13 May 2013
South Africa has been voted the top destination by members of the world's largest travel and lifestyle social network, Where Are You Now? (WAYN), in the site's recent "dream destination competition".
The country beat Brazil, India, Dubai, Fiji, Turkey and Indonesia with 15 300 votes from members around the world.
A total 78 000 votes were counted for all seven of the destinations. The nominated countries and cities were selected through market research and tracking user engagement on WAYN.
"All seven countries and cities nominated were extremely worthy contenders and dream destinations in their own right," WAYN co-founder and chief risk officer, Jeremy Touze, said in a statement last week.
"The immense popularity of South Africa as a tourist destination has been reinforced by this competition, and interestingly the activity we are seeing correlates with the recent announcement by President Jacob Zuma that the amount of foreign visitors to South Africa has grown by 300% to 13.5-million visitors, 9.2-million of which were tourists."
Touze said South Africa's strongest following comes from Asia, in particular India. "Out of the 408 000 fans of South Africa on WAYN, there are now over 108 000 fans from India alone," he said.
"We are privileged to live in an incredible country, a land of spectacular wildlife, awe-inspiring adventure and unique heritage and culture," said chief executive officer of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima.
"It is home to warm, welcoming people, eager to share it with travellers from around the world.
"We are already touched by the hundreds of thousands of friends our destination has made on the WAYN.com platform and we are delighted with this accolade, which we hope will make more people's dreams of visiting South Africa a reality," Nzima said.