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TOURISM organisations yesterday blamed the global recession and high airfares for the lower than expected turnout of 2010 Fifa World Cup tourists.
The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) and Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) said in a joint statement: "We believe that in a different economic climate, demand would have extended to areas outside the host cities and to the wide variety of non-hotel accommodation options available in South Africa.
"Had it not been for the global recession we faced during the critical reservation periods of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, South Africa would have secured a significantly higher level of visitors, which in turn would have necessitated the full use of all room inventory."
The two tourism bodies also said there were other contributing factors.
These included "the high airfares that temporarily prevailed at the time of the final draw and the inflexibility of service providers looking to secure contracts for 33 days".
Match, which was officially mandated by soccer governing body Fifa to provide accommodation during the tournament, initially contracted accommodation for 450000 visitors.
But Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said last month that the number of expected World Cup visitors had been revised downwards to 300000. - Sapa