South African World Cup tourist arrivals part 2

The South African statistical service fooled me into thinking the July figures would appear in another month, when in fact they published them today, having published the June figures yesterday (see yesterday’s post).

So now we can compare tourist arrivals for June and July combined, covering the entire world Cup period. Combined tourist arrivals for June and July 2009 were 1,128,845, and for the same period in 2010 were 1,401,725, yielding an increase of 272,880, presumably all of which can be attributed to the World Cup. This compares with the Grant Thornton forecast that I mentioned yesterday of 373,000. Of these arrivals there was an increase of 176,954 from outside Africa (about two thirds of the increase). To put this in context, these increases are equal to about 4% of total tourist visits in 2009, or 10% of total tourist visits by non-Africans in 2009. The South Africans, of course, are also hoping for long term effects.

The July figures are interesting for a number of reasons. The sharp end of the tournament – quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final all fell in July, but tourist arrivals for July were less than 10% up on 2009, an increase of 57,000 (less than the capacity of the stadium for the final). Teams that featured in these stages showed only small increases- Spain (winners), +5407, Netherlands (runners up), + 8125, Germany  (semi-final and playoff) + 3620, Brazil (quarter final) +2446, Argentina (quarter final) +432, Ghana (quarter final) + 256 (figures for Uruguay and Paraguay are not given). However, visitor numbers from eliminated countries fell relative to July 2009 – UK, -3214, France -482, Italy -162, Denmark -282, Nigeria -191  and South Korea -29.  These figures suggest support the idea of “time-shifting”, whereby major events cause tourists who would have gone anyway to reschedule their visit to coincide with the event.  But visitors from the USA were up 2,440 in July – which to me demonstrates their growing interest in the beautiful game.

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Author: Stefan Szymanski

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