The South African economy has seen a boost in foreign visitor spending on Visa cards during the lead-up to and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, according to the latest cardholder spending data from Visa Inc.
During the period leading up to the kickoff of the FIFA World Cup™ and the end of the tournament (Tuesday, 1 June through Sunday, 11 July), spending by international visitors in South Africa on Visa-branded payment cards exceeded US$312 million (R2.4 billion).  This is an increase of 70 percent or US$128 million (R1 billion) from US$184 million (R1.4 billion) during the same period in 2009.
The number of transactions from 1 June through 11 July 2010 was 2.2 million (55,000 per day on average), up 79 percent from approximately 1.2 million (30,000 a day on average) during the same 41 days in 2009.
Visa spending data indicates:
• The United States (19.05%), followed by the United Kingdom (19.03%), Australia (4.7%), Brazil (4.2%) and France (3.4%) have been the strongest contributors to visitor spending to date.  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, auto rental and air travel.
• Among the top 25 countries by spending, the largest increase was from Mexico, where cardholders spent US$7.5 million (R57 million) during the World Cup period, compared with US$131,000 (R1 million) in the same period the year before.
• The biggest spenders from the African continent were Mozambique (US$8.1 million or R61 million), Botswana (US$7.47 million or R56 million) and Angola (US$6.5 million or R49 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.”
Visa provides the most widely accepted payment card in the world, meeting the needs of mobile consumers reaching for credit, debit and prepaid cards wherever and whenever they travel.  According to the 2010 South Africa Tourism Outlook report recently released by Visa Inc., international travelers using their Visa payment cards spent USD$566 million (R4.3 billion) during the first quarter of 2010 (January to March), 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™. In recognition of Visa’s sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards were the only payment cards accepted, along with cash, at all FIFA stadiums and the Onsite Stadium Merchandise Booths.