Polokwane - Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk on Friday launched a R8.2 million 2010 Visitor Information Centre (VIC) which will effectively address the tourism needs of visitors expected to converge in the country during the FIFA World Cup.
"The model for this centre is based on the best international practice and will assist our tourism authorities in providing outstanding service to tourists as well as other stakeholders.
"With the launch of this facility we are taking another step in the process to hosting a world class event next year which all South Africans can be proud of," said Minister van Schalkwyk.
The one-stop shops will supply tourists with information on a wide range of services, including reservations, accommodation, tours, vehicle hire, entertainment, adventure and travel tips.
Visitors to the centre will be able to make use of user-friendly touch screens linked to central database of tourism products on offer and the advertisements of local businesses. They can also access free internet and an online booking system at the centres.
"The centres, funded by our department, create easy access and awareness of tourism related facilities and attractions within an area.
"VIC's are a key element of the visitor industry and play an integral part in the marketing chain and information distribution system," the minister said.
The construction of the Polokwane VIC was completed last month and boasts a welcome area, lobby and information area as well as an internet caf,, coffee shop and a curio shop.
In July this year, the first three VICs were launched in the Eastern Cape. The three centres are based at the Port Elizabeth Airport, the lighthouse facility at the Donkin Reserve and the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World.
Apart from Polokwane and Port Elizabeth other VIC projects are being rolled out in the World Cup host cities namely in Nelspruit, Rustenburg and Bloemfontein.