Notwithstanding the wave of xenophobic attacks that occurred in the country before the event, the just concluded Indaba 2015 in the city of Durban, South Africa clearly indicates a robust increase in the quality of meetings for the travel trade while remaining a huge pan-African show.
Indaba 2015 recorded over 8,700 meetings compared to about 2,400 in 2014 edition which represents more than 56 percent increase from the meetings recorded last year.
Some 20 countries from West, South, North and East Africa exhibited at Indaba 2015.
However, there was a considerable decline in the numbers of buyers at the biggest travel show in Africa in 2015. Organisers of the event, South African Tourism has attributed this to the conscientious focus on quality rather than high numbers.
Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism CEO while addressing media stated: “At the moment we are not looking good in terms of buyers. The number of buyers is down by just under 20 percent from last year. SA Tourism painstakingly vetted buyers for Indaba 2015 and there is a strong focus on quality.”
Specifically, as part of SA Tourism commitment to the West Africa region, SAT fully hosted 7 travel trade partners from Nigeria as well as 3 trade partners from Ghana respectively with additional 3 stakeholders from both countries as part of the hosted buyers programme for Indaba 2015.
During the Indaba 2015 opening ceremony, Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister of Republic of South Africa highlighted the role and contribution of tourism to the African continent.
“On the African continent, tourism directly and indirectly supports 20.5 million jobs and represents 8.1 percent of Africa’s gross domestic product,” Hanekom said.
“In some countries, more than 50 percent of their gross domestic product comes from tourism. International arrivals in Africa increased to 56 million tourists last year, and are expected to grow by between three and five percent in 2015.
“This will probably exceed the projected growth in global arrivals, which is between three and four percent.”
He continued that: “From its early beginnings as a South African trade platform, the Tourism Indaba has evolved into Africa’s largest and most successful tourism trade platform. It is now a truly pan-African trade show, and its brand strength continues to grow year after year. Our exhibitors are essential members of the team that is driving Africa forward.”
Narrowing down to South Africa, the Minister stated that “taking the direct and indirect impacts of tourism together, our tourism sector now contributes over nine percent of gross domestic product and supports over 1.5 million job opportunities countrywide.”
Earlier, a day before Indaba 2015 opening, Minister Hanekom hosted the 2nd annual African Tourism Ministers Summit which discusses the strategies for the growth and development of the Tourism industry in the continent.
The Summit themed, Africa: Open for business, with 13 African Tourism Ministers in attendance advocates for cooperation and unity for the continent to overcome its challenges and achieve tourism growth.
The session resolved that the African Union should include tourism on its agenda to elevate tourism as the economic driver on the continent. It was also proposed that the next African ministerial session should consider putting systems in place to advance uni-visa on the continent.
“Africa must work with Africa to advance tourism on the continent. Cultural and historical resources in Africa are not being adequately harnessed to lure tourists to Africa. To show our commitment, we will host our first image and branding conference in Accra, Ghana with the view to impart skills on continent, so it can better profile itself,” said Ms Elcia Grandcourt, Regional Director for Africa at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
She explained that “Africa is fast establishing itself as one of the most promising regions for tourism. Africa will receive 85 million international tourist arrivals by 2020, and 134 million in 2030, representing respectively 6.3 and 7.4 percent of international tourist arrivals worldwide.”
Durban, the host city of Indaba 2015 despite the recent xenophobic attacks with widespread condemnations and prompt actions by the South African Government put together another impressive show. The peaceful, safe atmosphere and the coordination of the free airport shuttles to the various hotels and to the venue of Indaba remains flawless.