Google highlights 2010 hotspots

With just over two months until the kickoff of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Google’s aggregated search results data shows a significant spike in user interest in South African tourist accommodation and attractions.

According to Google Search, the South African tourist attraction most consistently googled by international browsers is the Kruger National Park, followed closely by the Garden Route and the Wild Coast. The top ten list also includes perennial tourist favourites Robben Island, the Cape Winelands and Durban Beachfront.

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The latest Google search stats also give South Africa tourism industry players a strong indication of their prospective clients’ countries of origin.  India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Zimbabwe had, in descending order, the highest number of unique searches for the search phrase “South Africa tourism”.

But according to South Africa’s Local Organising Committee, the top five ticket-buying countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Brazil (in that order). So while tourism operators can be more or less assured of an influx of US, UK and German tourists, the number of Indian travellers to be arriving on South African shores is less certain.

Sadly, ticket sales and Google Search data indicates relatively low levels of interest in the sporting spectacular from the rest of the African continent, with the exception of South Africa’s immediate neighbour, Zimbabwe.

The most obvious explanation for this trend, especially in terms of low Google Search activity, is the low level of internet penetration on the African continent, as well as the negative impact of the recent global economic  downturn on would-be travellers’ expendable income.

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