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Indaba 2019 set to give a new dimension to South African Tourism

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

The recently concluded Africa Travel Indaba, South Africa’s most popular tourism show, brought together over 6,500 delegates including 1,033 exhibitors and 1,502 buyers from across the world. Inaugurating the event at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) on May 2, Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister of South Africa, said that the continent would be welcoming some 126-million international tourists by 2030.

Hanekom said that for Africa to reach that target it would need to see growth of 5,4% per year. “Are we up to it? Yes, we most definitely are.”  In his State of the Nation Address in February this year, South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that South Africa is looking to increase its international tourist numbers from 10.5-million in 2018 to 21-million in 2030. To Hanekom, this is do-able. “This 2019 edition of the Africa Travel Indaba will without doubt help us move towards this lofty goal - a goal which has the potential to support 2-million additional jobs in South Africa.”

Africa’s Travel Indaba has become synonymous with storytelling. And this year’s theme, Africa’s Stories, Your Success re-emphasises the importance of telling our own stories and showcasing our successes. “Too often the real stories of Africa are not told and not heard,” Hanekom said  and added: “Let’s work together to replace the sometimes negative narrative of Africa with the real story of so many nations on the move, of people innovating and moving confidently into the future.” He also called on leaders to action the AU Agenda 2063 – especially with respect to free movement of people everywhere on the continent, and the easing or dropping of visa requirements in the next few years to enable this.

“Intra-continental tourism from Africa’s rapidly growing economies and growing middle class is an opportunity begging to be exploited. We need improved collaborative efforts between our countries to achieve this.”

When Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically-elected President opened the first Indaba in a free South Africa, he shared these words:  “It is in tourism that nature and humanity meet most equitably and profitably…. It also provides the resources for the conservation of our natural heritage. Furthermore, tourism is making an important and valuable contribution to the South African economy.”

“Twenty-four years on, and those words still echo throughout our sector,” said Hanekom.

Throwing light on tourism statistics, the Minister said that Africa saw 67-million international tourist arrivals in 2018. “This is an increase of nearly 14-million from 2017, when Africa faced Ebola. This was a growth of 7%, more than the global average of 6%. This number represents 5% of all global international arrivals.

President Cyril Ramaphosa made a surprise visit to the event, addressing tourism industry and media delegates. Throughout his address, Ramaphosa emphasized the tourism industry’s importance in growing Africa’s economy and promoting a country’s identity. “Tourism is the one of the most international industries as it showcases the country’s identity and offerings to the world. If you want to showcase what you produce, clothing, food and arts, tourism is that window all of us can present to the world.”

South Africa has been named best safari experience in Africa by the Safari Awards Africa 2019. South Africa won the award as it came out tops in 10 of the 18 categories of the Awards. The award is a differentiator for South African Tourism. “The importance of this award is that it sets us apart from all the other safari destinations as we have the unique advantage of being able to showcase our world class ocean safaris with our incredible land safari offerings. Being awarded this prestigious accolade is a true honour,” said Bradley Brouwer, Head of Global Trade for SA Tourism. South African Tourism acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini thanked all involved for making Africa’s Travel Indaba a success. “We are extremely grateful for the efforts of our bid parties, agencies and suppliers who ensured that we hosted another awesome Africa’s Travel Indaba,” said Dlamini.

“TKZN hosted a tourist industry stakeholder stake holder breakfast where the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala announced the construction of a R1 billion new Beach resort on the KZN North Coast that will be opened in 2022, answering a long -standing need from the trade,” commented Phindile Makwakwa, acting CEO at TKZN. “We also welcome news that 14 private sector companies are coming on board to provide a global marketing campaign for the KZN Province, demonstrating confidence in our tourism infrastructure and diversified producing offering,” added Makwakwa.

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