Some interesting statistics from Gillian Saunders at Grant Thornton South Africa, which monitors on an ongoing basis the various impacts the World Cup will have on South Africa and its economy:
It’s been estimated that 483,000 tourists (151,000 from Africa) are expected to come to South Africa for the World Cup, resulting in foreign spending of R8.5 billion.
In our top tourism month (December 2008) South Africa already hosted almost 964,000 foreign tourists, so there’s no doubt our nation and current tourism infrastructure can cope with the influx of additional visitors during the World Cup.
So, hiking room rates by a few hundred percent hardly seems worth it and there are many overseas who predict a fire sale around April 2010, when estabishments realise they are not getting the rates they hoped for.
Reaching the figure of 332,000 overseas tourists is going to be a challenge for airlines. The highest number of overseas arrivals in the past was 225,000 (November 2007).
The only thing that is not overstated is the global marketing opportunity that World Cup presents, and I just hope we get this right.