Germany well-prepared to host Red DevilsPeter Blumenstengel, the director of relations with Korea and Japan at the German National Tourist Office, talked recently about Germany’s preparations to greet Korean football fans during the FIFA World Cup 2006 taking place there from June 9 to July 9.
He reassured the Red Devils ― Korea’s official supporters club ― who haven’t got tickets to see the World Cup games that there will be facilities and programs to accommodate them outside the stadiums in which Korea will play. Mr. Blumenstengel said he expects around 20,000 Korean tourists to visit Germany this summer for the tournament and hopes that their passionate cheering will fill the stadiums.
He told the JoongAng Ilbo that even without World Cup tickets, visitors need not be worried about missing the games. The German National Tourist Office has already prepared various programs to welcome these fans and has set up stations, called “Fan Fests,” to accommodate any Red Devils who could not get tickets to see their national team play.
Mr. Blumenstengel says the Korea versus Togo game in Frankfurt is expected be the biggest outdoor cheering event during the World Cup. The tourism office plans to create a space for the Red Devils to cheer near the Commerzbank Arena, in which the game will take place, as well as installing a 12 by 10 meter screen on the deck of a boat on the river, so that fans can see the games from both river banks.
The office is also going to designate “Fan Fest” sites in Leipzig and Hanover, in which the Korea-France and Korea-Switzerland games are to be held.
As for accommodation and transportation for Korean fans, Mr. Blumenstengel said that the German hotel reservation service (www.hrs.de) has been upgraded for better service.
He added that the three stadiums in which the Korean national team will play are near their host cities’ train stations so visitors who have a FIFA or Eurail pass will not have a problem traveling to see the games.
Mr. Blumenstengel went on to say that if visitors checked the train schedules (www.bahn.de), they could ensure they would not be late to the games because of transportation problems.
He smiled as he mentioned that even though Germany and Korea played against each other during the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2002, he hopes the two teams will meet in the final this year.
by Cho Yong-chul