29 May 2007
Limpopo province will spend R76-million on upgrading the international airport in Polokwane and domestic airports in Giyani and Thohoyandou in preparation for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“We still have to do some work on improving conditions at the Giyani and Thohoyandou airports since these areas are going to be used to host some of the clubs for soccer practice sessions,” said the provincial minister for roads and transport, Justice Piitso.
Presenting his department’s budget in Polokwane last week, Piitso said a further study was underway to investigate the possibility of turning Thohoyandou airport into an aviation academy.
Work is also in progress to turn the Polokwane international airport into a state-of-the-art facility and logistical hub for both cargo and passenger transport.
In 2006, the department spent R13-million to improve navigational aid and R10-million on the construction of part of the terminal building.
“This year we have set aside R28-million for the completion of the terminal building, R31-million for the construction of infrastructure at the cargo hub and R17-million for the development of the Aero City,” Piitso added.
The Aero City will include parking for cars, buses, taxis and rental cars, feeder roads and ring roads around the terminal building.
It will also include water, sewerage and electrical networks for the terminal building area, passenger walkways and a wash bay and offices for car rental companies.
“We have also successfully rationalised the three former airport boards – We now have one board for Gateway Airport Limited, charged with the responsibility of overseeing the turn-around of our airports,” Piitso said.
“We believe that this will bring about efficient and effective management of these important institutions.”
Earlier this month, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique signed agreements to share the tourism spin-offs of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, through “border free” tourism packages.
The Limpopo Tourism Parks Board, Zambia National Tourists Board, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and Mozambique signed the agreement at the Tourism Indaba in Durban.
Together, the parties are called the Limpopo-Zambezi Destination.
The cooperation is premised in the view of the World Cup as an opportunity to position the region as a tourist destination of choice for visitors.
The Limpopo-Zambezi Destination will undertake tourism research and collect data and statistics to help them gain better understanding of the profile of the present travellers and the needs of future market sectors.
Some of the undertaking that would take place includes the branding for Limpopo-Zambezi Destination, and joint marketing strategies in support of the package tours.
Also high on the agenda, was the easing of border formalities to ensure that the passage of travellers through border posts is swift and trouble free.