President Jacob Zuma during his address yesterday at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. Picture: Supplied.
During his opening speech at the 2017 installment of the Tourism Indaba, President Jacob Zuma highlighted several important issues for the tourism industry in South Africa and on the continent of Africa.

Among these, is an announcement that KwaZulu Natal will now be the home of the Tourism Indaba for the next five years. An opportunity that KZN won after a successful bid to the South African Tourism board. 

Here are some of the other important things that were highlighted by the president in his opening address of Tourism Indaba 2017: 

Transformation in Tourism is at the top of the government’s agenda
In his speech, President Zuma said the government aimed to have at least 30% Black ownership in the tourism industry. This Zuma said falls in line with the broader Radical Economic Transformation mission of the government. He added that the government would be assisting Black entrepreneurs to breakthrough in the Asian and Middle Eastern tourism markets with by way of international trade shows and expos.

    2. There are 21 African countries participating in the Tourism Indaba this year 
In the spirit of growing and developing the African continent, the tourism indaba invited among international guests, 21 African countries to showcase the best of the tourism sector in their backyards. 

          President Jacob Zuma (center) is pictured here with Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede, KwaZulu Natal Premier Willies Mchunu, Tourism minister Tokozile Xasa and at the             opening of the Tourism  #Indaba2017 at the  Durban ICC. Photo: Supplied. 

   3. The South African tourism sector experienced a 13% increase in international visitors in  2016 

This according to Zuma is part of the growth trend that the entire world experienced last year. For the past seven years, the world has experienced growth. More than a million people are said to travel the world every year. The continent as a whole experienced a eight percent  growth in international  tourist arrivals to reach 58 million arrivals. 

   4. In 2015, the tourism industry contributed R375 Billion to the economy
The industry is also said to have contributed to the creation of 1.5 million jobs in the same year. Zuma said the government aims to have the sector producing 2.2million jobs by the 2026.

  5. The government is serious about growing tourism. Strategies and all. 
President Zuma announced two strategies yesterday: 5 in 5 strategy which aims to see 5 million international and domestic travellers enter and move around in the country over the next 5 years. The government will also be making use of a ‘We Do Tourism’ tagline to encourage all South Africans to help grow tourism in the country.