27 September 2010
The successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup has done wonders for South Africans’ national confidence and the country’s image abroad, according to pre- and post-tournament surveys commissioned by Fifa.
“These findings highlight what we felt all along, that hosting the event in South Africa would prove to be a huge success,” Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke told a media briefing in Johannesburg following a 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee board meeting on Thursday.
“South Africa’s success has created a new benchmark.”
According to the post-tournament survey results, released last week, 84 percent of international guests rated South Africa in an even more positive light after the World Cup than they had done before.
Almost three-quarters of international visitors polled said they were visiting South Africa for the first time. Fans stayed in the host nation for an average of 12 days and combined their stays with other tourist activities.
About 83 percent of international fans polled said they would return to the country, while 94 percent said they would happily recommend a visit to South Africa to their friends and family.
Another aspect rated highly by the international fans was the extent of South Africa’s preparations for the tournament.
The country’s 10 World Cup stadiums, all of which were either newly built or renovated for the event, were appreciated by 99 percent of visitors – a clear show of gratitude for the efforts made by the thousands of workers involved in the event’s construction phase.
Perceptions at home
The post-tournament survey results also showed a major lift in South Africans’ national confidence, with 9 out of 10 South Africans feeling their country had a stronger sense of self-belief, while 87 percent felt more confident in the nation’s capabilities.
The proportion of South Africans who felt that crime would be an issue for international visitors to the country plummeted to 27 percent post-tournament, compared to 66 percent when Fifa conducted its pre-tournament survey in December 2008.
The overriding emotion reflected in the post-event survey was that of pride – mixed with a touch of defiance. About 91 percent of South Africans said they were proud that their country was able to prove the doubters wrong.
When asked in 2008 whether they thought the World Cup would be able to bring the South African people even closer together, 75 percent of those asked had said they believed this was possible.
Post-event findings suggest that the event had strengthened this sentiment, with 91 percent of South Africans saying their country was now more unified.