Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 kicks off with excitement | The Planner

The 2024 instalment of the continent’s premier travel trade show, Africa’s Travel Indaba, commenced on a high note yesterday at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre. The opening of the trade floor was attended by delegates eager to do business.

A platform for Pan-African collaboration

The ceremony marks the official opening of the trade floor of this pan-African trade showpiece. Africa’s Travel Indaba serves as a platform for tourism professionals from across the African continent and around the world to network, showcase their products and services, as well as discuss industry trends. The event promotes Africa as an attractive and appealing destination, fostering business partnerships and driving sustainable tourism development.

This year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, themed “Unlimited Africa”, features enhanced engagement sessions and networking opportunities. Tourism Minister, Honourable Patricia de Lille, said the theme is apt as it highlights the continent’s unlimited potential, boasting diverse landscapes, cultures, and experiences that offer limitless possibilities for growth and exploration.

“Africa’s Travel Indaba emphasises the importance of networking, collaboration, and building bridges across borders. It is one of the powerful platforms we must continue to use to drive and advance a positive and powerful African tourism story,” said de Lille.

Significant achievements and future opportunities

During the trade show, buyers have the opportunity to engage directly with exhibitors, exploring new business opportunities and fostering connections for future business. This year, approximately 1 261 exhibitors from 25 African countries and over 1 000 buyers from 55 countries are participating. Notably, Guinea and Eritrea are new additions among the African countries represented.

De Lille highlighted significant achievements since last year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, including cabinet approval of the Tourism Sector Master Plan, which encompasses a recovery plan for the sector post-COVID-19.

“We also relaunched the R1.2 billion Tourism Equity Fund to support the growth of emerging tourism enterprises,” said de Lille. She also used the platform to give delegates a teaser of the South African Tourism Global Brand campaign.

“A Global Brand Campaign for South African Tourism plays a pivotal role in enhancing our global reputation and fostering positive relationships with visitors from around the world,” added de Lille.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Honourable Nomusa Dube-Ncube, remarked that Africa’s Travel Indaba is taking place at a time when the province is positioning itself to benefit from the recovery of the tourism industry.

“We also meet here when the tourism industry, previously battered by the COVID-19 storm, was at 90% pre-pandemic recovery levels by the end of 2023, supported by strong pent-up demand. This recovery is evidenced by the fact that, according to the World Tourism Organization, an estimated 1.2 billion international tourists were recorded worldwide in 2023, an increase of 34% over 2022, or 325 million tourists,” said Dube-Ncube.

She added that it is estimated that Africa’s Travel Indaba’s contribution to the province’s GDP is between R22 million and R260 million per year between 2004 and 2022, equating to a R3 billion impact.

Minister de Lille also engaged with delegates and exhibitors throughout the ICC precinct and at the Durban Exhibition Centre during a walkabout.