Staff at the South African embassy in Sofia have been asked to be of every assistance to Bulgarians keen to visit the country for the 2010 Fifa Football World Cup, ambassador Sheila Camerer said on September 28 2009.
 
She was speaking at a news conference to launch the South African embassy’s new website saembassybulgaria.com which includes, among several other features, a package of information about next year’s World Cup.
 
Bulgarians require visas to travel to South Africa, but in December 2008 South Africa announced plans for special "event visas" which may be applied for by visitors who can provide proof that they have bought a ticket for at least one of the Fifa World Cup matches. This facility is being worked on through the country's department of home affairs.
 
Embassy first secretary Thabiso Motau told the news conference that the embassy had no tickets to supply and all tickets should be booked through Fifa.
 
As to the question of South Africa’s readiness for the World Cup, Camerer said that she had been told at a briefing in August that all stadiums were 95 per cent ready, except for Green Point in Cape Town which was 85 per cent ready, for the event which begins on June 11 2010. The embassy website features a to-the-second countdown clock until kickoff of the opening match.
 
Camerer said that the launch of the website was a sign of South Africa’s determination to enhance its relations with Bulgaria, which were already in a good state.
 
"I believe that there is plenty of fertile ground and every reason for trade, cultural and political ties between our countries to broaden," she said.
 
Bulgaria and South Africa had much to offer each other, including because Bulgaria was a member of the European Union and the fact that South Africa was a member of the G20 which, it was decided at the group’s Pittsburgh summit, would succeed to the G7’s role in global economic policy discussions.
 
Camerer said that South Africa was expanding its mission in Sofia and working to increase trade between South Africa and Bulgaria.
 
"At present the trade between our two countries does not remotely reflect the potential for trade and investment."
 
The Black Sea ports of Varna and Bourgas and the developments taking place there were "of great interest" to South Africa, as were the major development projects in road construction and energy.
 
Similarly, there was great potential in mutual tourism.

Camerer said that, as ambassador, her priority would be to ensure reciprocal visits by top government leaders to re-activate the many agreements that existed between Bulgaria and South Africa.

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