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Will the FIFA World Cup also bring visitors to uShaka Marine World?

Opinion

By Judy Mann    Related African Zoos and Aquariums Gathering in Uganda

…host city preparations, hotel and shebeen (township pubs) upgrades, vuvuzela (large noisy instruments used to cheer the players) manufacturing, hundreds of media events and lots more, the final countdown has started. All eyes are on South Africa to see if Africa really can compete internationally when it comes to events of this magnitude.

What does this mean for uShaka Marine World, which since opening in 2004 has been a key attraction in Durban, one of the host cities? Firstly it meant that there has been money for upgrades and improvements – there’s nothing like an international event taking place in your city to help loosen the local purse strings. Planning for the event has been tricky: Initially more than 450, 000 foreign tourists were forecast, later adjusted to 350, 000 and now estimated at less than 180, 000! uShaka Sea World (part of Marine World) has planned additional dolphin presentations, new exhibits are opening and staff are learning how to say hello in an addition 20 languages.

However, there are lots of questions surrounding an event of such scope as the World Cup. Will fans be deterred by our security situation, its long distance from most commercial centres, long flying time to reach us, limited public transport, etc.? Do football fans visit marine theme parks?  The answers to these questions will be revealed over the course of the next 30 days. uShaka Sea World is hoping for an incident-free World Cup, filled with thousands of guests enjoying our exhibits and presentation. We plan to follow up with another report from the field next month.

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