The visitors from the Middle East who are in Barzil for the 2014 Fifa World Cup have spent more than $2.7 million since the tournament kicked off, said a report released by leading payments company Visa.
The UAE ranks 30th in the list of global spenders at the World Cup with Saudi Arabia in 39th spot and Qatar 53rd, stated Visa in its report.
The ‘Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil’ revealed that the Emirati travellers spent $1.15 million, while Saudi travellers have spent $607,000 and visitors from the 2022 host nation Qatar have spent over $317,000.
The VIsa report, which analyzes travel data and spending through the use of Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards, found that some smaller Brazilian cities, which are hosting tournament games, witnessed some of the most signficant increases in spending by international travellers.
The data from the opening day (June 12) through the close of the Group Stage (June 26), revealed triple-digit increases in spending, compared to the same period last year, in cities such as Natal (over 851 per cent); Cuiaba (over 963 per cent); Curitiba (over 167 per cent); and Manaus (over 409 per cent).
The figures represent an overall increase in spending of some 419 per cent by travelers from the region compared to the same period last year – well ahead of the global increase of 152 per cent and demonstrating the passion for football that exists within the Middle East region.
“The group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil has shown that international tourism was strong well beyond the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, as fans traveled throughout Brazil to support their teams. But what has been significant for us has been the enthusiasm shown by visitors from the Middle East region despite not having a team competing,” remarked Ihab Ayoub, the general manager, (Mena) at Visa.
“The fact that these games are bringing positive economic impact to regions of Brazil typically less visited by international travellers, is another sign of success for the tournament overall,” he noted.
According to him, the total spend by international travellers on Visa accounts through the Group Stage hit $188 million. This represents a 152 per cent increase year-over-year, and a 141 per cent increase when compared to the $78 million spent by travellers attending the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup during the same timeframe.
The highest spending day in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil was June 25, when travellers spent $17.4 million on a single day. Visitors from the US, followed by the UK, France, and Mexico represented the largest overall tourist spend in Brazil.
The most significant spending increases were seen from countries such as Australia (+835 per cent); Colombia (+765 per cent); Chile (+519 per cent) and Mexico (+396 per cent).
“As the FIFA World Cup continues in July, Visa will continue to help everyone, everywhere, be a part of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil,” said Ayoub.
Visa has worked with partner organizations and service providers in Brazil to implement and manage the entire payment system infrastructure throughout all 12 Fifa World Cup venues, including deployment of more than 3,000 Visa contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminals and 75 ATMs.