South Africa put on a spectacular show during the World Cup and while the sun may have set on the football, a bright future beckons for its property and tourist industries. Fiona Klonarides takes a look at a country keen to capitalise on its new place on the world stage.
Nobody, except for Paul the octopus (aka “pulpo Pablo”), could have predicted the run up to the Spain-Netherlands World Cup final. Teams that should have won didn’t, while those confident they’d win got stuck in draws. It wasn’t the best final in World Cup history but in the big picture it didn’t really matter.
United by football fever the South Africans did themselves proud. Things seem a bit quiet since the sunshine and vuvuzuelas disappeared from our TV screens and while Brazil is already gearing up for its big football year, for South Africa its World Cup success leaves a legacy that will surely boost tourism and ignite investment in the country’s diverse real estate market for years to come.
In Britain we swooned over the scenery during BBC Breakfast TV sports journalist Chris Hollins’ live reports from the Stellenbosch vineyards. We could almost inhale the Atlantic breezes that washed over magnificent wine estates, with the Indian ocean “just around the corner” where the two oceans meet. We caught snippets of World Cup news before rushing off on our morning commutes – that Stellenbosch scenery made our UK cities look grey and claustrophobic by comparison.
Despite its own team’s exit early on, South Africa’s new sense of national identity and pride seemed to grow stronger as the days led up to the final. Bolstered by FIFA’s record $3.2bn (£2.2bn) investment in media and marketing revenues, the money has gone towards new stadiums as well as the Gautrain, Africa’s first high-speed rail link which opened literally days before the players kicked off.