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African countries band together to showcase the continent’s travel and tourism sector

African Buyers and delegates at the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal stand at the Durban Exhibition Centre hall. Picture: Robyn Toni Fynn/Brandstories.

African Buyers and delegates at the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal stand at the Durban Exhibition Centre hall. Picture: Robyn Toni Fynn/Brandstories.

Published May 5, 2022

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MaryAnne Isaac

GEOGRAPHICALLY, Africa is best known for its abundant wildlife, magnificent landscape, melting pot of cultures and intriguing heritage sites – a tourist’s delight. Africa’s Travel Indaba enables African countries, far and wide, to showcase tourism and investment opportunities within the continent, pushing African travel to great heights.

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Africa’s Travel Indaba has established itself as the world’s leading African trade show and has brought together about 4 000 international delegates to share the South African experience of travel and tourism.

Alisa Oseiasamoah, president of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana, said when the pandemic hit she thought that the tourism sector would not bounce back.

“Some of my members had to fold their businesses because nothing was happening. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us new ways of managing the tourism industry, and we are able to share that knowledge with other countries. South Africa is huge in the African tourism sector and we are able to bring our business to the country. Big strides have been made in the tourism sector in terms of comparing South Africa and Ghana. For Ghanaians, we thought at first that tourism is moving out of the shores of Ghana and our domestic tourism sector was on the verge of collapsing, as we did not know what to expect with the pandemic and state of travel and tourism. This led us to promote our own domestic tourism and it worked – we now see the prospects of tourism.

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“The return of Africa’s Travel Indaba enables us to explore and connect with new companies to grow our brand. The indaba will also help us grow and strengthen our domestic and international travel industry. I believe that we have all learnt a lot during the pandemic and it is going to improve our businesses in terms of tourism.”

Smangele Memela, owner of Kwambali Tours in Durban, said she managed to secure three buyers on Tuesday, a few more on Wednesday and between 20 to 25 buyers by Thursday.

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“It is the first time that I have showcased Kwambali Tours at the Indaba and it has been an incredible experience thus far,” she said.

The Indaba was put on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the return of this signature event brings much-needed relief to the local tourism sector of KZN and Africa. This four-day-long event is a vital tool to showcase the province’s tourism industry to the world.

KZN hosted 4 000 delegates this year with the theme being “Africa’s stories, your success” and has showcased KZN as a premium destination for leisure and investment – bridging the global tourism gap and taking KZN into global heights.

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Moreover, as part of Africa’s Travel Indaba, the East3Route’s participating partners signed a statement of intent aimed at reviving the partnership formed in September 2011 that will boost tourism and trade between South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Seychelles and the Mpumalanga province. This initiative was established between parties to share tourism marketing efforts for the benefit of all four countries, while improving infrastructure in order to boost tourism and trade between them.

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