With less than a year before the 2010 Fifa World Cup kicks off, hosts South Africa are hoping the tournament will leave a lasting legacy on the Rainbow Nation.
Danny Jordaan, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief executive officer revealed recently the government had already committed to a major infrastructure investment programme. Its the pending tournament that has prompted the infrastructure development.
An estimated 483, 257 (150,000 from Africa) international visitors from all over the world will visit the country, a significant boost for the local tourism industry, especially since the event is to be hosted during its low (winter) season.
With the world focus on the country before, during and after the tournament, the hosting of the World Cup also provides an excellent marketing opportunity for the host nation.
"Unlike the apartheid era when football facilities in disadvantaged areas were neglected and there was a complete lack of recognition for the sport, things have now changed. Hosting the World Cup will leave a lasting legacy for football in this country," Jordaan said.
In November 2008, the LOC contracted Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions (SA) to do a research on how the numbers will add up for the month-long tournament.
It was found out that the World Cup will contribute $6.8b (approximately Shs14.4 trillion) to the South African economy, generate 415, 400 jobs and contribute $2.3b (Shs5 trillion) in tax income to the government.
The research findings estimate that 483, 257 tourists will spend $1b (Shs2.2trillion) in total during their stay in South Africa. Gillian Saunders, the director of the research company, emphasised that despite the world financial crisis, the tournament will not be badly affected.
Saunders gave a breakdown of the estimated 483,257 visitors. 150,000 spectators will come from Africa and 303,867 the rest of the world. Players (Africa): 200, others: 1,350, VIPs (Africa): 995, overseas: 4,250, media (Africa):1,700 and 12,750 from overseas. "Going by the past tournaments especially in Germany 2006, females and families contribute nearly 8% to the visitors. The research also shows that 45+ couples without children are now regulars at tournaments," Saunders explained.
"43% of spectators in Portugal (Euro 2004) spent most time in bars while 23% went sightseeing," she added.
Jordaan explained that ticket sales so far are corresponding with the 483,257 visitors. "There is already a huge interest for tickets in Japan, the two Korean countries and USA following their good show during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.
USA has sold 57,000 of the 93,000 tickets requested. United Kingdom has requested for 220,000. South Africa will have a total of 240,000 tickets while the rest of the world will have to share around 800,000 tickets."
The government's contribution to World Cup-related projects is $3.4b (Shs7.2trillion).
The major contributions are distributed to:
•Stadium and area development: $1.2b (Shs2.5 trillion) Transport: $1.6b (Shs3.5trillion)
•Broadcast and telecommunications: $36.8m (Shs77.8b)
•Event operations: $84m (Shs177b)
•Safety and security: $159.7m (Shs3.3b)
•Volunteer training: $3m (Shs6.4b)
•Ports of entry infrastructure: $430m (Shs907.7 trillion)
•Immigration support: $77.4m (Shs163.3trillion)
•Communications, hosting, legacy and culture : $61.9m (Shs130.7 trillion)
These figures exclude the amounts spent by the nine host cities in preparing for the tournament.
The biggest challenge is transport and the government has dished out $1.6b (Shs3.5trillion).
Construction projects include the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Johannesburg. The BRT comprises 25km of trunk infrastructure, which is nearly done and 20 railway stations. A company to provide 143 buses has also been secured. It is estimated that 63,000 daily commuters will use the buses. But a dispute between taxi owners and government, which has a lion's share in BRT, remains unresolved.
A further $2.3b (Shs26 trillion) is being spent on airport upgrades to deal with planned capacity increases during and after the tournament.
The millions of visitors who will pour into the country during the event will boost opportunities in accommodation, health provision services, travel services, short-term insurance, event management, logistics, arts, crafts and entertainment, to name but a few.
Over 9 million tourists visited South Africa in 2008. The number is expected to grow to 10 million in 2010 despite the economic slowdown.
The World Cup has been a catalyst for the construction of around 25 new hotels in South Africa in the last couple of years.
More than 20, 000 jobs were created for the construction of the World Cup stadiums. Over 4000 South African volunteers will help out during the tournament.
As part of the 2010 World Cup legacy programme, a total of 27 Fifa one-star football turfs will be built over the next three years in rural and township areas around South Africa. These facilities will also complement the South African Football Association's (Safa) grassroots programme by providing the much needed facilities.
The proposed facilities are to be built with synthetic surfaces which reduces the cost of upkeep on a continual basis. It is proposed that at each facility there will be a club house and office for use by the local football community.
The LOC, through its sub-committee and in conjunction with Safa has identified the first nine facilities for the year 2009, one in each of the nine provinces.