The successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ brought a tourism boon to South Africa between June and July of this year and gave the Rainbow Nation a grand new look on the international stage.
It is from this resounding triumph that South Africa aspires to restore a reputation for being a tourist destination of choice to visitors across the globe. According to results from a research study conducted by South African tourism there has been a radical change of mindset from tourists who visited the country during the tournament – most of whom were sceptical about the country before the World Cup because of what they had read in the media about the country before they arrived.
It is this swaying of minds, probably more than any of the other achievements, that will be the legacy of hosting the event. Just over 300,000 tourists visited South Africa to watch the FIFA World Cup, an impressive figure for the country especially during a time when South Africa’s local authorities were worried that the global financial crisis might put off people from travelling to the country.
Amongst other things, the tourism report noted that most people who visited the tip of the Southern African continent are keen to come back and explore the country further as tourists. Nine cities hosted the finals in South Africa, but out of those, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban were the most popular spots for tourists. Johannesburg is the business hub of South Africa, while Cape Town and Durban remain prime tourist destinations. Approximately 90 per cent of tourists who attended the 2010 FIFA World Cup mentioned that they would consider visiting South Africa again in the future and nearly all were willing to recommend the country to their friends and relatives.
According to the report, a total of 309,554 foreign tourists arrived in South Africa for the primary purpose of attending the 2010 FIFA World Cup between June and July and those tourists spent about R3,64 billion during their stay.
The study also revealed that:
- The average person who visited the country during the event spent just over ten nights in South Africa. There were a number of issues contributing to time spent in the country. Some fans returned home after their teams were eliminated and some arrived in South Africa during the event following the success of their teams.
- Out of the places fans visited, Gauteng (Johannesburg, Pretoria), Western Cape (Cape Town) and KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) were the most visited provinces. Shopping and enjoying nightlife were the two most common activities which tourists engaged in, apart from watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- The total awareness of South Africa as a leisure destination increased by nine per cent after the FIFA World Cup. Tourists also found their experience in the country much better than they expected before arriving.
- The 2010 FIFA World Cup did help improve the negative perceptions South Africa has on safety and security issues and as a value-for-money destination.
- Even though the tournament was held in winter, the Fan Parks were a popular choice for many supporters. The most visited Fan Parks were also in Gauteng , KwaZulu-Natal, and Western Cape.
- About five per cent of the 2010 FIFA World Cup tourists indicated that they visited other African countries during their trip to South Africa
In general, more than two-thirds of the tourists who attended the event perceived South Africa as a great host, and more than half who had attended previous FIFA World Cups felt that South Africa was a better host than the countries that hosted the event in the past.
The above statistics are just the beginning of the fruits of a legacy that will continue beyond the year 2010 for the Rainbow Nation.