Ticket sales slow for World Cup
January 22, 2007
WORLD Cup organisers have admitted that ticket sales are not going as well as they had hoped for, with just 50 days to go until the opening fixture in Jamaica. And the hassle of obtaining the special visa has even led to cancellations.
Josef Forstmayr, managing director of Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay, Jamaica, gave the Miami Herald his version of the situation.
"This is the worst public relations nightmare the Caribbean has ever created for itself," he said.
Earlier in January, European tour operators, fans and Jamaican tourism workers criticised Caribbean leaders over the visa situation.
The Caricom visa is designed to allow easy travel from one host country to the next, plus Dominica, during the tournament.
Applicants must either walk in or post their passports to the nearest visa-issuing office along with $100 (£51) - and wait.
Both the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) and the Tourism Minister have reported cancellations because of visa requirements.
George Goodwin, chief executive of the Antigua and Barbuda organising committee, admitted: "Ticket sales are not going as robust as people had hoped." Overall organiser Chris Dehring said: "We are starting to feel the pressure of the Caribbean market.
''This event has faced so many challenges that at this stage everything is full steam ahead. The little hiccups are simply rolled out.
He still expects ''a strong level of turnout'' during the 47 days of matches in nine Caribbean countries.
But across the region there are fears that the massive cost of raising the region's infrastructure could be wasted money. (BBC Sport)