The biggest-ever sporting tournament in South Africa began a decade ago today and was a golden opportunity to build Cape Town and South Africa as a popular tourist destination. “It also proved what we can achieve by working together, and during the current global coronavirus pandemic, we can help stop the spread if we all play our part,” says the City of Cape Town.

“I have fond memories of the world cup, having been Mayor at the time. I remember all the work that went into the planning and hosting this mega tournament. It was challenging, but the reward was the unifying power sport had across all groups of people,” Executive Mayor Dan Plato said in a press release.

“To see the thousands of people singing and cheering for their teams was an incredible sight. For those wonderful weeks, we moved closer to that rainbow nation which the late Tata Madiba dreamt of.”

  • A total of 309 554 international tourists visited South Africa to witness the world cup, with a third of that total coming from Africa.
  • A quarter or roughly 24 percent were visitors from Europe and
  • 13 percent were from South America.
  • More than half the total visitors had never been to Cape Town, South Africa.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a perfect opportunity to build the image of Cape Town and its tourism industry.

Cape Town stadium
The stadium yesterday. It’s been 10 years! Photo: Ed Robbins

The City says that partly as a result, the tourism industry has grown to roughly 300,000 people employed in this sector across the city and Western Cape.

“As we go through the challenging times of COVID-19, let us look to the world cup as an example of what can be achieved when we all work together, of what a happy and nostalgic moment it was, and as a reminder of what Cape Town is capable of.

“If we work together, we can stop the spread of the coronavirus, and we can only do this if we all play our part. Please continue to wash your hands regularly, wear your face mask and practice social distancing,” says Mayor Plato.

He urges people to share their memories of the Cup with the hashtag #OneCityTogether.