Recession blamed for less-than-expected World Cup tourists

By Staff Writer
With the FIFA World Cup less than two weeks away, tourist organizations are blaming the lack of tourist interest on the recession.

The original projection for visitors from June 11 to July 11 was 450 000 but it's now expected that only about 300 000 visitors will come to the country.

Two South African tourism organizations believe that the high prices coupled with the economic problems throughout the world has led to lower than expected numbers at some of South Africa's tourism venues.

"We believe that under a different economic climate, demand would have extended to areas outside the host cities and to the wide variety of non-hotel accommodation options available in South Africa," the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa ( FEDHASA) HASA and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) said in a joint statement.

"Had it not been for the global recession we have faced during the critical reservation periods of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa would have secured a significantly higher level of visitors, which in turn would have necessitated the full use of all room inventory."

The two tourism bodies also believe that there are other contributing factors, though.

Despite the many specials being run by local airlines, high airfares by international airlines has been a huge contributing factor - prices from international airlines were particularly high during the time of the final draw.

More than 95 percent of FIFA World Cup tickets have however been sold, most of these tickets have been bought by locals but it's expected that those who were not lucky enough to get tickets, both locals and tourists alike, will be joining the atmosphere in the official Fan Parks that have been set up across the country. Big screens will broadcast all the games live while the fans can share their tears and joys while watching their favourite dribble across field.

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