Today is the final day of Africa’s Travel Indaba, one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three “must visit” events of its kind on the global calendar.
The multi-award winning travel event, which is owned by SA Tourism and was this year again hosted by the city of Durban, showcases the widest variety of Africa's best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world. Although the official figures will only be released later today, preliminary data shows that this year’s event saw some 7 000 exhibitors and 16 000 delegates descend on the city of Durban for the three-day event.
Indaba township first
While the Indaba trade show officially kicked off on Thursday, May 2, the excitement and buzz for some 900 local and international delegates actually began the day before when they were treated to an authentic township experience at Max’s Lifesyle in uMlazi. The welcome event, hosted jointly by Durban Tourism and Tourism KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s second biggest township, was a significant first for Indaba in Durban – and one which showcased how Durban’s tourist products are evolving to offer tourists authentic South African experiences.
The business side of Indaba kicked off on Thursday morning with official opening addresses by SA Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom and KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala. Welcoming exhibitors, buyers and the media, Hanekom revealed that the theme for this year’s event – “African stories. Your success.” – was chosen specifically to showcase the many wonderful and colourful stories associated with Africa and its diverse cultures. “Tourists are increasingly looking for meaningful experiences that enable them to meet real people in their communities,” said Hanekom.
“Africa has the best of the best to offer the world – and Indaba allows us to put that all on show.”
Before going on a walkabout through the exhibition halls, Hanekom and other tourism dignitaries unveiled a spectacular 22-metre mural inside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).
“This wall mural is the creative expression of our culture and beautiful landscapes. It is also a celebration of South Africa's talent,” said Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism.
An artistic representation of KwaZulu-Natal’s lifestyle and culture, from its world famous beaches to prominent landmarks such as the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the mural is intended to be a catalyst for starting more conversations on the importance of storytelling through the arts.
Winile Mntungwa, deputy head of Durban Tourism, said: “Our welcome event at Max’s Lifestyle, which exposed Indaba delegates to one of our key township products for the first time, was a clear demonstration that Durban is growing, developing and evolving – and that we now have improved, unique tourist experiences to offer.
“Indaba provides huge market exposure for Durban because all global eyes in the tourism sector are focused right here.
“As Durban Tourism, we are here to put our best foot forward - and together with our nine community tourism associations, are proudly presenting a diverse offering of unique tourism experiences.”