Travel Indaba provides a major boost for local businesses

Performers at the Africa Travel Indaba that was held last week at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Performers at the Africa Travel Indaba that was held last week at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 15, 2023


Performers at the Africa Travel Indaba that was held last week at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI), which took place from Tuesday to Thursday at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), seems to have fulfilled the expectations of most local businesses, who were delighted by its impact.

More than 8 629 delegates from across the world attended the event.

Delegates from all over the world came together and discussed how to place the African continent on the map during this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya (ANA)

This year’s edition saw local and international businesses come together to showcase their different products, and network with potential clientele for future collaborations.

eThekwini Municipality is expecting a revenue of R130 million from the Africa Travel Indaba. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Cindy Govender of the Mangwanani African Spa, a beauty business with more than 20 branches countrywide, said they were delighted by the reception they received from clients at the ATI, especially because they couldn’t attend the conference in the past three years due to Covid-19.

“Since we started on Tuesday, we’ve had long queues of clients lining up for our service, so much so that there were times where we had to ask some clients to come back the next day.

“From an exposure point of view, I think this was the best edition of the Travel Indaba that we’ve ever attended, and now we are looking forward to opening more branches in other African countries because we’ve had requests from clients in countries like Tanzania, Cameroon, Uganda and Zimbabwe,” said Govender.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s brand and marketing manager Thandi Shabalala, said just like in other years, it was critical for them to attend such conferences as it often linked them with possible clients from different countries.

“Africa’s Travel Indaba is the third largest travel event in the world, therefore it’s important for businesses to attend it as it brings about positivity and growth in the business.

“We were happy to be back in full capacity, and we are delighted to have had productive meetings with possible clients who are seemingly interested to visit our different establishments, more especially those coming from other countries who are interested in nature and wellness, which is what we have to offer,” said Shabalala.

Samkeliswe Khanyile, a Pietermaritzburg-based fashion designer and founder of Qhawekazi, said she was impressed with the ATI.

“We’ve had clients buying our products, with others placing their orders to buy at a later stage. This is very positive for me as a local business looking for growth. I am happy to be part of a conference of this magnitude, and I hope to attend more conferences of this nature in the near future,” she said.

Bright Ngcobo, an Nquthu-based entrepreneur and founder of the beads company Bright Beads, said she was excited to be at the indaba as it allowed her to interact with clients and entrepreneurs.

“The plan is to now partner with other stakeholders. Opportunities were made available, now the onus is on me as to how far I take this going forward,” said Ngcobo.

A delegate from Zimbabwe, Bukhosi Mpofu of Khanondo Safaris & Tours, said he was happy to be at the indaba as his business which is based at Victoria Falls and had suffered a downgrade, but things were now looking up.

“Tourism is not reduced to one place, so this platform has provided me an opportunity to penetrate the South African and international market, and I think it’s critical to have more events of this nature so we can strengthen our businesses,” said Mpofu.

Speaking at the indaba, Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille encouraged everyone to market the African continent as a brand.

“We need to use such events to show the rest of the world what the African continent has to offer, we need to find a way to connect and rise above everyone,” said De Lille.

Winile Mntungwa, the chairperson of Durban Tourism, said 230 jobs were created through the ATI and they were expecting revenue of more than R130 million to the eThekwini economy.

“We continue putting eThekwini on the map because we know and understand that the tourism industry is the backbone of our economy,” said Mntungwa.

Tourism KZN chief operating officer Phindile Makwakwa revealed that some government officials had recommended that Durban become an indefinite host of ATI.

“It makes sense; if not in Durban, where else can we host it? We also welcome the feedback from our media partners, and we urge you guys to help us keep indaba in KZN, Durban in particular,” said Makwakwa.