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South Africa 'likely to be popular in 2010'

South Africa is likely to be popular with backpackers and gap year travelers next year, it has been claimed.

According to British Airways (BA), around half a million people are expected to fly to Cape Town for the World Cup next June.

Sue Botes, a spokesperson for the airline, said the tournament is likely to catapult Cape Town straight to the top of the long-haul league.

"We are already preparing for the event and have additional flights in place, as well as our local carrier Comair to connect fans to destinations around the republic," she added.

Other destinations that set to attract more travelers than usual include next year's capital of culture Istanbul and Dubrovnik in Croatia, BA believes.

Speaking recently, Vanessa Lenssen, founder and chief executive of GoLearnTo.com, said backpackers can have a more authentic experience when abroad by learning a few words of the local language.

She added that it can help travelers to get off the tourist trail and immerse themselves in the culture of the place they are visiting.

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