KZN nods to probe on World Cup prices

THE KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development and tourism has welcomed Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk's plan to conduct a survey on all accommodation providers for the 2010 Word Cup.

THE KwaZulu-Natal department of economic development and tourism has welcomed Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk's plan to conduct a survey on all accommodation providers for the 2010 Word Cup.

Van Schalkwyk made the statement after allegations surfaced that some property owners were inflating prices they intended charging tourists. He said the hiking of accommodation prices could hamper the future of the country's tourism industry.

The minister said they would compare prices with those of countries that had hosted the tournament. He said the three-week survey would be conducted by Grant Thornton and the findings made public.

Department of economic development and tourism spokesperson Bheko Madlala said they had heard of such allegations and were planning to meet key players in the hospitality sector address such issues if they existed.

"We think instead of hiking up the prices we should use the World Cup as a springboard to attract tourists to KwaZulu-Natal and the country as a whole."

Madlala said price hiking would have a negative effect on the country's tourism business in the long run.

Melani Nel, who trades in accommodation in Pinetown, said it was understandable for property owners to want to charge more due to the European currency but insisted that it must be done to afford extra things that would entertain visitors.

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