First signs of 2010 FIFA World Cup™ economic success starting to show
Initial surveys and research show that Cape Town restaurants, informal traders, hotels and shopping malls are experiencing better than usual business over the winter period, as foreign football fans are flocking to Cape Town for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Overall, the business activity in Cape Town seems to have picked up since the arrival of the first team in the country, said Mansoor Mohamed, Executive Director: Economic and Social Development and Tourism for the City of Cape Town. “The V&A Waterfront shopping mall has seen a record increase in the amount of visitors in the first week of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Suburban shopping malls in Cape Town like Cavendish, Century City and Tygervalley have also seen a spike in sales. The restaurants in Cape Town are also doing better than expected trade, with some even beating their actual Christmas figures.”
Most of the Municipal Markets in Cape Town, for example Greenmarket Square, the Grand Parade, Green Point and Mitchells Plain, have seen a significant boost in trading activity since the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ ten days ago. “Informal traders have been well prepared by the City of Cape Town’s economic unit to take advantage of the World Cup visitor numbers,” Mohamed said.
Initial surveys are showing that the accommodation numbers for Cape Town thus far are generally lower than expected, except for budget accommodation, which is looking promising. Although the more expensive hotels in Cape Town are experiencing lower than expected occupancy (under 20% to 40%), it is still a bumper season compared to last year, said Mohamed.
The City is expecting higher accommodation numbers towards the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, as people come down from Johannesburg to enjoy the last part of their South African holiday in Cape Town. “Cape Town has won the ‘Oscars’ of the Travel Industry (World Travel Awards) as the leading tourism destination on the African continent for two consecutive years in a row. More recently, it won the prestigious award of being the best destination worldwide for Responsible Tourism (2009 Virgin Responsible Tourism Awards). These awards are the culmination of strategic partnerships between the City of Cape Town, its tourism agencies and the tourism industry. This is why Cape Town has been a destination of choice for many of the international visitors in the country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and we expect an increase in the number of international visitors as the tournament progresses,” Mohamed added.
Even though less people than expected seem to be coming to Cape Town during the tournament, early economic research suggests that tourists are staying for longer periods and are spending more. A recent Grant Thornton Study on the economic impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ supports these findings.
“If visitor numbers are down 20% from our initial estimates, but those who do come spend 20% more and stay three days longer than originally anticipated, we will see an increase of nearly 40% in the expected economic impact that the tournament will have, which is very encouraging,” said Mohamed.
Mohamed emphasized that these findings are only based on initial surveys and that the true economic impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will only be established by comprehensive research following the end of the tournament. He is, however, confident that Cape Town will benefit from the 2010 World Cup™ in the next few decades to come. “The FIFA 2010 World Cup™ is the single most important event for South Africa and the African continent in recent time. It is positively changing the world’s perceptions about Africa. The socio-economic benefits of the FIFA 2010 World Cup™ will be felt for a very long time and it is therefore important that government and businesses develop strategic partnerships to reap the benefits of this tournament over the next 20 years.”