Africa’s Travel Indaba, the biggest travel and tourism trade show in Africa, took place in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban this week.
The who’s who of the tourism world was in attendance to get a glimpse of the variety of the continent’s best tourism products. Africa’s Travel Indaba once again put the continent on the map through its thought-provoking seminars, presentations and exhibition stands.
“Africa’s Stories. Your Success” was the theme for this year’s show. Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, the chief Convention Bureau officer of SA Tourism, said: “Trade shows such as Africa’s Travel Indaba provide a vital platform for buying and selling of tourism products. But it also provides a platform for collaboration and dialogue around issues and policies affecting tourism.”
“This is going to be the greatest Indaba of all time, and it’s all because of you,” said the South African Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom at the opening of Africa’s Travel Indaba. He was referring to the 1 747 buyers from all over the world, 1 120 exhibitors and no less than 22 African countries represented.
The launch of new routes
The biggest news announced during Indaba was the fact that British Airways will launch a direct flight between London Heathrow and Durban from 29 October this year. Sue Petrie, British Airways commercial manager in Southern Africa, said the direct flights should help grow international tourism to KwaZulu-Natal and provide a more convenient alternative for the province’s business travellers and holidaymakers wanting to get to the UK and Europe.
Bitcoin in Travel discussed during BONDay
On the day preceding the opening of Indaba, Bronwyn Williams, Trend Translator and Future Finances Specialist at Flux Trends, explained Blockchain to the audience. She stressed that blockchain is especially pertinent for the travel industry as it not only allows transactions, it also allows for smart contract building.
As part of the Nelson Mandela Centenary celebrations, South African Tourism identified 100 experiences, attractions and destinations around South Africa that have strong historical and social ties to his life and which have become familiar to the global community.
“The significance of launching this initiative at Africa’s Travel Indaba is to commemorate the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world,” said SA Tourism COO Sthembiso Dlamini.
Africa should take the lead in Responsible Tourism
A panel of experts discussed responsible tourism trends around the world and pointed out that Africa is best positioned to take the lead when it comes to responsible tourism.
“We look for solutions and guidelines outside, while they’re actually inside,” said Sisa Ntshona, SA Tourism CEO.
Morongoe Ramphele from the SA Department of Tourism added that we are already leading the world when it comes to issues of responsible tourism through the Minimum Standard of Responsible Tourism created by the National Government.
Let’s take Africa’s stories to the world
Naledi Khabo, MD of the African Travel Association, highlighted the fact that Africa is often at the heart of very negative media stories. Instead of waiting for a resolution to this problem to come from outside, she said: “The responsibility is ours to tell our stories to the world.”
Hidden Gems a huge success
Of the 1 120 exhibitors showcasing a range and diversity of products, there are 135 smaller enterprises, known as “Hidden Gems” from all nine provinces. The number of Hidden Gems increased by 50% since last year, and these small up-and-coming businesses are said to be fuelling the tourism industry today.