World Cup consulting firm: Fewer tourists, longer stays, bigger spendings


JOHANNESBURG — Fewer foreigners are expected at the World Cup in South Africa after the global recession, but those that do come are expected to stay longer and spend more, a consultancy said Wednesday.

An analysis by British consulting firm Grant Thornton predicted 373,000 foreigners will come for the June 11 to July 11 championship, down from an estimate of 483,000 made two years ago.

But the fans who do come are expected to stay an average of 18.7 days and spend about 30,200 rands (4,093 dollars, 3,048 euros), about one-third more than earlier predicted.

The latest research includes the last completed round of ticket sales, but not the current sales phase that began last week, said Gillian Saunders, who led the research.

“It must be understood that some 105,000 of the 373,000 visitors to South Africa over this period are expected to be non-ticket holders, 85,000 of whom would come from Africa for a short visit,” she told a news conference.

“We continue to be upbeat about the impact of the World Cup,” she said. “The stadia will be full and it will be great event.”

Despite the updated estimates on foreign visitors, Saunders said the overall economic impact of the event is expected to be about the same.

World Cup fans from overseas are expected to spend a total of 8.8 billion rands, but the total spending on the tournament is about 55.3 billion rands, including heavy government investment on stadiums, roads and other infrastructure.

That will translate into a 0.54 percent boost to the economy, in line with government projections, Saunders said.