Major boost for SA economy during World Cup

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The South African economy is receiving a massive boost from international tourists who are in the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This is according to the latest new card holder spending data from Visa.

During the period leading up to the kick-off of the World Cup and the first week of tournament matches, spending by international visitors on Visa-branded payment cards exceeded US$128 million (R974 million), up 54 percent from US$83 million (R629 million) during the same period in 2009.

The number of transactions from 1 June through 20 June was 900,000 (45,000 per day on average), up 60 percent from nearly 600,000 (30,000 a day on average) during the same 20 days in 2009.

The money spent by international visitors on their Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards on the first ten days of the FIFA World Cup showed an increase of 81 percent over the same period in 2009.

Visa spending data indicates that the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Australia, France and Brazil have been the strongest contributors to tourism spending to date.

These five countries alone accounted for 51 percent of spending. Over 90 percent of spending was in typical leisure and business travel categories accommodation, restaurants, retail, auto rental and air travel.

Michael Lynch, Global Head of Sponsorship Management at Visa said: "You can see it for yourself on the streets and in the shopping malls of the nine host cities and now we're seeing the real-time data.

He said the spending is spread right across the 120,000 merchants that accept Visa in South Africa.

"The sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is working extremely well for Visa with promotional activities occurring in close to 100 countries, involving 500 financial institutions and merchants.

"We also have approximately 4,000 competition prize winners coming to South Africa for the tournament and the first waves of those have had a great experience," he said.

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