The 2010 FIFA Football World Cup South Africa brought a tremendous sense of pride to our nation. South Africans displayed determination for bridges to be built between communities and many were humbled and enriched by the tournament as they had opportunity to get acquainted with different cultures. Spectators from all over the world expressed admiration for what South Africa achieved and a cloud of loss now hangs over us, much like the aftermath of a huge party.
The National Treasury stated that South Africa’s hosting of the Football World Cup
boosted our economy by about R93 billion. Government invested R30 billion in transport and telecommunications infrastructure and stadiums, which created 66000 new construction jobs and saw R7.4 billion paid in wages with R2.2 billion going to low-income households. The upgrade of trains and roads was valued at R13 billion, R20 billion spent on airports development and R3.5 billion on renovations to ports of entry.
A total of 3.1 million fans attended the 64 World Cup matches, the third highest attendance rate after US in 1994 and Germany in 2006. The early stages of the World Cup saw just over 15000 Mexican visitors arrive on our shores. A survey indicated that occupancy levels in the Cape Town Metropole area for the first two weeks of the tournament averaged 40% with an increase by 6% from week one to week two. A total of 63.4% of our tour operators reported an increase in business of approximately 20% year on year for June, whilst 16.1% experienced 91% to 100% increase in bookings.
We have to ask ourselves, where do we go to from here? Even though taxpayers might be paying for this World Cup for decades, our influence on international perceptions of our country is immeasurable, now and into the future. By hosting the World Cup, South Africa is a forever-changed country with an enlarged economy and healthier society.