After the era of apartheid, festivals, conferences and events such as the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2010TM provide exciting opportunities to market South Africa as preferred tourist destination. The exposure to international media and their audiences will have significant impact on the country's tourism industry and will generate benefits for the local economy. These benefits include an increase in economic growth and job creation, social and infrastructural transformation as well as the alleviation of poverty. In order to induce sustainable contributions to the country's economy from staging this mega event, South Africa needs to show a high level of professionalism and responsibility in their elaboration and execution of the various planned initiatives and programmes. The country will face challenges and setbacks, but it knows about the necessity to prepare this event diligently and to not only support the country's but also Africa's overall image and economic objectives. In the following paper the author presents the current position and future outlook for South Africa's tourism industry. She will clarify the terms sport tourism and its general impacts on the tourism industry as well as introduce the reader to the FIFA World CupTM history and characteristics. The author will conduct a detailed presentment of the predicted short- and long-term impacts of this hallmark event on South Africa's tourism industry, economy and society. Challenges and opportunities will be identified and the reader will be provided with a summary of the preparation phase in terms of tourism, economy, culture and society prior to the FIFA World Cup 2010TM.
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