There's nothing like a major sporting event to get the juices flowing. An Olympic Games or a world cup in a major sport usually means cities go into meltdown. New venues are built, hotels pop up and others have facelifts and transport is fine tuned.
South Africa is hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup and more than $3 billion is being invested in new hotels, transport with 21,000 brand-new buses hitting the streets and high hopes of visitors returning home singing the country's praises. Thirty-two countries will compete and it begins on June 11, 2010. Go to www.fifa.com/worldcup for details.
Closer to home, next year will be huge for New Zealand with the coming of the Rugby World Cup. Twenty-three centres 16 in the North Island and seven in the South Island will host one of the 20 teams. The event is exciting fans, with some games already sold out. It will start and finish in Auckland and run from September 9 to October 23, 2011. For more information, visit www.rugbyworldcup.com.
The year 2012 will have London in the spotlight as it hosts the Olympic Games. It will be the first city to host the summer games three times and billions of dollars has been poured into the city to upgrade transport and tourist facilities. About 23,000 hotel rooms are being built and it's all go to be ready for the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. The games will run until August 21, 2012. The official site is www.london2012.com.
It will be Russia's turn to host the Olympic Winter Games in 2014 and no doubt they are busy preparing. Sochi will be the host city and it's the first time Russia has held the games. They will run from February 7 to 23, 2014.
Brazil will be the place to be in 2014. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and roll out the red carpet again in 2016 for the Olympic Games. It's the first time they've been held in South America. By 2020, Brazil expects a flow-on from the huge sporting events to increase international tourist numbers by 113 percent.