Visa Report Shows Higher Interest in South Africa as a Tourist Destination Leading up to 2010 FIFA World Cup(TM)

September 16, 2009 at 8:01 AM EDT

JOHANNESBURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 16, 2009-- As South Africa prepares for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, international travelers are already indicating a desire to visit the Republic. Both international arrivals and spending by international Visa cardholders were up last year compared with the year prior. In 2008, international arrivals increased 5.5 percent with 9.5 million visitors compared to 9.1 million in 2007.1 Today Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) issued its Tourism Outlook: South Africa, a new report highlighting international Visa cardholder spending in South Africa.

In 2008, the Visa network saw increased transaction volume and total number of transactions by international visitors in South Africa. More than 13 million transactions were made by international visitors on their Visa cards, up 11 percent from 2007 and representing $1.8 billion in tourism revenues. The prevalence of European and American travellers is consistent with key trends in Visa card spending; in 2008, nearly half of transaction volume from international visitors to South Africa was from U.S. and U.K. cardholders who contributed over $812 million to the South African economy. Germany, France and Australia were significant contributors to South Africa inbound tourism in 2008 as well as in 2007.

In 2009, these trends are continuing. Through the first quarter of 2009, international Visa cardholders spent approximately $500 million in South Africa, which is roughly equal to spending over the same period last year. One area of notable increase is from visitors from Mozambique, which accounted for $21 million – a 160 percent increase over the first half of 2008.

While South Africa has been a popular African tourism destination of late, traveler interest in the nation has increased as the 11 June kickoff date of the 2010 FIFA World CupTM approaches.

“The 2010 FIFA World CupTM will provide a significant opportunity to position South Africa as a desirable leisure destination. As travellers are discerning in their choice of destinations and time of year for travel, Visa’s insight into tourist behavior and attitudes in South Africa and globally can support the tourism providers in capturing tourism revenues,” says Charles Niehaus, MD of Visa Sub-Saharan Africa. “Visa is committed to providing a reliable global payment acceptance network for our cardholders. Visa is similarly dedicated to supporting state and local governments in their efforts to grow tourism revenues by providing tourism data and insights that show where and how visitors spend their money,” continues Niehaus.

In addition to actual Visa card spend by international visitors into South Africa, the Visa Tourism Outlook survey evaluated travel intentions and attitudes among 5,539 travellers from 11 nations who have traveled internationally in the past two years. According to Visa’s survey of international travellers, one in three are likely to visit South Africa in the future, and there is broad awareness of the many assets South Africa has to offer – from rich local culture to natural beauty and interesting things to do – from visiting beaches to safari.

The 2010 Opportunity

The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ provides South Africans with an opportunity to showcase their country to the world, and an opportunity to attract visitors and tourism revenues. According to the Visa International tourism survey, 14 percent of respondents said they are likely to attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Respondents from across the globe are interested in attending the 2010 World Cup™, with the most interest coming from Brazil (46 percent), China (31 percent), South Korea (12 percent), Mexico (11 percent), Russia (11 percent) and the United States (9 percent).

The majority of respondents who are likely to attend the FIFA World Cup™ are also interested in visiting other parts of South Africa. While in South Africa, those who plan on attending are interested in taking part in other experiences in South Africa as well as watching the FIFA World Cup™ matches. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would be interested in going on a safari, while others were interested in visiting key landmarks (54 percent) and a beach holiday in Cape Town or along the Garden Route (45 percent).

Retail Purchases Top South Africa Inbound Tourism Spending

Over the past two years, retail purchases continued to account for the largest share of tourism spend on Visa cards in South Africa, followed by lodging. General retail purchases, such as clothing and food, represented 49 percent of Visa transactions by international travellers within South Africa in 2008, totaling more than $892 million. Lodging also continues to be a major expenditure for international travellers, representing 13 percent of Visa transaction volume in 2008.

International Tourists’ Attitudes and Intentions

The Visa survey provided a number of key learnings on attitudes and intentions among international travelers for 2009 and 2010. On average, international respondents indicated they intend to take three trips in the next two years. In the next two years, the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, U.K. and Canada will be the most popular destinations with international respondents.

In response to the economic environment, 52 percent of respondents plan to travel during the off-peak season for lower prices.

VisaVue® Travel Reports

June saw Visa launch VisaVue® Travel Reports, a strategic tool for the tourism industry based on analysis of Visa cardholder spending patterns worldwide. Visa’s network of 28 million merchants and 1.7 billion cards provides a unique and global view into international tourist spending. VisaVue® Travel Reports evaluates spending of both leisure and business travellers worldwide, and it analyzes purchase patterns based on travellers’ origin country and across various merchant categories – from airlines to restaurants.

1 South African Government

About Tourism Outlook: South Africa

For the Visa international tourism survey, 5,539 adult consumers aged 18+ were interviewed as part of an online panel survey hosted by GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc). Field work took place between December 11, 2008 and January 8, 2009. During the research process, questions are posed to a panel of consumers and data is collected until various predefined sampling quotas are reached. The results are then analyzed and sig-tested at a 95 percent confidence level. For this summary, the main differences that are interesting and statistically significant have been described accordingly.

Visa cardholder spending data cited is based upon a review of tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key source countries while visiting South Africa during the calendar years 2008 (January 1December 31, 2008) and 2007 (January 1December 31, 2007). These findings are based upon VisaVue® Travel data. Visa introduced the VisaVue® Travel tourism reports to a pilot group of U.S. tourism organizations in 2008 and is now available to a broader audience of state and convention and visitors bureau destination marketing entities.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information, visit


Source: Visa Inc.

Visa Inc.
Paul Wilke, 415-932-2248
Emily Collins, 415-318-4106