Africa's Travel Indaba is taking place at Durban's International Convention Centre from 8 - 10 May 2018. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)
Africa's Travel Indaba is back in Durban and is ready to welcome the continent's tourism industry to forge cross-border partnerships to grow its travel industry.
The 2018 edition kicked off on Tuesday with its new hashtag #AfricaMovesYou and a big celebration of the spirit of African identity.
The event was opened by South Africa's Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom, eThekwini's Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer and acting KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, who welcomed all the ministers and tourism authorities from across Africa to Durban.
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"Africa’s share of the global tourism pie has not yet reached its potential, so, buyers, you are ahead of the curve and I have no doubt that you will reap rich rewards from your buying decisions in the next days," says Hanekom.
"And, sellers from all over the continent, we know that increased demand is the engine for growth of the tourism economy in our different countries."
Peer also announced that a new direct flight between Durban and London will be established by British Airways, cementing the port city's goal to become a gateway between Africa and Europe.
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You can watch the whole opening ceremony below:
Optimising economic transformation in the tourism industry
A big discussion surrounded the challenges and successes at transforming the industry to be more inclusive not only of previously disadvantaged tourism stakeholders, but by also tackling the slow growth of the domestic markets.
According to the founder of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum Kwakye Donkor, the key focus should be on skills development, skills transfer and capacity in order to optimise job creation.
He also noted a skewed image of Africa in international media, and that one small incident in one part of Africa suddenly solicits a travel advisory for the whole continent, and that the media should help shape a more nuanced image of Africa without brushing away the negative stories.
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Morongoe Ramphele, the deputy director general for Tourism Sector Support Services Events at the Department of Tourism, is more focused on fixing the gaps in the industry, especially women who have been marginalised in the sector and have little representation in the top tiers.
She also recalls a time when she was denied entry into Kruger National Park because of her skin colour, and that has still stuck with her today and influences her travel habits.
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