South African Promotion launched in Spain

Madrid - South African Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Lindiwe Hendricks launched a South African Promotion at El Corte Ingles, Spain's largest and most popular department store chain. The event took place on 20th May 2005 at the Castellana Store in Madrid. El Corte Ingles has over 70 stores in Spain and in excess of 1000 travel agencies. Castellana, their flagship store in Madrid has an impressive 7 stories, with goods ranging from food products, gift items, clothes, electrical products, and more.

The South African promotion will run from 20th May to 11th June at 40 of the El Corte Ingles department stores. The promotion has a display of over 100 South African products in the stores ranging from crafts, wines, gifts, cushions, blankets, clothes, and cutlery. Three of the suppliers to El Corte Ingles accompanied the Deputy Minister to Spain, they include the well-known South African company, Carol Boyes; a clothing manufacturer Sister Bucks; and craft company Gone Rural. Mr Oscar Ngcobo from Gone Rural supplied 17 000 units of beaded bracelets and necklaces.

To give the launch of the promotion a South African feel and generate greater interest in the South African products, the Department of Trade and Industry, who worked with El Corte Ingles on the project, also assisted 10 crafters to travel to Spain. The crafters are working on site and demonstrating their abilities for the Spanish public. The crafters include: bead workers, artists, and wire bangle makers.

According to Deputy Minister Hendricks the impact of this promotion will see the ties between Spain and South Africa being strengthened. Already El Corte Ingles have purchased R30 million worth of goods from the South African suppliers, with more arising in the near future.

The promotion will also see South Africa being marketed as a destination for Spanish tourists. The one million people that pass through El Corte Ingles every day will have the opportunity of booking their holiday to South Africa and entering a competition to visit the country, with flights sponsored by South African Airways. The International Marketing Council are using the opportunity of this promotion to further market and brand South Africa.

Spain has made significant investments into South Africa and is South Africa's 11th largest trading partner. While in Spain, Hendricks met with several of the largest Spanish investors into the country, she said they were very excited about the opportunities in South Africa and several were expanding their investments.

Mxolisi Matshamba, the acting CEO of the dti division, Trade and Investment South Africa, commented that given the levels of interest in the country by both investors and tourists, South Africans will need to brush up on their Spanish and understanding of Spanish culture.

Deputy Minister Hendricks is scheduled to launch the South Africa promotion at the El Corte Ingles store in Lisbon, Portugal on Tuesday 24th May 2005.

Issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the South African Embassy in Madrid

Private Bag X152

20 May 2005

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