Only half the number of expected visitors will attend SWC, but that's 'not a problem'
We've gone from 400 000 to 200 000 in a heartbeat. Tourvest must be living in a dreamworld. If the on-the-ground reality in South Africa [price gauging, protests, murders, racist remarks against europeans] wasn't enough to dissaude tourists, how is the actual event likely to be any different? And it was no one's fault that South Africa is having this tournament in the middle of a wallet crunching recession - it's just too expensive at a time when many can least afford to pay more. I think we'll see a lot of open seats, including from overseas visitors who bought tickets, then decided against using them.
Pretoria - The exact number of foreigners that will attend the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament has less importance to South Africa as a country.
So says Martin Wiest, chief executive of Tourvest's inbound operations. He reckons the crux of the matter is what the world will see on its television screens during the tournament, and whether this will attract more visitors after the event.
These available units are a further indication that the original estimate of 450 000 foreign visitors to the tournament will probably not realise.
According to Wiest, Tourvest reserved R250m worth of bed nights early on. It has fixed reservations for 95% of these.
Wiest expects between 250 000 and 300 000 foreigners to attend the tournament, 60 000 of whom Tourvest will handle.
From the country's perspective, he says, the tournament's greatest value lies in the opportunity for global marketing.