By NBF News
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The South African economy has seen an initial boost due to visitors' spending in relation to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, new cardholder spending data from Visa Inc. has revealed. During the period leading up to the kick off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the first week of tournament matches (June 1 through 20), spending by international visitors in South Africa on Visa-branded payment cards exceeded US$128million (R974million), up by 54 per cent from US$83million (R629million) during the same period in 2009. The number of transactions from June 1 through 20 was 900,000 (45,000 per day on average), up 60 per cent from nearly 600,000 (30,000 a day on average) during the same 20 days in 2009.

The money spent by international visitors on their Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards on the first 10 days of the FIFA World Cup (Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 20) alone showed an increase of 81 per cent over the same period in 2009.

Visa spending data indicates that the United Kingdom, followed by the United States, Australia, France and Brazil, have been the strongest contributors to tourism spending to date. These five countries alone accounted for 51 per cent of spending.

Over 90 per cent of spending was in typical leisure and business travel categories – accommodation, restaurants, retail, auto rental and air travel.

'You can see it for yourself on the streets and in the shopping malls of the nine host cities and now we're seeing the real-time data. The international visitors have come and they are spending with their Visa cards. The spending is spread right across the 159,000 merchants that accept Visa in South Africa,' Michael Lynch, Global Head of Sponsorship Management at Visa Inc. said.

'The sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is working extremely well for Visa with promotional activities occurring in close to 100 countries, involving 500 financial institutions and merchants. We also have approximately 4,000 competition prize winners coming to South Africa for the tournament and the first waves of those have had a great experience,' Lynch added.

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 over US$1.79 billion while visiting South Africa during 2009 and $566 million during the first quarter of 2010.

Visa is one of six global FIFA partners with exclusive global category rights through 2014, and is the exclusive card for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In recognition of Visa's sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa(TM), Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards are the only payment cards accepted, along with cash, at all FIFA stadiums and the Onsite Stadium Merchandise Booths.