The 2019 Africa’s Travel Ndaba officially begins today with an opening ceremony held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex in Durban. The event was attended by travel and tourism experts from across the world and dignitaries including South African Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom.
The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, delivered the opening remark at the event while the trade floor for Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 was officially opened by Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Here is the text of Mr Sihle Zikalala’s opening speech
We are delighted to join the Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, to open Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019.
On behalf of the provincial government, we extend a hearty welcome to all stakeholders and delegates that are attending this premier tourism marketplace.
Africa’s Travel Indaba is a prestigious, award-winning event that brings together local and international stakeholders in the tourism sector. Growth and sustainability of tourism depend on forging strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships. This Indaba will promote collaboration, experience sharing, and private-public partnerships to maximise the benefits of tourism.
For our province and our country, it must also help us advance transformation, inclusive growth, and job creation. We are confident that this tourism fair will go far in strengthening the historic bonds and trade between South Africa and the people of our continent. The future of our country is tied to the future of Africa.
Of all international tourists that land on our shores, 60% come from sister African countries. We remain determined to maintain and grow our traditional and lucrative tourism markets e.g. the UK, India, the US, and Germany.
The Durban Direct Route strategy is already yielding results and we are seeing more visitors flying from the continent, the UK, the Middle East directly to KZN.
Ladies and gentlemen, KZN is blessed with unique scenic beauty, warm weather throughout the year, and a hospitable people. We are endowed with a rich natural heritage, two world heritage sites, and some of the best conferencing facilities in the world, like this award-winning Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC.
We have no doubt that the delegates will find many attractive business opportunities in the sector. Please know that your business in the sector will enjoy NOT only the support of the provincial government, but of ALSO of our national government.
The President of the Republic, His Excellency President Ramaphosa spoke at length in the State of the Nation Address in February 2019 about how our government will be prioritising the growth of tourism and job creation in the sector. We invite all of you to take time to explore Durban, to visit Ohlange where President Mandela cast his first vote in 1994, to visit Phoenix and Inanda to trace the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr JL Dube. Make time to visit many breath-taking parts and historic places throughout the province and see for yourselves the huge, untapped economic potential of tourism.
Do KZN, learn to say Sawubona, and remember that you are always welcome in the Kingdom of the Zulus, the birthplace of Emperor Shaka the Great. We wish you a truly rewarding stay.
Ngiyabonga. Baie Dankie. Thank you very much.