Photos: Cape Town calls

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  1. Spectacular view

    The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, with Devil's Peak, left, Table Mountain, center, and Leeukop, right, in the background. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Main Street

    The Main Street in Simon's Town in Cape Town, South Africa. Located on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, Simon's Town is home to a key naval base. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Colorful architecture

    A man walks through the Bo-Kaap area, a predominantly Muslim area of Cape Town with houses painted in bright colors lining many of the streets. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Eggman cometh

    The "Eggman" from Benin laughs as he speaks on a fake telephone at Greenmarket square. "Eggman" has become a popular tourist attraction at the famous outdoor market where he walks around as a living sculpture looking for tips. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. On the waterfront

    Diners sit outside the Den Anker restaurant on a waterfront pier in Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. National treasure

    The King protea (Protea cynaroides) - the national flower of South Africa - is displayed at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. (Steve Ann Toon / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Fresh from the vine

    A farmworker picks red cabernet grapes on Ongegund Farm in the Durbanville Hills area. Smooth and elegant with a medley of tastes as diverse as the terroir which yields it, South Africa's wine industry has proved it ages well 350 years after grapes were first pressed in the Cape. (Rodger Bosch / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Majestic mountain

    A climber abseiling down Cape Town's most famous landmark, Table Mountain. The majestic mountain rises 3,563 feet above sea level at its highest point. Of the many ways to ascend the mountain, the best way is to take the cable car ride to the top. (Henrik Trygg / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. The easy way up

    The upper cable station on Table Mountain. From the top of the peak, sightseers can get a panoramic view of the Cape Town area. (Anna Zieminski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. View from above

    An aerial view of the Clifton area. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Color on the sand

    Colorful beach huts line St. James Beach. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Scenic harbor

    The picturesque natural inlet of Hout Bay, just outside Cape Town. (Francois Xavier Marit / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Charismatic critters

    African Jackass penguins waddle out to sea at Cape Peninsula. Named for their call, which resembles a donkey's bray, the penguins are found only off the coast of South Africa. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Monster swell

    South African big wave surfer Andy Marr surfs a wave at an offshore reef known as Dungeons off Cape Town. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Eye for adventure

    Kiteboarders glide across the water, with Table Mountain in the backdrop. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Ancient overseers

    Camps Bay Beach is overlooked by the Twelve Apostles. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town
    Corbis
    Above: Slideshow (16) Cape Town calls - Cape Town calls
  2. Image: South Africa FIFA 2010 World Cup tourism
    Jon Hrusa / EPA
    Slideshow (33) Cape Town calls - Scintillating South Africa
  3. Gianluigi Geurcia, Stephane De Sakutin / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (10) Cape Town calls - 2010 World Cup stadiums
updated 7/30/2007 4:52:56 PM ET 2007-07-30T20:52:56

South Africa's tourism minister acknowledged that his country's reputation for crime was keeping visitors away, and said his ministry was working with police to address the issue.

According to one survey, Marthinus van Schalkwyk said in a speech to tourism industry leaders, about one-third of potential tourists had mentioned fears about safety as one reason for not visiting South Africa in the past five years.

"Crime is an issue we as industry have to deal with if we want to reach our target of 10 million arrivals by 2010," van Schalkwyk said.

Tourism is booming in South Africa, thanks to its stunning beaches and scenery, prolific wildlife, rich cultural heritage and low prices. In 2006 the number of visitors shot up by one million to 8.4 million and the government is upbeat about smashing its target of 10 million by the time South Africa hosts the soccer World Cup in 2010.

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Business tourism is also thriving, with Cape Town in particular emerging as a popular venue for conferences.

But crime is also rising, as evidenced by recently released statistics which showed an increase in the number of murders, violent robberies and carjackings.

Foreign visitors, with their expensive cameras and bulging wallets, are easy prey for muggers.

The government has promised to increase spending on security and boost police numbers from the current 152,000 to 190,000 by 2010 and insists that soccer fans flooding in for the World Cup will be safe.

Van Schalkwyk said his department was working with police on a new Tourism Safety and Awareness strategy. Tourist industry representatives had also started giving police information on activities, routes and events, he said.

He said authorities were considering having a designated officer in every police station to dealing with tourism crime-related issues. The long term aim was to establish Tourism Ambassador Units in police stations, he said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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