20 February 2008
US adventure travel website iExplore, which caters for high-end travellers searching for adventure and unique experiences, has listed South Africa as second in its list of top worldwide travel destinations for 2007 – a steady climb from third in 2006 and sixth in 2005.
Established in 1999, Chicago-based iExplore.com sells tours all over the world, focusing on adventure and experiential destinations, and has won awards from magazines such as Forbes, Time and Travel & Leisure for being the best adventure travel website.
According to its iExplore, adventure travel includes activities like hiking, biking, diving, and multi-sport tours, while experiential travel includes activities like cultural, expedition cruising, wildlife safari and culinary tours.
“This is a wonderful accolade for our country,” Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold told local newspaper The Weekender last Saturday. “Cape Town Tourism applauds the efforts of our adventure industry and the valuable contribution made to keeping SA top of mind when it comes to accolades and visitor choice.”
Du Toit-Helmbold said it was vital to build on the experiential tourism market, adding that South Africa’s experience-rich destinations were perfectly positioned to attract a bigger slice of the market.
Egypt held on to its top position for the third straight year, with the rest of iExplore’s top 10 largely unchanged from 2006.
“We continue to see heavy demand for the man-made and natural wonders of the world, as evidenced by the destinations on this list,” iExplore founder and CEO George Deeb said in a statement.
Other destinations showing strong growth in 2007 included Venezuela (up to #13), Jordan (#16), Nepal (#17) and Morocco (#18). Bumped from last year’s top 10 were Italy (down to #26) and Argentina (#21).
“These movements largely reflect emerging destinations like Venezuela, stabilising political situations like Nepal and the devaluation of the US dollar, impacting demand to Italy and the rest of Europe,” iExplore said on its website.
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