Soccer World Cup foreign fan numbers halve
Luckily the South African government have the excuse of the Global Financial Crisis to blame this fiasco on. If memory serves me right, when SAwon the bid it was estimated that over 1 million foreigners would attend the SWC. Then, this number kept dropping over the ensuing years, until it reached 500 000. And now, it’s been further reduced to 220 000. That’s right folks, all those billions of tax payers money pumped into the stadia; all the transport infrastructure (haha); all those new hotels and B&B’s; all the other African nationals flooding the country; all those prostitutes and child trafickers – are for nought. Just 220 000 foreigners- if that. And one of the excuses (which apparently didn’t exist back when SA was announced as the SWC hosts for 2010) is that people don’t want to travel longhaul! Not to mention the GFC – even though the exchange rate is VERY favorable for people travelling to and spending money in SA. The dismal tickets sales has nothing to do with the ANC allowing Julius Malema to intimidate and insult the country’s citizens; or the highest murder/crime and rape stats in the world; or the farm murders where the victims are hacked to death; or etc etc…No, this couldn’t possibly be the reason.
Fifa has admitted that less than half the original number of expected overseas fans will be travelling to South Africa for the World Cup, after initial predictions of up to 500,000 tourists.
However a combination of the global financial crisis, the expense of flights to and within South Africa and safety concerns in a country blighted by crime have led to a slash in demand for tickets.
A Fifa spokesman now said around 220,000 foreigners were expected to attend – a drop of more than 50 per cent.
The fall will dramatically cut the economic boost South Africa was expecting from the month-long tournament. Previous estimates have suggested the World Cup will bring roughly £2bn into the South African economy.
Tourism industry officials said the figures were a disappointment.
“They are lower than we expected,” said Kagiso Mosue, spokesman for the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.
Michael Tatalias, chief executive of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, said: “It’s very disappointing, it’s certainly not what we anticipated a few years ago but it’s inevitable because of the economic climate.”
Within the industry expectations had been decreasing for months, he added. “People simply don’t want to travel long haul.”
Despite the fall in foreign support, local fans besieged ticket offices when they finally opened for over-the-counter sales this week, less than two months before kick-off. On the first day, 53,000 tickets were bought, selling out more than half of the matches.
Danny Jordaan, chief executive officer of the local organising committee, insisted that the tournament would be sold out, adding that the overseas attendance would be comparable to the 2002 finals, held in Japan and South Korea.
“Of course we cannot compare with Germany [who hosted 2006] because it sits in the middle of Europe,” he said. “South Africa is a long haul destination so we expect fans to come in and stay for a long period and therefore the (economic) impact will be greater.
“Reality in the world has changed,” he said, pointing out that Britain and Germany, normally two of the biggest providers of travelling fans, had been hit by the global economic crisis “in a major way”.