Luring World Cup Tourists with Street Beautification Projects in Johannesburg

Residents in one of Johannesburg's most infamous townships are hoping that a new street beautification project will bring pedestrians out onto their streets and into their shops when the country hosts this year's World Cup.

The Soweto township is one of the city's biggest black townships, and has for decades been a rough and tumble shantytown. The new street project aims to bring sidewalks, benches and other streetfront amenities to lure pedestrians during the World Cup, which begins in June.

"Until recently, its best-known street, Vilakazi Street, was potholed and dusty. But now, in an $8 million gentrification project, the street has been freshly paved and beautified with streetlights, benches and other "street furniture." Concrete pillars have been installed to prevent motorists from parking on the newly widened sidewalks, so that tourists can stroll freely along the upscale boulevard of cafes and museums.

The ambition is to persuade visitors to venture out of the tour buses. If they are on foot, the tourists will spend more time on the street -- and more money."

Full Story: South Africa's mean streets get facelift ahead of World Cup

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