Durban will be the home of the Tourism Indaba for the next five years, the Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Saturday.
Van Schalkwyk made this announcement a the official opening of the Indaba, 33 days before South Africa hosts the world cup.
Addressing the event, President Jacob Zuma re-affirmed South Africa’s readiness to host the 2010 World Cup, saying the country would be under the microscopic scrutiny of the international community during the soccer tournament.
“Our delivery of the World Cup will impact on how the world sees Africa. It is in our hands to recast our country as a place of peace and prosperity. Let us join hands for a successful world cup,” he said.
“You would have noticed also that the stadiums are ready, the host-cities are ready. South Africa is ready. The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place and that picture is of a memorable and successful World Cup.”
He said the Tourism Indaba has for the past 20 years showcased the country’s natural beauty, its friendly people and modern nation.
“It has ensured that we maintain the standards set by the global tourism industry. This Indaba has ensured that this year we will break the 10 million mark for tourist arrivals.”
Attending the event was Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke who said South Africa’s stadia were better than that had been used by Germany when it hosted the last world cup.
Valcke flanked by the Local Organising Committee, chief executive officer, Danny Jordaan, said from June to July South Africa would be the most important country in the world and beyond the world cup.