The Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona has declared the 2018 edition of Africa’s Travel Indaba as a successful expo that would boost the business of tourism on the African continent.
“Indaba’s goal is to create a platform that allows the world to do business with Africa and business is happening. We are therefore encouraged by the number of buyers and exhibitors who have come from various parts of the world. They are our valued partners, who assist us to package and sell Africa to the world,” he noted.Follow @Graphicgh
“When we took the decision to make Indaba a pan-African event, it was a deliberate strategy on our part to boost the African economy,” Ntshona noted at the three-day tourism trade event in Durban, KwaZulu Natal, organized by the organization he oversees.
According to him, “the growing number of African countries at Africa’s Travel Indaba has bolstered their commitment to being here. They are seeing the benefit of the expo and being part of a show that focuses only on Africa. The show is for Africa.” Of the over 80 countries that registered, a total of 23 African countries attended the Indaba.
According to figures released by South African Tourism, overall registrations for the 2018 edition reached more than 7,000, resulting in an increase of 4% from last year’s figures, a total of 1,747 registered buyers, which was an increase of 14% from last year and 1,100 registered exhibitors or an increase of 5.7% from last year. Of the exhibitors, 200 were taking part for the first time.
The organisers expected Indaba to create a lasting legacy for the City of Durban and the economy of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province by encouraging and supporting local procurement. It was expected to inject a R89million (or $7million) to KZN’s GDP. “This is the 21st anniversary of the Durban ICC this year - a fitting way to start our five-year journey with this award-winning venue,” says Ntshona.
On his part Phillip Sithole, Deputy City Manager for Economic Development and Planning for the city of Durban said “The city was excited to host Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2018. Tourism remains the major economic contributor and vital in creating job opportunities.”
“Indaba is one of the events we are proud to host as it gives us the results that the city needs to boost tourism and investor participation in the city’s key infrastructure programs that aim to change the landscape of the city,” he added.
He also noted how the announcement at the official opening of Indaba of the direct flight from Heathrow to King Shaka International Airport by British Airways this year would boost tourism in the City and province.
“This means the gateway to UK and Europe is now opened for investors and visitors. Real work has begun, together with our partners – KwaZulu-Natal Tourism, and South African Tourism to ensure that this route becomes a success,” he noted.
One very important highlight of this year’s Indaba was its partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the Nelson Mandela 100 centenary programme. This led to various activations throughout the three days of Africa’s Travel Indaba.
The networking opening event celebrated the global icon with local flair with a local cast directed by a local director. “We invite you to the 100 places of Madiba and share your experiences with the world. Walk in the footprints of Madiba and find the better person in you,” Ntshona advised the delegates at Indaba.
Africa’s Travel Indaba, which took place from May 8th to May 10th at the Durban International Convention Centre, is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African continent and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global stage. It showcases the widest variety of Africa's best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world.
Owned by South Africa’s tourism marketing and development organization, South African Tourism, Africa’s Travel Indaba will continue to be held in Durban for the next four years as it won the rights to host it for five more years at the 2017 edition.