#Indaba2017 Wrap: 10 key developments at newly re-branded Africa’s Travel Indaba

2017-05-19 06:54 - Kavitha Pillay
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Durban - Africa’s Travel Indaba 2017  wraps up as “an outstanding success” after the three-day show saw the interaction between 7 000 delegates - including 1 449 local and international buyers - and more than 1 000 exhibiting businesses from 18 African countries, showcasing diverse travel and tourism offerings.

The show, which took place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban from 16 May to 18 May 2017, had more than 20 000 confirmed meetings being held over the three days - an increase of over 20% compared to last year – and 692 registered media representatives attended - an 8% increase since 2016.

New and exciting developments in 2017

Re-branding to Africa’s Travel Indaba

There were a number of exciting developments at this year’s event, including the re-branding and re-naming of Africa’s premier travel trade show to Africa’s Travel Indaba.

SEE: #Indaba2017: Re-branded and ready to do tourism, says Zuma

“The new positioning reflects the ownership of the trade show by the entire African travel industry and re-emphasises South Africa’s commitment to furthering tourism and economic development on the continent,” a statement from SA Tourism says.

Indaba’s African focus was reinforced by President Jacob Zuma who, in officially opening this year’s show on Tuesday 16 May, referred to it as “a wonderful way to celebrate Africa Month and to showcase the beauty of our country and our continent. This week we bring Africa and the world together at this home-grown trade show, where Africa markets itself to the world".

Durban will be host city from 2018 to 2022

President Zuma also announced that following a comprehensive bid process, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Durban have been selected as the successful bidder to host Africa’s Travel Indaba for the next five years.

ALSO SEE: #Indaba2017: Zuma officiates opening, confirms Durban as host city until 2022

"The decision means that the newly renamed Africa’s Travel Indaba will be hosted by KwaZulu-Natal and Durban at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC through a province-city partnership in May every year for the next five years, with an option to extend the hosting agreement for another five years,"  South African Tourism adds.

eThekwini Mayor, councillor Zandile Gumede says, “Durban is in the international spotlight by hosting Indaba. This has a huge impact on the people of the province."

KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, says "This will give us an opportunity to further invest in the show and ensure that it continues to grow, thereby increasing its contribution to the province’s GDP”.

“Furthermore, it will allow us the opportunity to engage tour operators to partner with us in growing intra-African travel into KwaZulu-Natal. We want to create an impactful tourism sector that will spread into our rural and township tourism economies as well,” adds Zikalala.

I Do Tourism / We Do Tourism

This year also saw the launch of South Africa’s “I Do Tourism” marketing campaign, which aims to highlight how tourism has the potential to change people’s lives for the better by making a contribution to inclusive economic growth.

“South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, invites all South Africans to become tourism ambassadors for their own country, hailing I Do Tourism as a movement that will show the social and economic value of tourism in people’s day-to-day lives,” says SA Tourism.

MUST-SEE: #WeDoTourism: How every South African plays a role in the tourism sector

Women in tourism

The Minister also launched the National Department of Tourism’s campaign to achieve 30% of women in executive management and board directorship positions in tourism in the next five years. The campaign, dubbed “Women in Tourism (WiT) 30in5”, will be chaired by Tourvest chief operating officer Judi Nwokedi in collaboration with the private sector.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa shares her plans to maximise domestic tourism

First Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) session

The trade show’s first ever Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) session for exhibitors took place on Monday 15 May.

“It allowed the sharing of international best practice in the area of marketing and communications for the benefit of exhibitors, who were also given a platform to network and interact,” says SA Tourism.


During four themed Conversations over the three days of Indaba, exhibitors and media took part in discussions regarding developing the tourism economy. Topics included looking at creative ways in which the private and public sectors can steer inclusive growth in the tourism economy, how African tourism businesses can use technology to their benefit, how Africa’s cultural richness can be used to promote tourism, as well as achievements of this year’s Indaba.

