Host city Durban along with the rest of KwaZulu-Natal are all geared up to host the Tourism Indaba, Africa’s premier tourism trade show, which kicks off at the Durban ICC on Tuesday.
The authorities say hosting the event continues to be a major plus for the tourism sector, having pumped more than R2.6 billion into the economy in the 26 years it has been held in Durban.
An announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday about the future host city of the trade show – and both eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Sihle Zikalala said they were keeping their fingers crossed that Durban would get to continue as the host city.
The city has submitted a bid to host the event for the next five years.
Zikalala said hosting Tourism Indaba came with many spin-offs especially for the tourism industry and associated businesses, big and small.
“It contributes millions of rand to the economy and that sustains jobs. Tourism Indaba will be attended by tour operators including the tour promoters not only from South Africa but from the world as a whole. As those tour operators go back, they will be selling packages to people in their countries.”
Gumede said the city has organised a series of township tours for some of the visitors attending this year’s Indaba. These will be attended by tour operators from the SADC region and journalists from India, China and America. They will include a tour to the Valley of a Thousand Hills, a tour to KwaMashu and Ntuzuma townships and another one to Umlazi.
“We expect this year’s Tourism Indaba to make a contribution of no less than R105 million to our economy, with a direct spend of more than R29m. This is expected to create and sustain more than 220 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Gumede.
The mayor said there was value in hosting the event, which she said brought in no less than R100m per year.
“That means from hosting Tourism Indaba for the past 26 years we have gained about R2.6 billion, while we spend less than R20m to host the event each year.”
Gumede said more than 7 000 people were expected to attend the trade show.
Lindiwe Rakharebe, chief executive officer of the Durban ICC, said apart from showcasing the continent’s tourism offering to the rest of the world, the event is also an important platform to discuss the growth and development of the tourism industry in the years ahead.
“Indaba is one of the highlights of our year and our team is excited to have major role-players in Africa’s tourism industry under our roof once again,” she said.
She said preparations were under way to ensure an “unforgettable experience” for the international and domestic tourism buyers, media, visitors and exhibitors.
Zikalala said during the event local government leaders would interact with their counterparts from other African countries on programmes that connect South Africa with various parts of the continent.
* The Tourism Indaba takes place from 16 -18 May. For more coverage of this premier tourism trade show buy The Mercury, Daily News and Sunday Tribune and visit iol.co.za.