournaments.

Ekurhuleni has announced that it will put R14million towards the construction of a welcome village near the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park.

Vulindlela Mapekula, the councillor in charge of the 2010 projects, said the village would be situated at Dries Niemand Park, about five minutes' drive from the airport. It is being touted as a perfect first stop for tourists after landing in the country.

"There will be a shuttle service that will whisk the visitors to the village where they will catch their breath after a long flight, find their bearings and do all their booking and shopping," Mapekula said.

"It will offer visitors a taste of the romance of Africa, where they will enjoy live performances all day long, including music, street theatre, drumming and dance.

"A circle of huts and stalls will offer ticket and accommodation booking, information on local restaurants and entertainment, food, gifts and souvenirs.

"The welcome village will present local performers with an international audience, while giving service providers a marketing platform.

"We want to leave an everlasting impression in the minds of the international world."

Joe Mojapelo, Ekurhuleni's 2010 general manager, said: "Our city [municipality] is responsible for creating a powerful, uniquely African first impression of the whole country."

He said that the city will also use the Confederations Cup to test some of the features of a fan park at the venue.

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