SA, a big hit with overseas visitors

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pretoria - South Africa has proved to be more popular with World Cup visitors than previously thought.

Figures from accounting firm, Grant Thornton, show that visitors during the 2010 FIFA tournament were close to 400 000 - a good 27 000 more than the initial estimate made in April.

Overseas visitors are thought to be around the 270 000 mark, with a possible 130 000 African visitors having thronged to South Africa for the event.

Local industries benefit

This is good news for South Africa's tourism sector, which enjoyed a sizeable chunk of the R38 billion injected into the economy. Foreign visitors spent roughly R30 000 per person.

"What it confirms is that the tourism industry benefitted from significant numbers of additional arrivals," said Michael Tatalias, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.

Results from South African Tourism's departure surveys for the June/July tournament were still outstanding. Grant Thornton stats were adjusted to accommodate this.

"The figure has been adjusted to take into consideration the displacement factor of regular tourists who opted not to visit SA during the event, as well as those tourists who were in the country but did not come for the football," the firm said.

The aviation sector was not left out of the action either, as a staggering number of Africans arrived for the World Cup by plane.

A slight damper was that potential visitors opted not to come to South Africa after their teams were knocked out of the tournament.

However, droves of fans flocked to South Africa as their home teams came close to reaching the final stages. These most notably came from countries like Germany, Netherlands and Spain.