Visa transactions by international visitors in South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup rose 70 percent to $312m, as the payments giant marked its first ever sponsorship of the football tournament.
The number of transactions from June 1 to July 11 rose 79 percent to 2.2 million from 1.2 million during the same 41 days in 2009.
Visa spending data indicated the greatest percentage of contributors came from the United States with 19.05 percent, followed closely by the UK with 19.03 percent, Australia 4.7 percent, Brazil 4.2 percent and France 3.4 percent. These five countries alone accounted for 51 percent of spending.
Over 90 percent of spending was in typical leisure and business travel categories – accommodation, restaurants, retail, car rental and air travel.
Among the top 25 countries by spending, the largest increase was from Mexico, where cardholders spent $7.5 million during the World Cup period, compared with $131,000 in the same period the year before.
The biggest spenders from the African continent were Mozambique ($8.1 million), Botswana ($7.47 million) and Angola ($6.5 million).
“The World Cup has been an outstanding success for football and for South Africa,” said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer at Visa. Inc. “It has definitely been a spectacular success for the local economy and businesses. The foreign visitors came in force and spent in force with their Visa cards.
“The direct economic benefit to date in 2010 has been significant and the spending on Visa cards by foreigners confirms the immediate economic benefits of hosting major international events.”
According to the 2010 South Africa Tourism Outlook report recently released by Visa, international travellers using their Visa payment cards spent US$566 million during the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 34 percent on the same period in 2009.
Visa is one of six global FIFA partners with exclusive global category rights through 2014, and was the exclusive card for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Visa was confirmed as global sponsor of the 2010 and 2014 Fifa World Cups in 2007 following Fifa’s $90m payout to settle its legal dispute with former sponsor MasterCard, which claimed it should have been given first refusal on the deal.