Fifa World Cup helps boost SA tourism

THE 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has increased tourism in the country.

THE 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has increased tourism in the country.

This week the Department of Home Affairs announced that 682507 tourists entered the country.

Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the movement control system recorded more than 1,7million people moving in and out of the country and 916097 of these were arrivals, including South Africans, into the country.

"During the same period last year, 735907 people, including South Africans, were recorded and 541065 of these people were foreign nationals," she said.

Yesterday South African Tourism chief executive, Thandiwe January-McLean said the tournament had done well in marketing South Africa globally.

"At any one time, more than 400million people are watching the game. The exposure has been great for us. The World Cup has helped us do away with stereotypes about the country.

"The feedback we have received from tourists has been a surprise and it has been mostly positive feedback."

Roshene Singh, chief marketing officer of South African Tourism, said: "The day after the World Cup final in Germany we started with our marketing campaign.

"We have invested about 100million dollars and it has reached at least a billion people on a monthly basis.

"Our message has always been that we are ready not only with infrastructure but the people are also ready to welcome the world. We hope to increase our tourists figure by between 20 and 25percent over the next five years."

Singh said South Africa was capable of hosting huge events.

"Last year we hosted the Lions (rugby) Tour, the Confederations Cup and the Indian Premier League. We are also the only country that has staged the Soccer World Cup, Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup."

Data released by Visa yesterday indicates that from June 1 to 11 international tourists spent more than R974million. The data indicates that the UK, US, Australia, France and Brazil have contributed 51percent of the total expenditure.

Most of the spending was on accommodation, restaurants, retail, car rentals and air travel.

Mozambique and Botswana are also in the top 10 spenders with R29million and R26million respectively.