Cape Town - Durban is the beautiful host city of South African Tourism's top travel and trade show Indada.
Traveller24 attended this year's event and despite the torrential rains at the weekend, African Travel inspiration reined at Indaba 2016.
It was a weekend of chatting to passionate travel and tourism professionals, listening to what our policy makers have to say, understanding the challenges SMMEs face but then also tapping into the energy of what it means to be involved in African tourism.
While there might be a dark and gloomy economic picture for many African countries, tourism actually holds the key to spectacular wealth creation - after talking to a number of small business entrepreneurs, who happen to form a key part of the focus for this year's event, as 70 handpicked individuals were hosted by South African tourism as part of its Hidden Gems zone - the optimism within the industry is clear as gutsy individuals are using a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of innovation in order to provide a source of income for themselves as well as contribute significantly to the country's economy.
Some of the stand out moments of the event for us as well as the images we just couldn't resist sharing of the host city:
- Africa is beautiful and we should all be proud of where we come from
The Soweto collective of creative individuals know as I See A Different You showcased what it means to be tourism pioneers not only shaping growth across the continent but as well brand changing perceptions. This was also part of the discussion during an inter-ministerial discussion looking at Brand Africa and how if negative things happen to one African country, it more often than not affects most of the continent. If ever there was a way of overcoming the negative perceptions of the Dark Continent - these young, talented individuals are definitely playing a part - See a MUST-WATCH campaign they did here.
- How lucrative the Airline industry is for Africa - but how little of it is operated by African Airlines
At the opening on Indaba South Africa's Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said, “If one quarter of African countries were to implement the Open Skies for Africa decision and facilitate greater air access between our countries, an additional 155 000 jobs and USD 1.3 billion in GDP could be generated, with obvious benefits for tourism."
The issue of air connectivity across Africa and the world at large is a hot debate - yet unfortunately its lucrative potential to boost economies and create much needed jobs has done little to spur on the implementation of Open Skies for Africa decision. Read more here
- TravelMassive's #IAMCONSTITUTION got people talking about the value of our constitution
The #IAMCONSTITUTION movement was celebrated with a stand-out event at the Durban Tourism stand. Says Ivor Ichikowitz one of the initiators of the movement, "It encourages all South Africans to read, embrace and live the Constitution, to celebrate the achievements of South Africa and constructively confront challenges to reach the country’s fullest potential. Read more about its launch here
- LGBT tourism takes pride of place
South Africa is a mature tourism market, but even more so when it comes to the LGBT tourism market in comparison to the rest of Africa. As Indaba hosted its first ever discussion on the matter (better late than never) - making it clear that South Africa is in a position to help enlighten when it comes to this particular niche market.
With a presentation on the niche market presented by Rika Jean-François, Commissioner CSR ITB and member of the Board of Directors of IGLTA and IGLTAF to highlight that it was not in the least about sexual tourism but instead about the freedom for everybody to be who they are, training staff to be aware of the little nuances such as welcome letters entitled Mr & Mr and not offering same-sex couples twin beds.
Tourism is a vehicle for good - for social acceptance and as Minister Derek Hanekom previously said at the annual global convention of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) which took place in Cape Town in April, “South Africa has to lead by example and show other African countries that there is nothing to fear regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) tourism." Read more here
- RETOSA certified e-learning unpacks Southern Africa's tourism offering
Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) launched an exciting new e-site, aimed at allowing tour operators to brush up on the tourism offering of 15 different African countries - offering a Southern Africa Certified Expert course - introducing these Southern African Development Community countries and their most important tourist attractions. e-learning is a game-changer all the way. Read more here
- SA Tourism Grading Council announced a new TAP system
The SA Tourism Grading Council is also tapping into relevance of technology, employing new data collation technology that enables it to monitor the service levels of South Africa's hospitality industry and ensure that it is in line with what the establishment's grading.
We chatted to Chief Quality Assurance Officer Darryl Erasmus who told us about the new product offering launched at Indaba. Erasmus said it was entirely necessary for the grading council's relevance to incorporate social media reviews via a custom built platform that is able to scrape and analyse the top 15 online portals across the globe such as Bookings.com, Agoda, Tripadvisor. By aggregating the reviews via a custom built portal, it enables the grading council to maximise the data in order to raise the benchmark within the industry. Read more here
We also have to say the grading council through possibly the best party at this year's event with heritage, culture, music and dancing intertwined from all nine provinces across SA - check it out here.
Disclaimer: Traveller24 Editor Selene Brophy was hosted as media by South African Tourism for #Indaba2016, including flights and accommodation.