South Africa is 'Der Liebling' of World's Biggest Travel Fair

South Africa is the darling of this year's Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB) travel & tourism show in Berlin in Germany.

South Africa is the darling of this year's Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) travel & tourism show in Berlin, Germany. TB is Europe's largest travel & tourism exhibition for the public & attracts tens of thousands of travellers, travel agents & journalists from all over the world.

Chief Executive Officer of SA Tourism, Moeketsi Mosola highlighted current developments in the South African travel industry & described how tourism has become "South Africa's new gold".

Mosola said that growing tourism was a key component of South Africa's national economic growth & development strategy. "Just last month, our government identified tourism as key to its plan to halve unemployment & poverty by 2014.

Indeed this industry has the potential to create more than 40 000 new jobs between now & 2014 & to grow its contribution to South Africa's GDP from eight percent to 12 percent" said Mosola.

This message to the trade and media, & South Africa's growing appeal as a destination, were given a significant shot in the arm as "der Kaizer" & legendary German football hero, Franz Beckenbauer also addressed media on the "awesome & amazing South Africa destination." He said: "This country, SA, changes you. It is the new frontier of travel. It is a destination for all the people of the world. I love the warmth of its sunshine. This is one of the engine rooms of the global travel industry. The fact that there is so much interest in SA at ITB this year, & the fact that international celebrities like Mr. Beckenbauer are endorsing our destination bodes extremely well for our industry & for our economy."

International arrivals to SA had grown at an average of seven percent in recent times. "We confidently expect seven million arrivals for the year 2005," Mosola said. Outside of the UK, Germany is this biggest European source market for South Africa.

The destination stand at ITB this year features numerous interactive exhibitions, but focuses on South Africa's status as FIFA World Cup host in 2010. SA, Mosola said, will begin its World Cup 2010 destination marketing campaign in earnest as soon as this year's FIFA World Cup Soccer championship ends in Germany.

SA looked forward to its hosting of the championship in 2010. The travel & tourism industry, especially, stood to benefit most from the FIFA World Cup 2010 & it was in this industry that World Cup economic benefits would be most sustainable... not only in South Africa but across the entire Southern African region.

"We are committed to ensuring that The FIFA World Cup 2010 will stimulate our economy & leave a lasting physical, social & economic legacy in our country. However, FIFA World Cup 2010 is not an end in itself... it is but a milestone in our quest to make destination SA the world's top destination in terms of service excellence, hospitality, authenticity, variety & awesome experiences."

Source: Destination / February 2006

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