World Cup ‘worth every cent’: survey

7 December 2010

Over 309 000 tourists, together spending around R3.6-billion, more than 95% saying they would visit again – a study of the impact of the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ on South Africa’s tourism industry shows that the event was worth every cent invested in it, says Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The results of the study, which was conducted by the Department of Tourism, were presented by Van Schalkwyk in Johannesburg on Monday.

It revealed a radical change in attitudes displayed by foreigners towards South Africa, with those attending matches at stadiums being happy with the country’s security personnel and hospitality, and more than 95% of visitors saying they would be returning to the country in the future.

“The survey results show that more than two-thirds of the tourists who visited South Africa during the World Cup rated the country as an extremely good host … and others felt we were better hosts than other countries they had experienced,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Total awareness up by 9%

Total awareness of South Africa as a leisure destination increased by 9% following the event, the study found. About 59% of the people interviewed said they were visiting the country for the first time.

According to the survey, more than 309 000 tourists arrived in South Africa between June and July for the primary purposes of attending the World Cup, and contributed about R3.6-billion to the domestic economy through spending.

Before the global financial crisis of 2008-09, some analysts had put the expected number of visitors for Africa’s first Fifa World Cup as high as 450 000.

Van Schalkwyk said, however, that even this final visitors’ figure was good news for the country, adding that it was a “very conservative” figure that excluded the Fifa family.

‘Worth all the time and money spent’

“There were many numbers that were thrown around before and after the tournament, but what we are announcing today is the figure of people who came to South Africa only for the purposes of the World Cup, and it is good news in terms of our tourism … it was worth all the time, the investment and the money,” he said.

The total expenditure in South Africa by tourists who came specifically for the tournament was R3.64-billion, with Europeans leading the pack, followed by the United States. The overall average spend per tourist was R11 800, which was higher than the average tourist spend of R8 400 in 2008.

Van Schalkwyk said South Africa had worked tirelessly, from the moment it was announced as the host in May 2004, to make sure it hosted the best World Cup ever.

“We planned, invested and implemented our vision in the face of fierce scepticism, even outright disbelief that we could deliver on our commitments,” he said.

The World Cup, he said, had been about building a legacy for South Africa and the continent. He called on the tourism industry to be encouraged by the statistics, and to take advantage of the ongoing positive spinoffs created by the tournament.

Source: BuaNews