US$45 million World Cup boost for SA

world-cup_2010JOHANNESBURG -- The ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup finals have provided a US$45 million boost to the South African economy so far, according to new cardholder spending data released by Visa last week in Johannesburg.

Visa said during the period leading up to the kickoff of the tournament, and the first week of the showcase, spending by international visitors in South Africa on Visa-branded payment cards exceeded US$128 million (R974 million), up 54 percent from US$83 million (R629 million) during the same period in 2009.

The number of transactions from June 1 through June 20 was 900 000 (45 000 per day on average), up 60 percent from nearly 600 000 (30 000 a day on average) during the same 20 days in 2009, the company said.

The money spent by international visitors on their Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards on the first ten days of the FIFA World Cup (Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 20) alone showed an increase of 81 percent over the same period in 2009.

Visa spending data indicates that the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Australia, France and Brazil have been the strongest contributors to tourism spending to date.

These five countries alone accounted for 51 percent of spending. Over 90 percent of spending was in typical leisure and business travel categories — accommodation, restaurants, retail, auto rental and air travel.

“One can see it for oneself on the streets and in the shopping malls of the nine host cities and now were seeing the real-time data,” Visa global head of sponsorship management Michael Lynch said in a statement. “The international visitors have come and they are spending with their Visa cards. The spending is spread right across the 120 000 merchants that accept Visa in South Africa.

The sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is working extremely well for Visa with promotional activities occurring in close to 100 countries, involving 500 financial institutions and merchants. We also have approximately 4 000 competition prize winners coming to South Africa for the tournament and the first waves of those have had a great experience, added Lynch.

South African tourism authorities last month said they expect 300 000 visitors for the Soccer World Cup, down from an initial forecast of 450 000, but the country remains confident the event will boost the tourism industry in South Africa and neighbouring countries, including Zimbabwe where a decade-long political crisis has scared away potential visitors.

Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News

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