Tourism in South Africa is poised for massive growth in the run-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, said First National Bank.
Pieter de Bruin, the head of FNB's Solutions for Tourism division, said new business ventures were set to take off and existing ones were looking to grow as the country prepares to welcome the world.
The bank said, based on the statistics it gathered at the Tourism Indaba in Durban a fortnight ago, there was a 300percent increase in projected figures for potential business coming through the bank during the Indaba as existing and potential tourism business operators applied for finance packages.
"People who approached us ranged from those looking for commercial property financing to buy or build new buildings for accommodation, to businesses looking to finance new assets such as buses," said De Bruin.
He said an analysis of business activity at the FNB branch located at the Durban International Convention Centre also showed increased foreign currency sales driven by the number of foreign visitors to the Indaba.
He said the high number of tourists attending such events represented a significant boost for the local economy. "I believe these numbers are set to increase in the run-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, giving local entrepreneurs business opportunities in the tourism industry," he said.
"Increasingly we hear about opportunities offered by the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but the local industry should be working towards 2009, which is the year for the Confederations Cup, the precursor to the World Cup, as well as the British and Irish Lions rugby tours, which will bring thousands of visitors to South Africa."