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As many as 40,000 Americans expected
by Paul Kennedy, June 7th, 2010 3:21AM

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TAGS:  men's national team, soccer business, world cup

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[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] One of the great unknowns about the 2010 World Cup is just how many visitors will travel to South Africa. Donald Gips, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, says it hard to guess how many Americans will attend the World Cup, but the best guess is "somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000."

FIFA estimates 132,000 tickets have been bought by Americans -- more than any other country outside the host nation -- but how many individual visitors that translates into is hard to determine.

Speaking Sunday at the U.S. national team's open practice that attracted several hundred vuvuzela-blowing children, Gips downplayed concerns about violence in South Africa. His remarks came more than a week after the State Department issued a travel alert to U.S. citizens traveling to South Africa.

"It is a country that is coming from the legacy of apartheid," he said. "In the 15 or 16 years since it's been a free democracy, they've made huge strides, but it's a very difficult legacy to overcome. So there are still problems that need to be addressed."

(Soccer America readers: If you're going to the World Cup, what concerns, if any, do you have about traveling to South Africa? What's the best advice you have or have been given for sale travels? Let us know in the comments below.)



0 comments
  1. Joe Musser
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 10:28 a.m.
    As more than just an American traveling to South Africa for the World Cup, being a lifelong player, referee, and fan of the sport, as well as a seasoned traveller, myself and our group intend on enjoying the trip to its fullest, attending the matches as respectful, passionate fans. We also intend on exploring the beauty of South Africa and what it has to offer. To obsessively worry over the 'potential' negative things that could happen would make for a miserable experience.

  1. Eddie Rockwell
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
    I was in S.A. over 10 years ago working a Brasil v. Bafana Bafana game. We had drivers that were armed for player transfers, but other than that, just talking to the bellhops & waiters & other such locals, they'll tell you what areas to avoid. As long as you're smart & aware, there should be no problems. S.A. is a beautiful country & should be enjoyed. Wish I had the time/money to join my dad, who will be there enjoying the Cup...

  1. Mr G
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.
    We are going. There are some concerns as you read everywhere. We were lucky enough to find some contacts with some locals in the area. As others have mentioned, they feel that the locals have a good idea of where to avoid. There are 6 in our group. We would have had a much larger group if: 1) prices were more reasonable and 2) the area was more secure. I would be dishonest if I said we had no safety concerns. Of course, we plan to be careful, but not planning on worrying over everything as well. Best advice is the same as everywhere - pay attention to your surroundings.

  1. Lloyd Elling
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.
    What a significant disparity between 132,000 tickets sold to "Americans" and for "the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, says it hard to guess how many Americans will attend the World Cup, but the best guess is "somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000." What is the information available to make such a comparison? Do they know how many airline tickets were bought by those who purchased tickets? How much information does the U.S Ambassador to South Africa have on us passionate soccer fans? Will I be wearing a home or away jersey of the US National Team on the plane? Do you know where we will be housed in SA? Are we looking forward to seeing the beautiful country and people of SA? Absolutely!!! It has been an amazing preparation with all the help we have received from South Africans. Our tour company, Idube Elihle Transfers & Tours has helped us with the smallest of details and they assured us we will see all the people of South Africa. They warned us to be ready to be hugged everywhere we travel. Our guest house owners have talked to us twice on SKYPE and kept in constant contact by email. Now, we have to match the singing skills of English fans? We are quite ready thanks to K'naan and his song Waving Flag. GO USAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

  1. Herzilet Dube
    commented on: June 25, 2010 at 7:45 a.m.
    Lloyd Elling wrote: ".....Our tour company, Idube Elihle Transfers & Tours has helped us with the smallest of details and they assured us we will see all the people of South Africa. They warned us to be ready to be hugged everywhere we travel..." Thanks Lloyd, my name is Herzilet Dube, we met at Soweto when Lucky took you for a Tour. I am one of the members of Idube Elihle Tours (www.idubeelihle.co.za) , I am happy that you you gave us an opportunity to work with you and your family, Please blow the Vuvuzela when you go back home and tell the guys back home that they are welcome in South Africa. Though our Team is off the Games we wish USA the best for its coming games and hope you take that cup back home (USA)


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