South African Tourism hosts ambassadors of soccer-playing nations in build up to 2010 World Cup

{ Posted on Aug 13 2013 by B-man }
Categories : Travel news

Ambassadors in South Africa representing each of the 31 nations competing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup gathered at the head office of South African Tourism in Johannesburg last week to celebrate this high profile sporting event.

They were joined by the ambassadors of other African countries currently in the country.

South African Tourism CEO, Thandiwe January-McLean, told guests that Africa had been vocal about its problems for too long. “We need to be outspoken about our triumphs, too. And one of our biggest triumphs is bringing this World Cup home to African soil,” she said.

“This is not only the first time that the World Cup will be contested here in Africa. It is also a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us to welcome the world to our continent.”

The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany had attracted a cumulative television audience of 26-billion people, and it is expected that the upcoming event in South Africa will attract at least that many viewers.

“This is the number of people who we are able to reach with our messaging during the World Cup. It is also the number of people who, through the World Cup, will develop an awareness of and an interest in Africa generally and South Africa specifically. It’s an opportunity that is more than golden – it’s an opportunity that’s priceless.”

South African Tourism has spent the past six years, since the news in 2004 that the country had won the right to host the World Cup, communicating messages of hospitality to the world.

“We want to make sure that 2010 is not a flash in the tourism pan. We all need to show the world the warm, friendly, hospitable heart of Africa. Our continent’s and our country’s beauty speaks for itself. It’s there. It’s a given. It’s our people who are going to give visitors the experience that they will never forget; that they will take home with them; tell other people about; and treasure forever.”

January-McLean said South African Tourism welcomed opportunities to collaborate with the national Department of Arts and Culture to grow cultural tourism to South Africa.

There was, she said, a new ‘cultural tourism’ – a visit to a country to meet the people, eat the national cuisine, understand and experience their mythologies and religions, sleep in their homes and join them at their rituals.

“We have, in South Africa, a largely unexploited opportunity to create product and itineraries for cultural tourism that give visitors an opportunity to imbibe the national culture, interact with South Africans and intimately understand how history, landscape and time have defined this nation as different from any other.”

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