The 2010 Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) brand has been unveiled by nine Southern African countries at the Tourism Indaba 2008 in a bid to encourage tourism in these countries.
Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe on Saturday unanimously showed their support for the "Boundless Southern Africa" brand.
During her address, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Rejoice Mabudafhasi said the aim of the 'Boundless Southern Africa' brand was to become an authentically Southern African brand where the nine countries are united through a passion for nature, culture and community.
"The regional identity and character that defines this single brand most completely is simply the reverence for the deep authentic character of our cultural and natural heritage, and for its defining role in our lives as communities."
The development of the joint brand is based on the motivation to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa that hosting the world cup would not only benefit South Africa but the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
Ms Mabudafhasi said the world cup would bring along with it a range of business, investment and tourism opportunities for our region and the African continent at large.
"We have a chance here to shape the image of Southern Africa in a way that we may not have again.
"It is therefore critical for the region and the continent at large formulate and implement strategies that will enable the realisation of these opportunities," she added.
At a meeting of Tourism Ministers from SADC member countries held in June 2005 in Johannesburg, all the ministers undertook to collectively maximise the tourism potential of the region.
In that year the nine Southern African countries endorsed a strategy aimed at showcasing seven TFCAs that are found in their countries.
The purpose of the TFCA Development Strategy for 2010 and Beyond is to increase the tourism potential of Southern Africa by consolidating the marketing, infrastructure development and investment promotion efforts of existing transfrontier conservation initiatives.
The opportunities presented by the world cup to the tourism industry, include increased tourist arrivals as well as increased media focus to brand and market the region as a favourable tourist destination and to address the key challenges to deliver the experience.
"The distinctly unique tourism experience offered by this region certainly sets us apart from the rest of the world.
"We stand ready to welcome the world to our region. Our product range is unrivalled and to mention just a few, encompasses the world famous national parks, Victoria Falls, Ukahlamba-Drakensberg, the Okavango Delta, the Fish River Canyon, deserts and rivers, all of them within TFCAs," said Ms Mabudafhasi. - BuaNews