UPDATE: New dates set for Africa's Travel Indaba and what you should know

2019-02-12 10:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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African design with the world travel on a red ship

Africa's Travel Indaba is taking place at Durban's International Convention Centre from 8 - 10 May 2018. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)

Africa's Travel Tourism Indaba, which was originally set for 6-9 May, will have to be rescheduled due to South Africa's elections.

The new dates for the event is now 2 - 4 May, moved up four days to accommodate everyone. The decision was made by a task team made up of SA Tourism, the Department of Tourism, the venue's management, Tourism KZN, Tourism Business Council of SA and eThekwini municipality.

SEE: Travel Indaba 2019 now open for exhibitor registration

“The national election is the cornerstone of our democracy and is a celebration of our freedom in South Africa,” says Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism.

“It’s an important date and occasion for all South Africans and we need to acknowledge and respect the date.”

“At the same time, I must express my heartfelt gratitude to the tourism industry for their understanding of the situation, I have received many calls, emails and texts with advice and support. I am really impressed to experience how the tourism sector gets together," added Ntshona.

The announcement by SA Tourism followed the President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation address, where he confirmed that the general elections will be taking place on 8 May this year, in the middle of Indaba's original schedule.

Part of the challenge is also related to the Indaba's main venue - the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban - which also serves as the main hub for elections in KwaZulu-Natal and takes priority over other events.

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Many delegates - which are over 7000 people from 80 countries - have already booked accommodation, flights and other travel arrangements.

“We will now work with all our trade partners to ensure that there is smooth transition into the new date as many would’ve had plans in place already for the previous date. We still have a key role to play in achieving Indaba’s objectives of selling South Africa and the continent to the rest of the world,” added Tourism Business Council of SA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.

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What delegates need to know

Registrations for buyers and exhibitors are still open.

They are also still assessing whether or not they will reimburse delegates who will need to make changes to their bookings, as well as exhibitors who can no longer attend the Indaba on the new date.

Registrations for hosted buyers, exhibitors and media will still be open. If you are already a registered exhibitor, your spot will remain secure and in the same place.

ALSO SEE: Future Forward Thinking: Honouring sustainable practices in Cape Town's tourism industry

Here are some of the reactions to the change:

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