More than 450000 fans visit SA

ABOUT 110000 foreign visitors came to South Africa for the opening days of the World Cup, organisers said yesterday, with a similar number of South Africans also returning from overseas.

ABOUT 110000 foreign visitors came to South Africa for the opening days of the World Cup, organisers said yesterday, with a similar number of South Africans also returning from overseas.

Local Organising Committee spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said foreign arrivals were up by about one third compared with the first part of last June, with the increase believed to be largely World Cup fans.

He said a total of 456000 foreigners visited the country from June 1 to 13, up from about 345000 during the same period last year.

"This increase for 2010 can clearly be attributed to Fifa World Cup activities," Mkhondo said.

The Home Affairs Department also indicated that a large number of South Africans returned from overseas for the games. It said about 140000 additional South Africans entered the country compared with the same period in June last year.

The department said arrivals were expected to keep rising as the tournament continued.

"We are quite sure that this figure will continue increasing as the World Cup progresses," it said.

South Africa expects 300000 foreign visitors during the four-week tournament, down from an initial forecast of 450000. - Sapa-AFP

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