Youths play with a ball on the first day of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in central Moscow, Russia, on June 14 2018. Picture: REUTERS/SERGEI KARPUKHIN
Youths play with a ball on the first day of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in central Moscow, Russia, on June 14 2018. Picture: REUTERS/SERGEI KARPUKHIN

SA’s tourism market may have been a victim of the 2018 Moscow Soccer World Cup — with tourism numbers from countries where soccer is popular falling sharply.

The number of Europeans vacationing in SA in April fell 18% to 113,734, from 137,988 in the same month in 2017, Statistics SA reported on Monday morning.

Tourists from the US, SA’s second-biggest overseas visitor market, declined just 1% to 27,775 — possibly because soccer is not as popular as in Europe.

The overall number of foreign tourists, including American and Asian, fell 13% to 194,017, Statistics SA reported on Monday morning.

The UK is the biggest source of foreign visitors to SA, and here the number fell 21% to 31,641 in April from 40,211 in April 2017.

The number of Germans visiting SA plummeted 28% to 19,827, and French visitors fell 5.5% to 15,861.

The number of visitors from Australia also declined 5.5%, to 9,740, and the number of visitors from New Zealand fell by 19% to 1,367.

But the Soccer World Cup may not be to blame, considering Brazil was one of the bright spots in Stats SA’s April tourism figures, growing 16% to 5,247, making Brazil SA’s 10th largest foreign tourism market.

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