Johannesburg – As the world descends on Africa to mourn the passing of former President Nelson Mandela, the Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Mr Thulani Nzima has said: “We welcome the world into South Africa, all be this a sad occasion to receive visitors. South Africans are more than ready to reciprocate the warmth that’s been shown to us by the entire world.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of well-wishes, for the condolences as well as for the spirit of gratitude for Madiba’s life and legacy that we’ve received. Our thoughts at this time are to ensure that our visitors receive the famous South African warmth and welcome we’re renowned for.”
South African President, Mr Jacob Zuma, announced a 10-day period of mourning for the nation to remember Mr Mandela and honour the legacy of this great man. Well more than 100 current and former heads of state attended the national memorial service for Mr Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Nasrec yesterday. It was screened live to billions all over the world as among the most influential and powerful people in the world today paid tribute to Madiba.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon paid his respects to Madiba at the Johannesburg memorial service yesterday, whilst US President Barack Obama was accompanied by three of his predecessors: Jimmy Carter, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, their spouses, and 26 congressmen. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was accompanied by four former Brazilian heads of state. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was also in attendance at the memorial service in Johannesburg, as were other African heads of state: Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Joseph Kabila, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and President of Chad, Idriss Deby. British Prime Minister David Cameron was at Tuesday’s memorial service, whilst Prince Charles will attend Mabida’s funeral in Qunu.
“South Africa’s infrastructure is fully equipped to manage the demands put on it at this time. Not only is there a significant influx of foreign visitors to our destination, but domestic travel will rise too as people travel to attend memorial events, to be present at the funeral in Qunu and embark on the annual festive season holiday period. We encourage all travelers to consider all South Africa’s transportation options: air, road and rail as they spend time in South Africa
“We have a variety of graded accommodation options that travellers can make use of. The traveler should note that it may also make sense to make use of accommodation options close to their final destination and commute in and out of the many centers where memorial services are being held,” continued Nzima.
“This week South Africa is hosting the single largest, most viewed and best attended funeral service in history. We are committed, with our industry and with our leaders, to making it a truly memorable occasion for the millions who are taking part to bid Madiba farewell, and to be part of this truly momentous time in our national history, and in world history,” Mr Nzima concluded.