Durban - While it may be too soon to measure the possible success emanating out of the 2022 African Travel Indaba, one cannot help but be hopeful for the future of South Africa’s tourism industry when taking into account the reception the event received from the 3 700 delegates who attended.
At a Municipal level, the Indaba had a direct spend of R29 million and contributed around R72m to eThekwini’s GDP - but that was just the start of things according to the City’s Chairperson for Governance and Human Capital Committee, Nkonsenhle Madlala
One of the main attractions touted during the Indaba by both Madlala and KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay was the Durban Eye project, a R450m-ferris wheel that is to be built along the beachfront promenade.
EThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal were praised by international visitors for their rich cultural history as well as for the resilience shown in the wake of the devastation residents and local businesses endured in the face of the pandemic, unrest and natural disasters.
MEC Pillay said that he was confident that the tourism industry, which contributes almost 10% to the provincial GDP, would bounce back.
“Tourism plays a hugely important role in assisting our country to make its mark on the map of Africa and the globe. We are ready to revitalise the tourism value and supply chains, and we look forward to the economic benefits of the various upstream and downstream activities which tourism supports.
“I am confident that tourism is ready to bounce back stronger, and reclaim its coveted position as a worthy contributor to employment,” Pillay said.
Present at the event were delegates from 18 African countries, 655 exhibitors, 965 buyers and 377 media personnel. There were 14 000 meetings that took place during the Indaba, with the aim of promoting the country’s best tourist attractions.
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief conventions bureau officer for South African Tourism, said she is grateful to have had a team which worked extremely hard to make the Indaba a success.
“Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 was a chance to reconnect with many people from all over the world.
“This year, the event exceeded the organisation’s expectations. Tourists can see that the province can do substantial conferences in a time of challenges,” she said.
Nhlapo added that she was optimistic that South Africa will go back to the tourists’ arrival levels of 2019, and that the country will come back bigger and better for next year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba.
Winile Mntungwa, Deputy Head of Durban Tourism, said it was good to have people from different parts of the world attending Africa’s Travel Indaba.
“There had to be swift turnaround times on getting the surrounding areas in Durban ready for Africa’s Travel Indaba and to welcome tourism and trade delegates to a clean city, especially following the recent floods in KZN.
“The city has been buzzing with thousands of delegates. Thank you to the people and the organisations for making this prestigious event such a success,” Mntungwa said.
Phindile Makwakwa, acting CEO of Tourism KZN, commended the synergy between sister organisations – Tourism KZN, Durban Tourism, South African Tourism and the Durban ICC.
“This year, KZN came back on the international calendar and demonstrated to the world that the province was ready to host Africa’s Travel Indaba despite the challenges faced in the past two years.
“Africa’s Travel Indaba is a platform for small enterprises and exhibitors who are hungry to showcase their tourism offerings to the world,” she said, adding Tourism KZN looks forward to hosting more international delegates at next year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba.