The importance of tourism to Africa and its economy was re-emphasised at the just concluded Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa from the 2nd to the 4th May 2019. Africa’s Travel Indaba is considered as one of the largest events in the African tourism calendar, bringing together over 7,000 exhibitors; including local and international buyers; tourism businesses, media professionals, industry stakeholders, members of tourism associations and captains of industry from over 80 countries.
This year, we embraced the theme for Indaba 2019, which was: “Africa’s stories, your success”. This theme draws attention to the importance of telling our own stories and showcasing our successes to help boost tourism in Africa, and also change the world narrative of Africa as a continent that needs saving to one that is flourishing.
The Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Derek Hanekom, opened Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 by expressing great optimism about the future of tourism in Africa. He asked the audience if by 2030 the continent would be ready to invite 21 million international tourists. His own response to the question was a resounding ‘yes’.
The minister stated that “Too often the real stories of Africa are not told and not heard.” In his statement, he called for collaboration among African countries, and added that “We need to 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”.
On his part, the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, during his speech at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 said that “We are global citizens physically separated by borders. We are however united by our affinity and our love for this great continent Africa, the cradle of humankind”. He explained further that “We must reduce the onerous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists who want to visit our country face. This requires us to streamline our tourist visa regime. We are in the process of radically overhauling our visa dispensation for the rest of the world and introducing a world-class e-visa system.” This statement reveals that the continent is working towards overhauling visa systems for travellers looking to visit various African tourism hotspot.
As part of this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, South African Tourism, West Africa, hosted some trade and media delegates and stakeholders from Nigeria and Ghana and treated them to a pre-event tour across the Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa.
The hosting was aimed at strengthening existing partnership and collaboration on the continent in a more relaxed way. The Hosted Delegates had an exhilarating experience exploring the beautiful city of Pretoria, and enjoyed adrenaline pumping activities at places like the Adventure Zone in Cullinan where they had a day full of fun activities such as Ziplining, Bike Riding and Archery. They also visited Entabeni Game Reserve in Limpopo where they got to see some of the ‘Big 5 animals’ and connected with nature. At Durban, Hosted Delegates had a good time shopping at the famous Victoria Street Market dubbed as Durban’s Oldest market.
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