Saturday, April 4, 2009

India promises a good supply of tourists, says Kerzner

India would be an "interesting" source market for tourism to South Africa and hosting the Indian premier cricket league tournament next month would be a huge stroke of luck, Sol Kerzner, founder of the Sun International and Southern Sun hotel chains, said on Thursday.

The cricket tournament is expected to bring thousands of visitors from India.

Kerzner said his new One and Only resort, due to open in Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront next week, was expected to attract visitors from the US, UK, Germany, Russia and the Middle East, as well as India.

It is also being marketed to South Africans and, despite earlier statements that it was aimed at attracting the super-rich to this country, Kerzner said prices would be reasonably competitive with other five-star hotels in Cape Town.

Dismissing suggestions that the super-rich were not a market that would be attracted by the 2010 World Cup, he said: "Soccer attracts people right across the board. But hosting the World Cup is going to do a lot for South African tourism as a whole.

"Think of it as a huge lucky break that will benefit the industry for years afterwards."

Kerzner, who won the nickname of the Sun King, was the first to think in terms of developing resorts as distinct from single luxury hotels in South Africa. 

He developed Sun City in what was then Bophuthatswana, where legislation against gaming then in force in South Africa did not apply. 

After selling his interests here he was prevented by restraint of trade agreements from launching any new developments in this country until about two years ago. 

He went on to develop resorts and hotels in the US, the Caribbean, Dubai and other parts of the world. 

The One and Only is his first venture in South Africa since then. "This country has everything needed to attract tourists," he said.