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Durban hotels take a tip from 'Baywatch'

By Liz Clarke

Facing a glut of unsold hotel rooms just days before the 2010 World Cup kicks off, the South African resort town of Durban, which bills itself as "the warmest place to be" during the month-long tournament, is resorting to a racy ad campaign it hopes will coax tourists to town.

According to Tuesday's [Johannesburg] Times, Durban hotel owners are retaining the services of "bikini-clad babes and surfer dudes in board shorts" to distribute flyers and sunblock at busy intersections in the cities of Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.

June and July, of course, are winter months in South Africa.

The unsold inventory of hotels was caused in part, the article suggests, by the decision of FIFA's hospitality arm, Match, to reserve thousands of Durban rooms in advance of the world's biggest sporting event. That created the impression among soccer fans who didn't deal with Match that rooms couldn't be had in the coastal town, host of five first-round matches, including the June 25 Portugal-Brazil showdown, and two in the knock-out round. But in the last two weeks Match released its grip on thousands of unsold rooms, creating a glut amid scant demand.

"A dilemma has been created, [and] it's devastating," Jane Pillay, of Durban's Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper.

By Liz Clarke  |  June 8, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , South Africa  | Tags: 2010 World Cup, Durban, hotels  
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Somehow, I think Frankie "Hey, Dude" is somewhere in Durban, board in hand, zinc oxide on the nose.

Posted by: delantero | June 8, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Add Nani to the list of the injured. Portugal was already in a world of hurt.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 8, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised to find this, as I looked at Durban:

"Google has released a bunch of new StreetView imagery in South Africa just in time for the world cup. As Google Maps Mania points out, the imagery not only captures the outside of the stadiums, but it goes inside them as well!"

FIFA/SA/etc messed up. As soon as I read about hotel prices and availability, I decided that it wasn't worth trying. I wasn't about to go to Africa without a reservation.

Posted by: Reignking | June 8, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Great job!

Posted by: nairbsod | June 8, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, these google map stadium views are awesome.

Posted by: Reignking | June 8, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Racy ads always work. Thats why I moonlight as an underwear model.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 8, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

They've done a great job with Nelspruit's stadium, and avoiding the slums next door in Mataffin.

Posted by: Reignking | June 8, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Nani are you OK?
are you OK?
are you OK Nani?

Posted by: jezz | June 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Weatherwise, when is the nicest time of year to go to one of South Africa's beautiful beach resorts and get eaten by a Great White Shark?

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 8, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

""FREDDY Adu’s agent has refused to close the door on the American superstar making a shock move to St Mary’s. ""

American, cough, cough, "superstar"?

Posted by: delantero | June 8, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou108 | June 8, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

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