Saudi Arabia, UAE biggest Gulf spenders at FIFA World Cup

Photo: Saudi Arabia, UAE biggest Gulf spenders at FIFA World Cup
 / Arabic region

Visa Inc., the leader in global payments, today released the Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which analyzes travel data and cross border spend on all Visa products, including credit, debit and prepaid payment cards, Saudi Gazette reported.

During the four-day opening period of the tournament (June 12 - June 15, 2014), Visa found that GCC visitors spent more than $500,000 on their Visa accounts - with the UAE and Saudi Arabia making up 70 percent of the total during the four-day ((June 12 - June 15) opening period of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

The Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which analyzes travel data and cross border spend on all Visa products, including credit, debit and prepaid payment cards, said the expenditure s represents a five-fold increase over the same four-day period in 2013, and 47 percent more when compared to the opening four-day period of the Confederations Cup (June 15 -June, 18 2013).

The global attraction of the FIFA World Cup - and growing confidence and understanding of the convenience of electronic payment platforms - has combined to see the enormous increase in card usage from the GCC region. The GCC spending was part of a total spending of $27 million from global visitors to Brazil during the 4-day opening period of the tournament.

Visitors from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, France, and Mexico represented the largest overall tourist spend in Brazil during the four-day period. On Saturday, June 14, 2014 alone international travelers to Brazil spent more than $10.7 million using Visa products. This was the highest tourist spend day in the country in 2014.

"These numbers reflect the significant impact that mega sporting events like the World Cup can have in boosting local commerce in host market economies," said Ihab Ayoub, General Manager for Middle East and North Africa at Visa.

"This positive trend aligns with Brazil's expectation that more than 600,000 international travelers may visit the country during this event - ultimately boosting the country's economy including a significant number from the Middle East."

Visitors spent the most in categories such as lodging and accommodation, which accounted for $5 million, and in local restaurants at $2.5 million of the total international spend. The impact of GCC visitors reflects a combination of a huge passion for football in the region combined with direct flights to Brazil and a growing confidence in using cashless payments - especially in Saudi Arabia.

"As a proud sponsor of FIFA and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Visa has partnered with clients, merchants and financial institutions in Brazil to provide a safe, convenient and reliable payment infrastructure for international visitors to enjoy their time in Brazil and cheer on their team and country," added Ayoub. "As a partner for tourism and economic growth, Visa is making it easier for everyone, everywhere, to be a part of the FIFA World Cup - whether it's at any of the 12 FIFA World Cup venues or by using one of the 1.4 million contactless payment terminals available throughout the country."

Visa has worked with partner organizations and service providers in Brazil to implement and manage the entire payment system infrastructure throughout all FIFA World Cup venues, including deployment of more than 3,000 Visa contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminals and 75 ATMs.

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