Kate Simon: It's not too late for footie fans, or phobics, to plan their escape

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

There's nothing worse than having half the nation glued to the sofa goggling at the World Cup – at least from the point of view of Britain's tour operators. What to do? Catch World Cup fever, obviously.

That's why if we aren't being encouraged to jump on a plane to escape the football, Britain's travel companies are trying to sell us holidays where we can see every kick of the ball. Even as the tournament begins, the deals continue to come thick and fast as travel companies try to distract us from our television screens or offer sanctuary from the blanket coverage.

Take, for example, Regaldive, which is offering footie-phobics weekly departures during the tournament for sub-aqua diving holidays at Marsa Alam on the Red Sea. The accommodation is in a rural location where there are no TVs or radios to intrude with the latest scores. On the other hand, the same company can package a diving holiday by the Red Sea in Hurghada with access to a big screen for every match.

Even destinations currently out of favour are jumping on the bandwagon. The Foreign Office may be continuing to counsel caution to visitors to Thailand as the political situation there remains unstable, but Centara Hotels & Resorts, a Thai chain, is undeterred. It is "relocating the World Cup" to the South-east Asian country with the promise of live and recorded matches complemented by specially themed food and drink at its properties, which have been appropriately decorated.

And some companies are trying to turn the tournament to their long-term advantage. The self-catering holiday company Pierre & Vacances is currently running a World Cup Lotto. Stay at one of its properties in France, Spain or Italy during the next few weeks and if your host country wins a game during your stay, you will get €100 off the price of your next holiday with the company.

Of course, you can always rustle up your own football-themed break by visiting one of the International Fifa Fan Fest cities. After the success of the public viewing events at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, Fifa went global with the concept, naming Paris, Berlin, Rome, Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney as the hosts for 2010. As well as watching live play on giant screens, visitors to the six cities can enjoy special events from football displays to concerts.

And for the ultimate World Cup holiday, it's still possible to get out to South Africa. Nathan Wilson, managing director of Thomson Sport, one of the Fifa-appointed World Cup agents, says that while the company has almost sold out of packages it has a few left for the final. "We feel some fans are holding off until they see if England go through to the quarter-finals," he said. It'll cost a pretty penny, though. Return flights, three nights at a three-star hotel, and a Category 3 ticket to the final will set you back at least £5,995.

Now, you'd have to be delirious with World Cup fever to spend that kind of money on a game of football. Wouldn't you?

Got a travel issue?

Email sunday travel@independent.co.uk

Comments