Over one million holidaymakers have visited South Africa for the FIFA World Cup officials have confirmed, with a late surge expected as the tournament enters its final week.
According to immigration records compiled by the South Africa department of home affairs, the total number of arrivals during June totalled 1.3 million.
This is up from the 1.01 million visitors recorded for the same period of 2009.
African visitors have been among the most numerous arrivals – with nationals from Lesotho, Zimbabwe. Mozambique, Swaziland and Botswana – leading the way.
Europe has also been strongly represented, with tourists from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands all turning out in force.
“We take this opportunity to congratulate all national teams that have so far participated in the tournament in their quest to become world football champions, and in particular those national teams including Ghana who have qualified for the quarter finals of the World Cup,” added a statement from the department of home affairs.
The data was recorded by the South Africa’s Movement Control System, which is deployed at 34 priority ports of entry across the country.
The system has also been deployed to deny illegal entry during the World Cup, with 188 people prevented from entering South Africa due to possession of fraudulent visas, permits, travel documents and stamps or failure to meet immigration requirements.
These include the interception and deportation of ten Argentinean and British soccer hooligans over the past few weeks, officials added.