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Feature| Exhibition World 30| April 2010| Sleeping giants " S outh Africa bucked the global trend with a five per cent increase in arrivals while international tourism declined worldwide by four per cent in 2009," according to Republic of South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma. The premier announced his belief in his country's ability to harness a strong events legacy to the tourism ministers of the G20 countries ( T20) at the United National World Tourism Organisation's Tourism, Sport and Mega Events International Summit, held alongside Thebes Exhibitions' trade exhibition Meetings Africa 2010 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. " In the wake of the recession and the uncertainty around the swine flu virus, it is time for nations to rebuild, reconstruct and focus on tourism," said Zuma, acknowledging that local liquidity, investment, employment and trade had been severely constrained by the " shockwaves" of recession. The country maintained a busy exhibition calendar throughout 2009 with many of its shows focusing on the recent influx of construction projects ahead of the World Cup. In the calendar for 2009 were events including South African organiser Specialised Exhibitions' building and construction exhibition, Interbuild Africa, Exhibition Management Services' 17th Southern African International Trade Exhibition ( SAITEX) and Afri- Build the international infrastructure, public works, building and construction exhibition. From international organisers' perspective Brand Events's Top Gear Live World Tour and Media 10' s Grand Designs Live as both scheduled at the Coca- Cola Dome in Johannesburg this year. With the World Cup just weeks away, South Africa, said Zuma, has been turned into a giant construction site. " We are building new infrastructure to take us into the future." He explained that his vision was to build a legacy as champions. " We want to make the dream of the founding democratic President, Nelson Mandela, a reality. He wanted to see a united, non- racial and prosperous South Africa." The summit was attended by 450 delegates representing 35 countries. South African minister for tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, highlighted the potential events legacy. Mega events such as the World Cup can demonstrate capacity, infrastructure, hospitality and the general competitiveness of the host country's travel and tourism industry. " Sports, mega events and business tourism are the sleeping giants of our tourism market, which hold huge potential and which we will exploit further to grow our industry," said Van Schalkwyk. " South Africa's tourism sector finds itself in the international spotlight this year," he said. " The business tourism sector is especially excited about what happens in the country this year and hopes to reap the benefits for years to come." The summit came at a critical time in the mega events calendar. The Winter Olympic Games in With weeks until billions of eyes are cast upon South Africa's soil for the FIFA World Cup, the country hosted an inaugural summit on mega events. Sarah O'Donnellwent to examine its agenda to create an international events legacy. THE MAGAZINE FOR THE GLOBAL EXHIBITION COMMUNITY WWW. EXHIBITION- WORLD. NET " We are building new infrastructure to take us into the future."