Special Feature, Trade Watch

Registrations for Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018, rebranded to focus on continent’s world-class tourism businesses, now open

Registration has opened for Africa’s Travel Indaba, which will transform Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre into a lively hub of activity from 8 to 10 May 2018 under the banner Africa’s Stories, Your Success.

Owned and managed by South African Tourism, Africa’s Travel Indaba has over the past 37 years established itself as the continent’s premier tourism trade show.

“We are excited to be moving into 2018 with renewed energy and focus following the rebranding of the show as Africa’s Travel Indaba. This new positioning affirms that the show belongs to the entire African travel industry, and that at its heart is stimulating tourism and inclusive economic development on our continent,” said South African Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona. According to Ntshona, participants have many enhancements to look forward to at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018.

Africa’s Travel Indaba attracts about 7 000 delegates from all over the world, and last year the trade show bustled with more than 1 000 exhibiting businesses from 18 African countries, showcasing an array of travel and tourism offerings to almost 1 500 local and international buyers.

Evelyn Mahlaba, General Regional Manager looking after the Africa region at South African Tourism, added that Africa’s Travel Indaba is an important business to business marketing platform that facilitates business growth for travel trade partners across the continent. Last year’s group of buyers achieved admirable business successes that we hope to build on in 2018 for the benefit of not only South Africa’s tourism industry but also for the continent as a whole.

“We have managed to put together excellent educational for our sales staff with Sun International as well as all-inclusive travel packages that did so well that we sold them all. South African Airways gave us their ITX Fares for packaging and we managed to do an incentive trip for Standard Bank of 104 people to Durban – thanks to Indaba,” says Rob McConaghy, Managing Director at Ulendo Travel Group in Malawi.

Love for Africa, Southern Africa Travel Specialist, operating out of Zimbabwe stated that business picked up because of their participation in last year’s INDABA. “Our business for 2018 is looking phenomenal and our bookings are up. We’ve signed deals with a few more properties in South Africa and have had quite a few of our current clients add South Africa onto their itineraries,” says Erica O’Donnel, Executive Director at Love for Africa.

According to the Business Development Manager, George Ogola, The Continental Travel Group in Kenya was able to confirm a significant amount of bookings in 2017, across hotels, transfers, and excursions, which generated substantial profit for the company.

Steffi Presske, Senior Travel Consultant/Director at Gondwana Tours and Safaris in Botswana expressed an interest to participate in Africa’s Travel Indaba again this year because it is the most important trade show for the company. The company was able to make many new contacts last year and deepen existing partnerships. They have grown immensely since 2017; almost doubling turn over and employing 2 more sales agents.

Buyers from the following countries attended and participated at INDABA last year, Angola, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Significantly, said Ntshona, the 2017 event saw more than 20 000 confirmed business matchmaking meetings taking place between businesses and travel buyers – up by 47% over the previous year’s figure.

“This indicates that businesses are extracting value out of their participation in Africa’s Travel Indaba, with an online matchmaking system that closely pairs buyers’ needs with exhibitors’ offerings. This saves time and makes for a more efficient and productive trade show, where networks are expanded and business deals are sealed,” said Ntshona.

“Taking pride of place will be our Hidden Gems pavilion, which will again showcase excellence among tourism businesses from all nine provinces in South Africa.  These businesses may be small in size, but are big on authentic, unforgettable travel experiences. We will also be building on the success of last year’s Lap of Luxury pavilion to roll out the red carpet for a selection of South Africa’s exclusive five-star accommodation offerings, hosted by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA),” Ntshona added.

In light of the water shortage currently affecting the Western Cape (including the iconic city of Cape Town), Ntshona said: “For our industry specifically, we are taking charge and showcasing how we can meet the future now and create the ‘new normal’ in how we do tourism, sustainably and responsibly –  something we have focused on for years. Even with the drought situation in the Western Cape, Cape Town and South Africa are still very much open for tourism business.”

He said the country’s and the continent’s many tourism jewels would be on proud display at Africa’s Travel Indaba. “We invite everyone who is passionate about African travel and tourism development to come and see, meet, network, do business and be inspired at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018. We look forward to being partners in propelling our continent’s tourism industry forward, together.”

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