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Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 launches with a buzz

Durban: The 2024 instalment of the continent’s premier travel trade show, Africa’s Travel Indaba, kicked off on a high note at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre today, with the Trade Floor opening that was attended by delegates  ready to do business. 

The opening ceremony marks the official opening of the trade floor of the 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, and discuss industry trends. The event promotes Africa as an attractive and appealing destination, fostering business partnerships and drives sustainable tourism development. 

This year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, themed “Unlimited Africa” features more bolstered engagement sessions, and networking opportunities. Tourism Minister, Honourable Patricia De Lille said the theme was apt because it spoke to the unlimited potential of the continent, which boasted diverse landscapes, cultures and experiences that offered limitless possibilities for growth and exploration. 

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

During the Trade Show, buyers have the opportunity to engage directly with exhibitors, exploring new business opportunities and foster connections for future business.  In total,  about 1 261 exhibitors and 25 African countries represented and over 1 000 buyers from 55 countries. Of the African countries, there are two news countries Guinea and Eritrea.

De Lille highlighted that a lot has been achieved since last year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, which includes cabinet approving the Tourism Sector Master plan, that includes 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. 

Minister De Lille 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,” said De Lille.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Honourable Nomusa Dube-Ncube said Africa’s Travel Indaba took place at a time when the province was positioning itself to benefit from the recovery created by a future 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 Organisation, 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 was between R22 million and R260 million per year between 2004 and 2022, equating to a R3 billion impact.  

Minister De Lille also went on a walkabout, engaging delegates and exhibitors throughout the ICC precinct and at the Durban Exhibition Centre.  

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