World Cup Tourist Numbers

The South African Tourism and Migration Report for June 2010 was published today, and facinating reading it makes. Table 3 shows that 721,311 tourists entered South Africa in June 2010, up by 215,880 on the figure for June 2009. since the FIFA World Cup started on June 11 and and all but the last 8 games had been played by June 29, then these figures are almost entirely due to the World Cup, and encompass most of the event’s impact (although we will still have to wait another month to see the July figures).  Given that the Grant Thornton,  the forecasting consultants to the South African government, had predicted 373,000 tourists earlier this year (itself a downgrade of previous forecasts), the final numbers might be disappointing, but not catastrophic.

There is a breakdown by country which contains some nuggets. 23 of the 32 nations are identified individually, with the biggest uplift coming from the USA (+22,321) and the smallest from Cote d’Ivoire (+747). After the USA came Australia, Argentina, Netherlands and Portugal. After this came England, with an increase of only 5,627. However, the Brits were the largest group of tourist visitors in both 2009 and 2010 (about 40,000), and England supporters were seen to be out in force (at least while England was still in the competition). This would seem to be a good of example of the discouragement effect (England fans displacing other English tourists who would have come but didn’t want to go during the World Cup).  Visitors from the Republic of Ireland fell by 2000 on the previous year- no doubt a boycott following the controversy of their exit from qualification. But there were also some notable increases from countries that did not qualify- China, India, Canada, Israel and Belgium to mention just a few.

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Author: Stefan Szymanski

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