London, Mar. 2 (ANI): Just 100 days ahead of the soccer World Cup, fears are being raised that 'beyond reach' flights and accommodation costs could deter fans from travelling to South Africa.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valke admitted that its original estimate of 450,000 foreign visitors to the tournament is unlikely to be achieved.
The World Cup organiser is also cagey about apparently sluggish ticket sales that have left 700,000 out of three million available tickets unsold, Sky News reports.
Some of the tickets are now being marketed at cut prices to South African fans.
Huge hikes in accommodation prices in the country, combined with expensive air fares have served to put the tournament beyond reach.
In some areas of South Africa, hotels are charging four times the standard room rate during the tournament, and allegations of profiteering have prompted the country's tourism minister to launch an investigation.
Kevin Miles of the English Football Supporters' Federation said South Africa was in danger of isolating foreign fans.
"We've been recommending to the South Africans for months now that they will be making a mistake in regarding this as a four-week opportunity to cash in on visiting football fans," he was quoted, as saying.
"They would be far better advised to use the opportunity to showcase the country from the point of view of return visitors and making sure people have as positive experience as they can," he added.
Most of the matches for the tournament are now a sell-out, but there are still fears of poor attendances at some of the lower profile games. (ANI)