Tourism minister showcases 2010 readiness to 100 German travel trade representatives

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Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk welcomed one of the largest tourism industry delegations to the country and expressed his confidence that the delegation would be impressed by South Africa's depth of offering as a long-term investment market.

He says: "Germany is one of our most important source markets in terms of foreign arrivals and we have always cultivated a special relationship with the German travel trade. Germany is the world's fourth largest source of long haul tourists and South Africa's third largest source of foreign visitors. Over 162 000 German tourists visited South Africa between January and October 2009 alone."

"This visit represents an unparalleled opportunity to market South Africa and to build sustainable relationships. This will in turn help us achieve our goals of growing the South African tourism industry in order to stimulate economic growth, create decent jobs and empower marginalised communities."

"We have seen a lot of unwarranted scepticism about South Africa's readiness to host the World Cup. Our message to the world continues to consistently be that we are on track with all our preparations, ranging from stadiums, transport, infrastructure, security measures and accommodation to visa measures."

"I am very certain that the members of this visiting delegation will be able to see our readiness for themselves and experience the hospitality, vibrancy and enthusiasm that South Africa is famous for. I would appeal to them to take this message back home to Germany with them," van Schalkwyk says.

Adi Juen, regional director of TUI Germany is leading the group of German travel agents, TUI management and trade press in their tour. In addition to meeting the minister, they will also meet with the local travel industry, South African Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

TUI Germany is a wholly owned subsidiary of TUI Travel PLC, the world's biggest travel company listed on the LSE. TUI Travel PLC has operations in 180 countries and services over 30 million customers annually.

Juen says: "TUI Germany's recent investment in a South Africa Winter Travel Catalogue demonstrates its confidence in the destination despite the global down turn in long haul holidays."

The week-long programme kicked off in Cape Town on 4 February with a dinner at the Grand Caf and Beach Restaurant at Granger Bay followed by a beach party. While in South Africa the delegation will discover Cape Town and the winelands as well as experience the Eastern Cape.

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