Durban — South African tourism organisations described Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) 2023 as a success and disclosed that Durban was pitched to be the permanent home of the show.
The indaba was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (ICC).
South African Tourism acting chief convention bureau officer Zinhle Nzama said the ATI was the third-biggest trade show in the world and was returning to pre-Covid visitor numbers.
Nzama said delegates and the Africa industry at large were shown that there were a lot of opportunities in the region and that there was a need to come together to overcome any external factors.
“We need to mitigate the connectivity issues that we have as a continent and find ways of making it easy to move around Africa,” said Nzama.
She said it was a tough time for the sector after the tourism trade industry missed two editions of the ATI because of Covid.
“In 2023, we agreed with the centre as well as our bid party to say we need to go back to our pre-Covid times, so we can look at what was expected and what we have delivered,” she said.
“We have reached the expectations of the industry. If we look at 2022, which was staged at a really uncertain time, we are very reserved in terms of our numbers, which regulate how we gather as a sector, particularly on conferences and related gatherings.”
Nzama said in 2022, the ATI had just more than 6 000 delegates and the overall walk-ins registered for this year numbered 8 629.
“Last year we had to come together as a sector to find solutions and we agreed that networking would be key. However, we will need to approach this year with a different view. As of today, we are sitting with over 21 000 meetings, which is a very progressive number where we closed the show with 30 000,” said Nzama.
She said the growing numbers of participants had given a sense of how the show had grown.
Tourism KZN chief operations officer Phindile Makwakwa said some government officials had suggested that Durban became a permanent home of the indaba.
“It makes sense for Durban to be a permanent host. It is a location that everybody knows.
“We believe that we continue to work very strongly with South African Tourism. It is really a team effort to decide to make the ATI a true African show, from the aspects of us as hosts and selling Africa to our international buyers and making sure we put our best foot forward for international media as well, to gain leverage from the opportunity of hosting,” she said.
“We understand we are the host province for Africa and we are very aware that it gives us an opportunity to show our abilities to host major global events,” said Makwakwa.
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