Speed marketing sessions

During these fast-paced morning sessions, South African product owners each had a few minutes to deliver their sales pitch to global buyers. Follow-up meetings and negotiations were then at the discretion of both parties.

Hidden Gems and Luxury pavilions 

These two special pavilions profiled SME's operating in the travel sector and five-star offerings, respectively.

Ninety black-owned small tourism businesses exhibited on the Hidden Gems Pavilion through the Department of Tourism’s National SME Market Access Programme, in partnership with South African Tourism and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.

The new Luxury Pavilion, hosted by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, featured 30 exhibitors targeting the high-end market, including boutique hotels, private game lodges, exclusive spas and nature reserves and resorts.

SEE: Tourism is SA’s new gold rush

South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona says “Hidden Gems was a pioneering initiative between the private sector and public sector aimed at accelerating inclusive growth in the tourism industry. The programme identified 90 quality tourism SMEs from all nine provinces, and helped get them market-ready before their sponsored participation at Africa’s Travel Indaba. It proved to be a highly successful platform for them to meet and network with fellow exhibitors as well as travel buyers, and gain valuable exposure for their enterprises.” 

Boosting SMME's

Indaba 2017 aimed to boost SA's upcoming Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME's), which are key drivers of economic growth – especially in developing countries - by cultivating entrepreneurship and providing employment.

“In South Africa, tourism is more than just a key sector in the creation of jobs. It is also a catalyst in alleviating poverty and eliminating inequality,” says SA Tourism, adding that “SMME’s will especially benefit township tourism”.

Earlier this year Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, called for SMME’s in townships to take part and help SA tourism grow in areas like Khayelitsha, saying “for us to realise radical economic transformation we must have inclusive economic growth – meaning participation from everyone is key.”

ALSO SEE: A Holiday in Soweto?

According to Neil Nagooroo, chairperson of the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA), the 90 SMME's in "Hidden Gems" have been selected after a rigorous selection process in which the 10 best enterprises from each of SA's nine provinces were selected, trained and prepared for Indaba with the assistance of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA).

Indaba app and diary system

This year, the Indaba organisers launched an event app, in line with international best practice, which all attendees used during the event. The app included maps, programmes as well as social media links. Indaba 2017 had a more streamlined programme and improved floor layout.

Ntshona says “This year was all about listening to the feedback from exhibitors and partners that resulted in some fundamental changes, to ensure the event stays fresh and relevant. These ranged from the show’s updated diary system that provided more matchmaking and meeting opportunities to a brand-new Indaba app as the show’s primary source of information about news, meetings and events.”

It’s a wrap

Phillip Sithole, acting deputy city manager for eThekwini and head of Durban Tourism, says “Robust engagements need to take place between the public and private sector to grow tourism together. Transformation in the tourism sector will also be high on the tourism agenda and we will ensure that emerging entrepreneurs are given the necessary resources and skills to develop new products and experiences for the city. We look forward to the innovation and transformation of Africa’s Travel Indaba over the next five years.”

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa shares her plans to maximise domestic tourism

Summing up the show’s success, Ntshona says “We’re confident that the additional offerings, SME showcase and enhanced platforms for dialogue and information-sharing contributed to the success of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2017. We’re not done yet though, with several more enhancements and a refreshed brand planned for 2018, and we trust that exhibitors, delegates, media and buyers will be as excited as we are for next year’s event.”

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018

Africa’s Travel Indaba will take place from 8 May to 10 May 2018 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, with 7 May being BONDay.

*Disclaimer: Traveller24 content producer Kavitha Pillay was hosted as media by South African Tourism for #Indaba2017, including flights and accommodation.

What to read next on Traveller24:

EXCLUSIVE: Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa shares her plans to maximise domestic tourism

#WeDoTourism: How every South African plays a role in the tourism sector

#Indaba2017: Re-branded and ready to do tourism, says Zuma