By Patrick Omorodion
Since after the crash of Apartheid in South Africa and the country first hosted an international event in 1996, the African Cup of Nations, the country has continued to strive in the area of hosting major football events.
The biggest of such opportunities came in 2010 when it became the first country in Africa to host the FIFA World Cup which turned out to be one of the best since FIFA started the event in Uruguay in 1930.
Again from January 19 to February 10, 2013, South Africa will play host to Africa when it hosts the first Nations Cup in odd number years for which it has budgeted US$53.3 million (about N8.5 billion) to cover various hosting costs excluding construction of stadia.
According to Phumi Dhlomo, SA Tourism Regional Director for African markets, “The fact that South Africa built stadiums for the FIFA 2010 World Cup makes hosting AFCON that bit easier,” as he disclosed that over 50 per cent of the entire budget will go into areas like security, protocol and migration services.
“Of the US$53.3 million, US$37 million will go to South African national departments to cover costs associated with hosting (including security, protocol and migration services).
A further US$2 million will be used by the provinces and another US$14 million will be used by the five host cities to cover various hosting costs,” he said.
Dhlomo said because SA Tourism sees tourism as a major boost for the South African economy, it has worked out plans to ensure that the country benefits further as visitors who troop into the country for the Nations Cup are expected to contribute about US$154 million to the economy.
“AFCON gives us another opportunity to welcome African tourists to South Africa and show them a great time. It gives us an opportunity again to showcase our destination, our welcoming people, our capability and infrastructure not only to the continent, but also to the world.