JOHANNESBURG, Dec 26 – More than 309 000 tourists arrived in South Africa between June and July for the 2010 World Cup earning the country’s domestic economy about R3.6 billion (Sh36 billion) through spending.
According to statistics released by the South Africa’s National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism (SAT), 38 percent of these arrivals were from Africa, followed by 24 percent from Europe, 13 percent from Central and South America and 11 percent from North America.
Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana accounted for the top three African source markets whose visitors arrived by road while Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya had the most air arrivals.
“There were many numbers that were thrown around before and after the tournament, but what we are announcing today is the figure of people who came to South Africa only for the purposes of the World Cup and its good news in terms of our tourism. It was worth all the time, the investment and the money,” said South Africa’s Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
He pointed out that the World Cup attracted a large number of first time visitors to South Africa, particularly from the Americas with the average spend per tourist being Sh118, 000.
“The total expenditure in South Africa by tourists who came specifically for the tournament was R3.64 billion, with Europeans leading the pack followed by the United States. The overall average spend per tourist was R11 800 a figure officials said was higher than the annual overall spent in South Africa in 2008, which was R8 400,” he added.
Out of the more than R3.6 billion tourism earnings, European tourists contributed almost 25 percent (R954 million), followed by Central and South America (R641.1 million), land arrivals from our continent (R585.2 million) and North America (R555.1 million).
More than 30 percent of the spend was on shopping, followed by 20 percent on accommodation, 19 percent on food and drink, 16 percent on leisure and 11 percent on transport he further explained.
The survey results show that more than two thirds of the tourists who visited South Africa during the World Cup rated the country as an extremely good host, with a further 29 percent rating the country as good.
More than half of the tourists who had attended other World Cup events in the past also felt that South Africa was a better host than other countries they had experienced.
“Tourists were highly satisfied with their visits, and 72 percent rated their experience as extremely good. More than 90 percent of tourists said their experience of the country was better than they had expected before arriving.
Mr Schalkwyk said his country is reaping the rewards of hosting the tournament which has also positioned South Africa as a viable investment market.
“We are very pleased to note from the report that South Africa is indeed enjoying increased international positive exposure directly because of the World Cup. From our latest tourist arrivals figures, we also see that beyond the World Cup our arrivals are continuing to grow strongly,” he enthused.
Tourist arrivals from January to September 2010 for instance increased by 16.8 percent to 5.94 million compared to the same period in 2009.