Lions to boost SA economy

The British & Irish Lions tour is predicted to inject R1 billion into South Africa’s economy.

Andre Homan, project manager of the tour, said he expects 50 000 Lions supporters to flock to the country and for them to stay for a minimum of three weeks.

Of the estimated income, at least R250 million will come from direct foreign exchange revenue, making the tour the biggest international sporting event hosted by the country to date. The R1 billion figure was drawn from the last Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005, when about 30 000 fans went to the country.

‘They contributed direct foreign exchange of R720m,’ he explained to, ‘and there was a total GDP impact of R750 million. So we can safely say with the numbers that we’re expecting, that we’ll top R1 billion in direct earnings very easily and that is hard currency earnings.’

Homan also expects a successful Lions tour to be a boost to South Africa’s bid of hosting either the 2015 or 2019 World Cups.