South African Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has confirmed that the 2020 Africa’s Travel Indaba and the Annual Lilizela Awards have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A press release issued by South African Tourism says the decision follows the outbreak of COVID-19, which necessitate the re-evaluation and assessment of a number of business events which were scheduled to take place this year. Africa’s Travel Indaba 2020 had earlier been scheduled to hold from 12 to 14 May 2020, while the Lilizela Awards was scheduled for November 2020.
Speaking during a tourism industry webinar last Wednesday, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “When we initially postponed Africa’s Travel Indaba 2020 we were hoping that we would be able to host the event during tourism month in September. Currently, it is looking very unlikely. Tourism activities and events can only start once the country moves to Level One restrictions.”
Indaba remains one of the most powerful platforms for Africa to showcase to the world our unique and warm African tourism story while profiling, amongst others, our cultural, heritage and artistic assets.
Kubayi-Ngubane also confirmed the cancellation of the Lilizela Awards on the webinar. The Awards recognize and celebrate tourism businesses for tourism excellence, their contribution to South Africa’s global competitiveness and for growing tourism’s contribution towards GDP and job creation.
“The risk-adjusted approach that we have in South Africa gives us a framework within which we can carve our path towards recovery for the tourism sector. The involvement of all tourism stakeholders is absolutely important. Based on the COVID-19 expected trajectory, the best-case scenario is that tourism sector recovery will only begin towards the end of this year.
“With us having some time to focus on our properties and events, I do believe that next year’s Indaba, Meetings Africa and Lilizela awards will be world-class events showcasing the warmth of our industry as we rebuild the industry,” concluded Kubayi-Ngubane. The Minister added that the initial phase of the recovery will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism. International tourism is likely to recover in 2021.
In a related development, the Kenya Tourism Board announced the cancellation of this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) on Monday. Email notification about this development which was sent to Afro Tourism explains that “Due to the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) would like to inform you that the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE), which was to be held from 7 – 9 October 2020, has been cancelled. An alternative date will be communicated. The Kenya Tourism Board has carefully monitored the global health crisis related to COVID-19 and our top priority is the health and safety of everyone involved in MKTE. We appreciate all the exhibitors, hosted buyers, media, partners, and stakeholders who have continued to support MKTE. Stay safe. We look forward to welcoming you back to Magical Kenya when the time is right.”