Across the Republic of South Africa, there’s an all-out effort to put on the best World Cup the world has ever seen. It’s not just the construction of new state of the art sports stadiums; road and infrastructure projects abound. And that means thousands of new jobs across the country.
The travel business is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the World Cup boom. Good news for a sector that has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.
Jenny Baylis, Travel Agent:
“My biggest worry is to keep my staff employed. You know everybody has to have a job. We are not looking to make a fortune. We are just looking to stay alive.”
What happens after the World Cup winds down is a major concern of the International Labour Organization: how to use the once-in- a-lifetime opportunity of the World Cup to create sustainable jobs for South Africans in the future.
Just outside Pretoria, the ILO is running a three day workshop for women entrepreneurs. Representatives of South Africa’s government ministries are explaining how local businesses can build a global client base, using the opportunities offered by the World Cup.
For travel agents like Jenny Baylis and Barbara Walsh, partnerships like those suggested by the ILO are essential to build their businesses, and even create new jobs.
Barbara Walsh, Travel Agent:
“The ILO is an organization we are just starting to work with now. I think they are going to be very useful in terms of giving us exposure toward 2010.”
South Africans are determined that the cheering won’t end when the World Cup does.
Vic van Vuuren, ILO Director Pretoria:
“We have a very passionate audience in this country and on the continent. The idea is that if you fix up these stadia they would be able to be used for other sporting events which will bring in a lot of foreign investment which will create jobs, which is what we are looking for.”
Many hope this vast investment in new facilities and infrastructure in South Africa will pay dividends in the future... by creating jobs that will be around long after the World Cup is over.