The offical openong of the TKZN stand at Indaba is Ndabo Khoza. Picture: Terry Haywood
The offical openong of the TKZN stand at Indaba is Ndabo Khoza. Picture: Terry Haywood

Tourism face-off after indaba

By Sphelele Ngubane Time of article published May 13, 2014

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Durban - Durban Tourism head Phillip Sithole is fuming as he believes South African Tourism “used Durban” and the Tourism Indaba to market Cape Town.

The travel show ended at Durban’s Exhibition Centre on Monday.

Sithole said SA Tourism trampled on most of the conditions stipulated in the contract it had with Durban Tourism.

He said Durban’s concerns had been raised with SA Tourism, but its grievances had been overlooked. Even the shortening of Indaba from four days to three had not been not discussed with Durban Tourism.

Tourism KZN chief executive Ndabo Khoza said the event had been shortened because of feedback from visitors at previous shows. Three days had been the optimum period to increase value for buyers and exhibitors, he said.

Sithole said: “It is bias towards the Western Cape. This is ambush marketing and they get support from SA Tourism.

Everything in the event, from the branding to the conference newspaper, it is about other cities, not Durban.”

SA Tourism spokeswoman Risuna Mayimele disputed this and said the mandate was to market the whole country.

“South African Tourism did not and will not exclude any region from attempts to market the country, which is one of the key aims of South African Tourism at Indaba,” she said.

 

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Mayimele said the conference newspaper had been managed by SA Tourism, but run by a private communications company.

“SA Tourism only has editorial sign-off on pages 1 and 3, with the rest of the content being left up to the editor.”

The unaudited number of people who attended this year’s Indaba was 9 754, down by eight percent from last year.

SA Tourism chief executive Thulani Nzima said the decrease in the number of visitors had been owing to a limit on the number allowed into the event and the shorter duration of the show.

“The decrease was because of a choice of buyers. It does not bother us. This year we wanted quality,” he said.

The number of buyers dropped from 2 019 last year to 1 863 and there were 4 904 exhibitors this year, compared to the 6 100 at last year.

A week before the Tourism Indaba, Cape Town hosted its first Africa Travel Week, following unsuccessful bids for Indaba. Some industry players perceived this as direct competition with Indaba.

Mayimele said, given the potential of African destinations, and of South Africa in particular, it was not surprising that interest groups and multinational businesses sought to capitalise on the growth of tourism on the continent.

“Increased competition does not surprise South African Tourism. We welcome this. Any exposure for our destination is of great value,” she said.

But KZN Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said his view was that there should not be too many trade shows in South Africa. “We must attract more exhibitors and buyers rather than competing.” - The Mercury

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