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BRASILIA - The Confederations Cup taking place in South Africa in June has generated a lot of interest in Brazil with just over 2000 Brazilians expected to travel to the "Festival of Champions".
This was announced by Pule Malefane, chief executive of the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA), yesterday on the opening day of the Soccerex forum held at the local convention centre.
Malefane is leading a four-man GTA delegation in Brasilia to sell hospitality packages to the Brazilians and other nations attending the Soccerex forum, which ends today.
They are part of a strong delegation from the Gauteng provincial government at the forum, which includes business people and journalists.
"We had a meeting with the tour operators here in Brazil who informed us that they will be bringing more than 2 000 tourists to South Africa for the Confederations Cup in June," said Malefane.
"In our discussions with the tour operators, we deal with things like accommodation and transport as well as visits to various places of huge interest in Gauteng province.
"We also link the Brazilian tour operators with colleagues in Gauteng to assist in the bookings and confirmations.
"Gauteng has a total of 2 700 tour guides who are trained and accredited by the relevant authorities in South Africa.
"We are here in Brazil to promote the African experience, our message to the Brazilians and other nations attending the Soccerex forum is that we have world-class star-graded facilities in South Africa for them to use during the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.
"Many people here can't wait to be in South Africa for both the Confederations Cup and World Cup, we are working hard to ensure they still visit our province and the rest of South Africa post 2010."
Some of the leading South African sports administrators in Brazil include MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation Barbara Creecy, chief director Ivor Hoff and head of department Dawn Robertson.
Representatives from the Gauteng Economic Development Agency are also attending the forum, which will be addressed by former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira today.
Brazil, Egypt, Spain, Italy, Iraq, the United States, South Africa and New Zealand will take part in this year's Confederations Cup.
l Ramatsiyi Moholoa is in Brazil as a guest of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency.