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TheNew York Times has named South Africa as one of the top destinations to visit in 2009 in its annual travel guide of Places to Go.
The Times 2009 list features 44 of the world's most compelling holiday destinations as determined by Times editors as well as readers. According to readers, South Africa ranks 20th on the list of Places to Go in 2009, while Times editors ranked South Africa 34th.
However, both the readers and editors agree that South Africa is the definitive destination for "affordable luxury". Describing South Africa as an idyllic country, the annual travel guide says that with its famed safaris, world-class wineries and fabulous beaches, South Africa is fast "becoming one of the best bets for American travellers looking for high-end experiences at relatively low-end prices".
Other destinations featured in the 2009 list are Rome, Berlin, and Zambia for its "less-beaten jungle path".
The US has, in recent years, grown to become one of SA's key tourism markets. In 2007, more than 275000 Americans visited SA, making the US South Africa's second biggest overseas arrival destination after the United Kingdom.
While the global economic crisis has resulted in an overall global tourism decline of 20 percent, South Africa has remained relatively unscathed in the past year, with the destination remaining popular among American and other global travellers.
According to South African Tourism's most recent statistics, overall tourism arrivals for the period January to October 2008 increased by 5,4 percent totalling 7,8 million arrivals.
l For more on the 44 Places to Go to in 2009, visit www.nytimes.com