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South Africa is the forefront of the fight against the closure of the tourism industry - African tourism heads

Kefiloe Molefe (left) with Mpho Sikisi deputy chairperson of Free State Gambling Liquor and Tourism Authority and Sylvia Motloung also from the same authority at the Africa Travel Indaba taking place at the Durban ICC. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Kefiloe Molefe (left) with Mpho Sikisi deputy chairperson of Free State Gambling Liquor and Tourism Authority and Sylvia Motloung also from the same authority at the Africa Travel Indaba taking place at the Durban ICC. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Published May 5, 2022

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Durban - Delegations from around Africa rallied behind the country to lead the reopening of tourism destinations after two years of closure.

Tourism heads from the continent said on Wednesday that South Africa was at the forefront of the fight against the closure of the industry, stating that the Africa’s Travel Indaba held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre was a clear demonstration of readiness for the renewal of the sector.

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President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies and chief executive of Topaz in Abuja, Susan Akporiaye, commended the city of eThekwini for its work in ensuring the success of the indaba.

“Covid-19 taught us hard life lessons and we can see that South Africa as a country showed that despite the pandemic it is possible to thrive in tourism. The country has come out better and has given us much-needed lessons in terms of tourism on the continent.

“As a promoter of tourism on the continent, I encourage all African countries to stop selling their destinations to international investors and start putting resources (in place) to retain their land and promote tourism. It is common knowledge that as a continent, we have everything we need to make our continent more attractive,” she said.

Akporiaye said that African people needed to stop looking down on themselves and start appreciating each other, and be agents of change in their land.

President of the Tour Operations Union of Ghana, Alisa Osei Asamoah, said that the event indicated that South Africa was a leader in African tourism.

She said that West Africa and South Africa had created a solid relationship, allowing them to promote each other.

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“We are on the ground to see the offerings South Africa provides so that when we go back we can sell South Africa’s products in our countries. The buyers who are in attendance are undoubtedly impressed with what the country has to offer.

“The food in Durban is amazing and we all are enjoying ourselves as the people have welcomed us with so much love. It is truly amazing to be in this coastal area,” Osei Asamoah said.

Tourism manager Archie Khumalo from Zululand District Municipality applauded KZN Tourism for giving a platform to various players, who were given an opportunity to not only showcase products but learn from other big players in the tourism sector.

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“Our cardinal aim is to market the Zululand District Municipality, which has a vast amount of attractive lands and other eye-catching sites worth seeing,” said Khumalo.

The indaba presented opportunities to first-time exhibitors, including Nkosikhona Pius Ndlovu, the founder of Amangonyama Tour Operators, who said the event provided him the opportunity to interact with various players in the industry, and gave his company exposure.

Ndlovu said his company had collaborated with professional service providers and offered day tours in the Midlands and in other parts of the province.

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Day two of the event, one of Africa’s biggest, kicked off at the beachfront promenade with a “fun run”, followed by a tour operator-hosted buyer networking session and an SAA buyer breakfast at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani hotel. Later at the convention centre buyers and exhibitors interacted and held meetings on the continent’s unique tourism offerings.

With thousands of delegates, over 539 buyers from across the world, and 126 uniquely African products and experiences, the indaba was expected to generate about R72.5 million for the city’s economy, the country’s tourism CEO Themba Khumalo said.

KZN Tourism CEO Phindile Makwakwa applauded the city and the provincial tourism team for the successful event, which brought together more than 55 countries.

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