2010 takes centre stage at Tourism Indaba

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Durban - The Union Buildings was not the only place rolling out the red carpet on Saturday, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban dished out star-treatment to delegates attending the South African Tourism Indaba Opening Ceremony.

Not to be outdone by the proceeding at the Union Buildings, the pouring rain could not stop proceedings at the 2009 edition of the internationally acclaimed Annual South African Tourism Indaba in KwaZulu Natal, a province famous for summery weather conditions all year round.

With just little over a year before the kick off to the world's foremost sporting event - the 2010 FIFA World Cup - it was not surprising that discussions here were dominated by topics of readiness to host the football spectacular.

The launch was attended by various government representatives, including state representatives from neighbouring countries such as Mauritius and Botswana.

2010 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Danny Jordaan, Bafana Bafana legend Mark Fish, World Cup Mascot Zakumi and various FIFA representatives attended the glittering ceremony.

Durban's Deputy Mayor Counsellor Logie Naidoo thanked the delegates and said he was looking forward to the 2010 Tourism Indaba which will also be hosted in Durban in a year's time.

"We are deeply indebted to all of you for giving us the vote of confidence by turning out in your numbers at this annual premier travel show; imagine what it will be like during the 2010 Indaba taking place in Durban next year," he said.

Mr Naidoo described the Tourism Indaba as Africa's biggest tourism expo. This year's event features 1 800 exhibitors and 400 local and international media representatives.

Didi Moyle, acting Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, said South Africa was a winning nation.

"We are using the Indaba this year to show that we are ready and waiting to welcome 2010 visitors. It's time to come to South Africa, celebrate 2010 with passion and enthusiasm and participate in the many lucrative opportunities offered by this winning industry and nation," said Moyle.

The Chairperson of the South African Tourism Board Jabu Mabuza said the South African tourism industry was performing fairly well in the face the ailing global economy.

"Global economies are in turmoil and many of our key travel markets are officially in recession, things are tough out there...and our industry is feeling the effects.

"Growth in the global travel industry was 1.3 percent last year, South Africa faired better at 5.5 percent growth and we remain cautiously confident that we will meet our targets," said Mr Mabuza.

He said South Africa was on track to receive more than ten million visitors by 2010 and assured delegates that South Africa was ready to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"We are ready to host the world, tonight we want the world to know that 2010 FIFA World Cup is going to be a spectacular of passion, of celebration, of excitement, of rhythm and of efficiency," he said.

He said the surging demand for 2010 FIFA World Cup tickets was an indication of eagerness and anticipation for the first ever African World Cup.

South African Tourism also used the occasion to launch a new 2010 FIFA World Cup television commercial.