THE ANNUAL TOURISM INDABA remains unquestionably entrenched as Africa’s top travel show and will continue to be the ‘engine room’ of travel trade marketing for the continent. So says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima.
“Given the enormous potential and success of African destinations, and of South Africa in particular, it’s not at all surprising that there’s strong interest in our destination, and that various interest groups and multinational businesses seek to capitalise on the growth of our industry.
“At the end of the day, any exposure for our wonderfully diverse continent is of great value to us all.”
Mr Nzima said South African Tourism is more committed than ever to ensuring INDABA goes to the next level and remains acutely focused on its core business purpose: to trade, to contract, to engage and to give buyers and exhibitors an unparalleled platform to refresh and build relationships.
“It’s questionable whether our industry could sustain all current trade show ambitions. Ultimately, we might be left with the two best shows. INDABA is our industry’s showcase, not South African Tourism’s platform. It has no commercial imperative and is gearing itself up to be the dominant travel tradeshow offering the most value. It’s important for all of us to remember that INDABA’s only reason for being is to serve the best interests of our travel and tourism marketplace, and we’re committed to achieving that.”
INDABA’s success – and South Africa’s success as a destination – have been fuelled by strategically strong and mutually beneficial partnerships, he added. These successes are the culmination of work that South African Tourism has done predominantly in partnership with the South African travel trade.
“We are confident that competition will not erode INDABA. In fact, competition has intensified our commitment to our industry, and increased our efforts to innovate and add practical value for exhibitors and buyers at INDABA, affirming the growth in this exceptional destination.”
South African Tourism’s INDABA strategy now includes a well-considered buyer-centric focus with strong emphasis on identifying new buyers and hosting quality buyers. This has steered South African Tourism toward greater investment in an improved Buyer Programme.
“The success of this Programme is evident in the remarkably positive response we have received from buyers across the world. Interest in INDABA 2014 has been excellent. To date, three months before the show, 829 buyers have confirmed their attendance at INDABA 2014. This number is on a par with the number of buyers who were confirmed 12 weeks before last year’s show. Of those, 685 are leading international buyers. There were 3 379 buyers at INDABA 2013. We are confident this number will be exceeded in 2014.”
This year, INDABA takes its first steps to being a truly pan-African show, including other African destinations on the exhibition floor. This, says Mr Nzima, is over and above the SADC countries that have been regular INDABA exhibitors for 15 years already.
Destinations already confirmed to exhibit at INDABA 2014 are: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, DRC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa; Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A number of other African destinations registrations are still in process. These destinations will be announced once their participation has been confirmed.
“We have a long-term view of the future of INDABA as the most influential and valuable African travel tradeshow. We are confident that the number of exhibitors from other African destinations will grow over the next few years. We look forward to near-full African representation on the exhibition floor in the medium term.
“INDABA is institutionalised in South Africa and the rest of our continent, Africa. It has represented the fabric of our travel and tourism sector for three decades. South African Tourism is the proud custodian of INDABA, and remains completely committed to ensuring the trade show goes to the next level and continues to serve a thriving, growing and determined travel and tourism sector,” Mr Nzima said.