Durban - The world football governing body FIFA and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee have given kudos to the South African hospitality fraternity at the launch of the 2009 South African Tourism Indaba in Durban.
The awards were handed over at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday evening.
The plaques were awarded by Jaime Byron, the executive co-chairman of FIFA's official servicing partner for accommodation, Information Technology and ticketing, MATCH Events and LOC Chief Executive Officer Dr Danny Jordaan.
The 2010 Official Accommodation plaques were given in recognition of the cooperative support the South African hospitality has given to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
"I have to say that in the last three or four years all our focus has been on the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We have found that the level of cooperation and support that we have received across all areas of cooperation has been extraordinary.
"It is therefore with great pleasure for me today to perhaps show a little gratitude on behalf of FIFA and the LOC for the collective effort of the hotel community and indeed all the accommodation providers and the so-called SMMEs have given to this event," Mr Byron said.
He said the experience of providing hospitality services during the FIFA events was a perfect opportunity to grow the South African hospitality industry.
"Your contribution is immeasurable and I think you will contribute to the great experience people will have, not only next year, but I am sure that they are constant and permanent contributors to the enjoyment that people receive when they come to this wonderful country of South Africa," said Mr Byron.
The South African hospitality industry has been trusted with the enormous task of providing accommodation and hospitality services to local and international fans, the FIFA family, the media, football clubs, the VIPs and the VVIPs during the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Three representatives from across the hospitality sector accepted the plaques on behalf of the entire industry.
The South African hospitality industry has formed strategic partnerships with the South African law enforcement agencies, the transport industry and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety and convenience of visitors in 2010.