Africa’s Travel Indaba best yet, says South African Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom


Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom’s optimistic trade floor opening speech set the tone for what turned out to be, in his words, the best Africa’s Travel Indaba hosted yet. This year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba brought together over 6,500 delegates which included 1,033 exhibitors and 1,502 buyers at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC). Hanekom’s speech focussed on the future of Africa’s tourism industry, saying that by 2030, the continent would be welcoming some 126-million international tourists.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made a surprise visit to the event, addressing the tourism industry and media delegates. Throughout his address, Ramaphosa emphasised the tourism industry’s importance in growing Africa’s economy and promoting the country’s identity. He added, “Tourism is one of the most international industries as it showcases the country’s identity and offerings to the world. If you want to showcase what you produce, clothing, food and arts, tourism is that window all of us can present to the world.”

Some of the highlights of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 were:
Green Stand Awards: Being held at Africa’s Travel Indaba for the first time, the Green Stand Awards recognised eight companies with environment-friendly stands. The biggest winners of the event included Classic Safari Africa, winning the platinum pavilion award and Thompson’s Tourism, walking away with the platinum award in the large stand category.
Business Talks: Business Talks is one of the most premier events that takes place over the duration of Africa’s Travel Indaba with industry experts engaging on a variety of issues. Ranging from panel discussions on how rural communities can benefit from wildlife to South African Tourism board member Thebe Ikalafeng’s recounting of his cross-Africa travels, this year’s business talks was a great hub for sharing knowledge and ideas. The discussions also featured speakers from outside of the African continent.
Wall Mural Unveiling: The unveiling of a wall mural at the African Tourism Indaba 2019 was a big step forward in driving the opportunities culture can bring to tourism. Speaking at the unveiling, Michelle Constant, a member of the South African Tourism (SA Tourism) board said, “If we think about the five pillars of tourism, one of these is cultural roots and through this, we can drive creativity. Today’s unveiling of this mural is an opportunity for us to demonstrate this.”
Speed Marketing: Africa’s Travel Indaba Speed Marketing session started off with a burst of energy as buyers from all over the world came together to hear what South African exhibitors have to offer. One such offering from Limpopo seemed to have captured the buyers’ imagination. Tahs-Sa Traditional African Homestays South Africa offers travellers a chance to live like a local in the heartland of Limpopo. “They have about 25 families that opened up their homes and they would go and live with and cook and basically do everything,” said Kenyan buyer and Executive Director of Africa Visa Travel Services, Vincent Maingi.

 South Africa has been named the best safari experience in Africa by the Safari Awards Africa 2019. South Africa won the award as it topped  10 of the 18 categories of the Awards. The award is a differentiator for South African Tourism. “The importance of this award is that it sets us apart from all the other safari destinations as we have the unique advantage of being able to showcase our world-class ocean safaris with our incredible land safari offerings. Being awarded this prestigious accolade is a true honour,” said Bradley Brouwer, Head of Global Trade for SA Tourism. South African Tourism acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini thanked all involved for making Africa’s Travel Indaba a success. “We are extremely grateful for the efforts of our bid parties, agencies and suppliers who ensured that we hosted another awesome Africa’s Travel Indaba,” said Dlamini.

 “TKZN hosted a tourist industry stakeholder  breakfast where the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala announced the construction of an R1 billion new beach resort on the KZN North Coast that will be opened in 2022, answering a long-standing need from the trade,” commented Phindile Makwakwa, acting CEO at TKZN. “We also welcome news that 14 private sector companies are coming on board to provide a global marketing campaign for the KZN Province, demonstrating confidence in our tourism infrastructure and diversified producing offering,” added Makwakwa.