Cape Town - Current global conditions are an impediment but not a barrier to foreign tourists wishing to attend the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa.
Interest in South Africa as a destination is on the increase as the tournament approaches.
This is evident from a survey Visa conducted among 5 539 adults between 11 December 2008 and 8 January 2009 in eleven of South Africa's most important tourist markets.
The findings announced by Charles Niehaus, general manager of Visa in South Africa, and Paul Wilke, a senior marketing manager at Visa, show:
- Foreign Visa cardholders did 13m transactions worth $1.8bn in South Africa - 11% more than in 2007;
- Almost half of these transactions were by British ($518m) and American ($295m) visitors, while German, French and Australian tourists also spent a considerable amount;
- Visitors from Hong Kong spent the most, with an average $228.33 per transaction, followed by visitors from China with $206.41 and Ireland with $200.32;
- The average amount spent per transaction was $130; and
- 33% of the participants in the survey indicated that they would "probably" visit South Africa in the future and 14% would possibly do so next year.
Of these, 88% also indicated that they would visit more than one World Cup host city, while Cape Town (63%) and Johannesburg (49%) topped their lists of probable destinations.
According to Wilke many of the visitors would not restrict themselves to South Africa, with 35% indicating they would also visit Kenya, and a third wanted to see what Angola looked like.
Of those that were not interested in visiting South Africa, most (44%) said that it was because they had no interest in the World Cup tournament.
Almost 40% of the respondents indicated that such a visit would be too expensive, and 32% referred to the country's security situation as a deterrent.
Analysis of the business sectors in which foreign Visa cardholders spend their money in South Africa shows that the retail sector derives the most benefit.
Last year they spent a total of $892m on general purchases in South Africa, $235m on accommodation, $125m on transport, $77.9m on travel agents and $72.2m in restaurants.
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