In a little less than 2 years, South Africa will become the only country on its continent to ever host the FIFA World Cup. That is, unless FIFA decides that the country is unprepared and moves the world’s most watched soccer tournament to one of the alternate locations it has already selected. There are concerns about stadiums and infrastructure projects being completed on time. South Africa has announced that a stadium in Port Elizabeth will not be fully constructed by the time a major tune-up tournament is slated to be played there next summer. In addition, the country is plagued by power outages and high crime rates.
But South Africa seems unconcerned and claims that everything will be ready well before the first shot on goal. To promote themselves to travelers, the country’s tourist organization is beginning a major PR push on the BBC World Services Network. The campaign will include television commercial, documentary-style vignettes about destinations in South Africa and an online, user-generated travel guide. It remains to be seen if these efforts will help the country’s image. It could all be undone if FIFA pulls the plug on South Africa 2010.