Africa unites for Tourism Indaba, a 3 day event promoting Africa. Picture: IOL.

INDABA, Africa’s leading travel show, returns to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from 16 to 18 May 2017, sporting a more streamlined programme and improved floor layout to make it easier for the world to come and sample the tourism treasures Africa has to offer.

Through the convenient online diary and matchmaking system, delegates can use technology to set up pre-scheduled meetings with buyers or exhibitors that may match their needs, saving time and enabling them to get the best out of the show.

This year’s heightened focus on matching like-minded tourism industry players is aimed at driving successful business deals while helping to showcase the kaleidoscope of product options on offer.

For instance, the Hidden Gems pavilion will introduce the world’s travel buyers and visitors to small tourism enterprises from each of South Africa’s nine provinces that may otherwise have remained undiscovered, in the hope of encouraging a broader range of authentic tourism experiences to be included in tours to South Africa.

Delegates at the trade show will be exposed to the full breadth of Africa’s tourism offerings, including high-end products at the Tourism Grading Council’s new luxury pavilion. This feature will cater to global buyers who are on the lookout for the premier five-star offerings many destinations on the continent are famed for.

Apart from the pre-scheduled meetings, buyers will have the chance to meet with exhibitors during the morning speed marketing sessions on each of the three show days. Here, participating exhibitors will be grouped according to themes such as lap of luxury, scenic outdoors and award winners before making short presentations on their offerings. These sessions are an excellent way for buyers to ask questions and learn more about exhibitors – many of whom are small businesses.

Because this is a continental showpiece, INDABA’s focus on African destinations gives visitors a chance to become acquainted with exciting product developments throughout the continent. Industry players from more than 17 African countries are taking part, including Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Réunion, Seychelles, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.