Africa’s Travel Indaba: a bridge for business

This year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba was hosted over three days from the 7th to the 10th of May. It was three days of intense connecting, marketing and promotion between...
Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018. Image courtesy of
Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018. Image courtesy of

This year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba was hosted over three days from the 7th to the 10th of May. It was three days of intense connecting, marketing and promotion between Africa’s 22 countries – their tourism products and offerings, destinations, tourism authorities, and tourism stakeholders and buyers.

The SA Tourism-owned Indaba celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, seeing over 1 060 exhibitors from 22 African countries in attendance – more than 160 were first-time exhibitors, 26 Lap Of Luxury five-star exhibitors and 135 Hidden Gems small business exhibitors.

Over 1 460 buyers from 69 countries around the world were in attendance – 67% being international buyers, and 33% being South African. Several powerful presentations and panel discussions by some of Africa’s most influential tourism stakeholders complemented the continent’s collaboration of tourism players. One of these was the African Ministers’ Session, which focused on regional tourism.

“This year we focused on how integrating regional tourism can be used as a tool for economic development,” said SA Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom. “We explored the role of governments in creating a conducive environment for regional tourism integration, and the role of the private sector and investors in developing regional tourism products and promoting growth.”

(L-R) Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister of
Tourism; Mr Thembinkosi Willies Mchunu, Kwa
Zulu Natal Premier; Fawzia Peer, Deputy Mayor of
eThekwini; Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism;
Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism.

There were also speed marketing sessions which covered various areas of tourism interest such as heritage, history and culture as well as township tourism and wildlife and adventure. ‘Business conversations’ involved panel discussions on transformation in the tourism industry; the fourth industrial revolution, responsible tourism; and strategies to maximise youth employment and development.

There was also a tourism investment seminar hosted by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. They discussion was centred on dealing with the crisis within the African travel and tourism industry. Alongside was a women in tourism networking event and various industry announcements.

Tourism Promotions Manager of the Zambia Tourism Agency, Angela Chimpinde said she was happy to see the

Indaba showcasing tour operators from the region. She added that the Indaba was well organised and it had excellent buyers.”

Nonkie Theko, sales representative of Qualito Craft Distillery in Limpopo, said Indaba was remarkable. “We were brought here by the Limpopo municipality, and have found it to be an excellent platform for promoting SMMEs. We are hoping that the links and relationships built here will open doors for us as a business, and for our regional businesses. We are aiming to be here again next year.”

The recently launched Tourism Conservation Fund was also present at the expo. “The Indaba has been a great platform for the TCF – meeting potential partners who want to invest in developing commercial linkages of different kinds with community enterprises at various points along their value chain,” said Paul Zille, CEO of the TCF.

Thompsons Africa CEO, Alessandra Allemann felt that the expo really zoned in on quality as opposed to quantity this year. “We had the right people here – complementary businesses, from tour operators to destination management companies from across southern and East Africa, who could connect and talk real, constructive and productive business.
This is what it’s all about, and we loved the look and feel of the expo”, he said .

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