7 Weirdest things we experienced at Indaba 2015

2015-05-12 20:00
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Traveller24 recently attended Indaba for the first time in six years.

The debate of note for many attending seemed to be around whether the 35-year-old event had lost a bit of its luster. Attendance and quality of the exhibitors has been weighed on either sides of the scale to determine whether Indaba should remain in Durban now that World Travel Market Africa has heated up competition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

To be honest, we felt like complete newbies, but could not miss the opportunity to engage in key discussions affecting SA travel and tourism, regarding visa regulations and facilitation of domestic travel to mention a few, amongst many others. 

READ: Can Tourism unite Africa

On top of this, we also thought we'd share these rather strange things observed during our Indaba 2015 weekend.

Were you there, we’d love to hear what Indaba moments stood out for you? Either post a comment below or come share your travel experiences at info@traveller24.com, FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

1. Tourism vs Terrorism

Sitting in a Round-table discussion between African ministers on the challenges faced by the industry, one minister made the ultimate Freudian slip when he said, "We need to say YES to terrorism and no to... Err I mean yes to tourism and no to terrorism." And while you're at it, could somebody kindly bring back Nigeria's girls!

2. Were we breaking the law?

We found parking in front of the ICC, practically on top of the red carpet entrance every single day of the trade show. Being from Cape Town, where the lack of CBD parking is a huge pain, this was utterly bizarre! Wonderful, but still utterly bizarre. Sure South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima said WTM Africa had crimped a potential 10% off the Tradeshow's attendance, it still had us wondering whether we were breaking some parking laws or if most Indaba visitors were just later starters. We have no fines to show for it though.

3. Booking faux pas

We stayed at the utterly charming Boutique hotel Teremok in Umhlanga, hosted on a last-minute media rate for Indaba after a certain utterly disgraceful hotel failed to schedule our online booking made months in advance.

Point being, Google maps showed us a different route to and from the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC back to Umhlanga  with every trip. And we could have sworn we heard a slight irritation in Siri's voice when instructed to make a u-turn three times in a row. Beware the rise of AI!

Took a brisk stroll along Umhlanga promenade this morning before heading to #Indaba2015 #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Traveller24_SA (@traveller24_sa) on

4. This!

These guys in Red Lycra! Like WTF!?

Sure they handed you a card that said "Africa is the most sociable of continents, come and get your tourism sociable on!", inviting you to join 'them' at the Calabash, but it failed to mention when or what time. Sure Craig Rodney stressed the importance of keeping things simple during one of the relevant and inspiring TECHtalks (if you didn't attend these you missed out) but this stint was next level. Well they got mentioned here, so we guessed that worked somehow. We also attended the @Akilanga party punted by #TravelMassive. Now that was fun!

5. We ate some worms, oh, yes we did!

Where Indaba certainly served its usefulness was in providing a platform to showcase unique tourism opportunities available in South Africa and the continent at large. While many of the exhibitors had chocolates, pens and a bag or two for those who ventured in for more information, the Mopani District Municipality chose to honour its name with that good ol-fashion African tradition of Mopani Worms. District representative Seduma Matee told us the best way to have it was in fact with some pap and sauce.  

And yes we tried them! Nice and crunchy!

6. Breaking programme protocol

Deciphering the Indaba 2015 programme was another slightly head-scratching moment for us. Initially you first had to find it on the website and the printed guide said random things like Panel Discussion or DRC Presentation. That's it. Yep, blank stare. Nor did anybody at the information centres know exactly what was happening with, "I'm sorry, I don't know" being the standard response. Really annoying! We guess they wanted you to wander about in the hopes you'd bump into the red guys. 

7. How genuinely nice Durban people are!

Okay, so we're a little sorry for giving Cape Town drivers a bad name and in a number of really unusual settings that might have received a rather negative response anywhere else, we found Durbanites of all creeds and cultures to have a rather unusual sense of grace about them. So we guess in that sense, yes, Durban really does welcome the world! 

Were you there, we’d love to hear what Indaba moments stood out for you? Either post a comment below or come share your travel experiences at info@traveller24.com, FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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