Times Live South Africa has reported the Department of Home Affairs as stating that in the first seven days of the tournament 456,000 people entered South Africa for the World Cup. This is really great news for Tourism in South Africa and even better news for the South African economy; particularly after forecast numbers were revised down to about 370,000. It is now estimated that more than 500,000 foreign tourists are expected before the end of the World Cup. What is even more encouraging is that 130,000 visitors are from the USA. Because of our being a long haul destination, a holiday in South Africa does not appear to be as popular with the USA, as with European countries. We hope that the experiences shared by these visitors with friends and family will result in greater interest from this massive and affluent market.
Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa , Danny Jordaan is in no doubt about the impact of the World Cup on tourism , and said that “People are seeing that we have world-class facilities, and we have delivered." His organising committee expects a "second wave" of visitors for the knockout rounds, depending upon the outcome of the current rounds. Jordaan said the international marketing boost South Africa was receiving, with more than 500 million viewers worldwide watching the World Cup matches daily could not be quantified. It is certain that South African tourism, which has remained robust during the recession, will enjoy further growth. By now the world knows that South Africa can deliver, and that it is a safe and friendly holiday destination.
There are major benefits for the economy from the World Cup tournament - South African Tourism conservatively estimates that each visitor will spend R12,000 during his stay which could mean that they would have injected just under R 2.5 billion to the country's economy in the first week of the tournament alone. Grant Thornton research has estimated that World Cup tournament will contribute an estimated ZAR 4 billion into the South African economy. This will be spent mostly on tourism, airlines, hotels and other accommodation, bars, restaurants and shops; good news for all involved in the hospitality industry. With the school holidays and patriotic fervour, local consumer spending has also been stimulated.
Gauteng is said to be the biggest economic beneficiary as a majority of the fans, sponsors and media are basing themselves in Gauteng due to the number of games taking place in Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounding towns .
Danny Jordaan went on to add "What we are thrilled about is we have tourists from countries like Chile, Uruguay and Mexico, which we haven't had before. "From only having 300 Mexican tourists a year we now have 15000 of them in the country. And, if they go through to the next round, we anticipate this to go up to 25000."
Hotels which were faced with massive cancellations by MATCH are also benefiting from the increased numbers of visitors. Legacy Hotels & Resorts marketing director Mr. Brian Davidson said more than 50% of rooms released by Match Event Services in Sandton had been booked by international guests. His group expected an increase in bookings once teams secured places in the last 16. “Our revenues have been better than the average June and July period," he said.
Cape Town appears to have fewer visitors and may not benefit to the same extent, but considering that it is our winter season , the World Cup will certainly brighten the tourism industry. The City of Cape Town's executive director for tourism, Mansoor Mohamed estimates the visitor spend for Cape Town could be between R8 -11 billion.
The tournament is only half way through, but the excitement and passion remains high throughout our country. The social networks and the Internet are filled with the good things that our international visitors have to say about South Africa. Lets’ all of us in the hospitality industry hope that when tourists are planning where to stay in Cape Town they will be sure to know that the extensive range of non hotel accommodation will be able to meet all of their needs, and ensure them of an enjoyable Cape Town holiday.