18/09/2009

South Africa to welcome England football fans

Businesses which benefited from the recent Lions tour are now ready to lay out the red carpet for England fans next year, according to the AFP news agency.

The report quotes a businessman and a tourism director who are both looking forward to the atmosphere and the cash generated by followers of Fabio Capello’s team.

Latest estimates say the World Cup is expected to boost the South African economy by 55.7billion Rand (GBP £5b), generate 415,400 jobs and hand the government a 19.3billion Rand (GBP £1.6b) tax bonus.

Nearly 500,000 football tourists are expected to spend 8.5billion Rand during the month-long championship in June and July.

Andre Malan is one of the businessmen hoping some of this cash is spent in his restaurant and bar.

He helped look after 6,000 rugby fans on match day when the touring British and Irish Lions tour took on the Springboks in June.

Now he wants to extend a similar welcome to football fans. “I think everyone says they would definitely want them [England] at their stadium. They've got the largest following of supporters,” said the manager of the Eastwoods Tavern in Pretoria.

Mark Williams, South African tourism director for the United Kingdom and United States, is equally enthusiastic.

“When the Lions tour came to South Africa, there were close to 40,000 Brits or English that came out to South Africa and spent a billion rand."

"So from a football perspective, hopefully it will be a bit more and hopefully they will spend a bit more."

“It's a fantastic atmosphere,” added Andre Malan. “These guys when they come out, they come in large numbers. Obviously beer is high on the priority list for them. They eat a lot and drink a lot.”

South Africa appears ready to give England fans the essentials!

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