Canadian Travellers Contribute $62 million to South African Tourism Economy

TORONTO, Sept. 21 /CNW/ - As South Africa prepares for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Canadian travellers are indicating a desire to visit the Republic according to a report issued by Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) today. Visa's Tourism Outlook: South Africa highlights international Visa cardholder spending in South Africa and reveals that spending by Canadian Visa cardholders visiting South Africa increased 12 percent last year compared with 2007(1). Canadian Visa cardholders made $62 million in purchases on their Visa cards in South Africa in 2008.

Visa's card spending data report for 2008 indicates an increase in the total number of transactions by international visitors in South Africa as well as increased transaction volume on the Visa Network. More than 13 million transactions, representing $1.8 billion in South African tourism revenues, were made by international visitors on their Visa cards, up 11 percent from 2007. Canadian 2008 Visa card spending in South Africa ranked eighth in the largest tourism spend in South Africa. The top five contributors to inbound tourism spending in South Africa during 2008, as measured by Visa card spending included the UK ($517 million), the US ($295 million), Germany ($102 million), France ($73 million) and Australia. The average purchase amount for travellers from Canada was $146 and key categories for spending include general retail and lodging.

According to South Africa Tourism, Canada is one of the Republic's top growth markets, experiencing a 7.6 percent year-on-year arrival growth rate. Last year nearly 56,000 of the nearly 9.6 million foreign arrivals to South Africa were Canadians, and Canadians ranked 15th among all visiting nationalities.

"South Africa is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Canadian travellers, and the World Cup will provide an even greater opportunity for interest in South Africa to grow. As travellers are discerning in their choice of destinations and time of year for travel, Visa's insight into tourist behavior and attitudes can support tourism providers in capturing tourism revenues," says Charles Niehaus, Country Manager for South Africa, Visa. "Visa is committed to providing a reliable global payment acceptance network for our cardholders both at home and when they travel. Visa is similarly dedicated to supporting state and local governments in their efforts to grow tourism revenues by providing tourism data and insights that show where and how visitors spend their money," continues Niehaus.

In addition to actual Visa card spend by international visitors into South Africa, the Visa Tourism Outlook survey evaluated travel intentions and attitudes among 5,539 travellers from 11 nations who have traveled internationally in the past two years. According to Visa's survey of international travellers, one in three are likely to visit South Africa in the future, and there is broad awareness of the many assets South Africa has to offer - from rich local culture to natural beauty and interesting things to do - from visiting beaches to safari.

The 2010 Opportunity

While South Africa has been a popular African tourism destination of late, traveller interest in the nation is increasing as the 11 June kickoff date of the 2010 FIFA World Cup(TM) approaches. According to the Visa International tourism survey, 14 percent of respondents said they are likely to attend the 2010 FIFA World Cup(TM). Respondents from across the globe are interested in attending the 2010 World Cup(TM), with the most interest coming from Brazil (46 percent), China (31 percent), South Korea (12 percent), Mexico (11 percent), Russia (11 percent) and the United States (9 percent). Six percent of Canadian respondents indicated that they were 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' considering visiting South Africa to watch the 2010 World Cup(TM).

The majority of respondents who are likely to attend the FIFA World Cup(TM) are also interested in visiting other parts of South Africa and taking part in other experiences in South Africa. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would be interested in going on a safari, while others expressed interest in visiting key landmarks (54 percent) and in taking a beach holiday in Cape Town or along the Garden Route (45 percent).

VisaVue(R) Travel Reports

June saw Visa launched VisaVue(R) Travel Reports, a strategic tool for the tourism industry based on analysis of Visa cardholder spending patterns worldwide. Visa's network of more than 28 million merchants and 1.7 billion cards provides a unique and global view into international tourist spending. VisaVue(R) Travel Reports evaluates spending of both leisure and business travellers worldwide and it analyzes purchase patterns based on travellers' origin country and across various merchant categories - from airlines to restaurants.

About Tourism Outlook: South Africa

For the Visa international tourism survey, 5,539 adult consumers aged 18+ were interviewed as part of an online panel survey hosted by GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc). Field work took place between December 11, 2008 and January 8, 2009. During the research process, questions are posed to a panel of consumers and data is collected until various predefined sampling quotas are reached. The results are then analyzed and sig-tested at a 95 percent confidence level. For this summary, the main differences that are interesting and statistically significant have been described accordingly.

Visa cardholder spending data cited is based upon a review of tourism spending on Visa-branded payment cards by international visitors from key source countries while visiting South Africa during the calendar years 2008 (January 1 - December 31, 2008) and 2007 (January 1 - December 31, 2007). These findings are based upon VisaVue(R) Travel data. Visa introduced the VisaVue(R) Travel tourism reports to a pilot group of U.S. tourism organizations in 2008 and is now available to a broader audience of state and convention and visitors bureau destination marketing entities.

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

    
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    (1) South Africa Tourism, 2008 Annual Report
    

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation

For further information: For further information: Teri Broughton, Visa Canada, (416) 860-8869, tbrought@visa.com

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