Indaba 2015 held in Durban

Over 1000 exhibitors from 20 African countries, about 2000 buyers from the world’s tourism source markets and some 750 members of the media including attended INDABA 2015 which was held between 9 and 11 May 2015 at Durban Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa.

From Turkey, Plan Tours, Fez Travel, Tura Tourism,, Hürriyet newspaper, Turizmcinin Gazetesi, New Focus Travel Magazine, and representatives from South African Embassy in Ankara attended appointments throughout the exhibition.

At the opening ceremony, South Africa’s Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said, “Taking the direct and indirect impacts of tourism together, our tourism sector now contributes over 9% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and supports over 1.5 million job opportunities countrywide. And it continues to grow. On the African continent, tourism directly and indirectly supports 20.5 million jobs and represents 8.1% of Africa’s GDP. In some countries, more than 50% of their Gross Domestic Product comes from tourism.

“Africa is the home of the original story: it is the birthplace of humankind. At South Africa's Cradle of Humankind, hominid fossils tell us about our common ancestry. At Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, evidence of the early tools made by our ancestors show how we became hunters and social beings. When tourists see ancient fossils that reflect our origins as a species, it makes a spiritual connection deep within them. These fossils provide the evidence that we all come from Africa, that we are all part of one family of humankind, regardless of where we happen to live now.”

During INDABA, a round table discussion, hosted by Minister Derek Hanekom, is held that thirteen African Ministers and key tourism industry players discussed and debated the current state of Tourism in Africa with a view of collectively formulating solutions to grow and develop tourism on the continent.

The African region has many assets for tourism development, but challenges to infrastructure development, visa facilitation and connectivity, and the financing of tourism development have the potential to offset that growth.

“The African market is undergoing unprecedented growth in tourist arrivals. Global interest in the continent, and a growing middle class with disposal income, is driving economic growth. Although the continent is overwhelmed by social and economic challenges, challenges such as the outbreak of Ebola and the recent attacks on foreign nationals have the potential to impact negatively on tourism on the continent. We have to rise against these challenges, and commit to work together to address them for the future of tourism,” said Hanekom.

“Africa must work with Africa to advance tourism in the continent,” said Ms Elcia Grandcourt, Regional Director for Africa at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). Speaking on the state of tourism in the African continent, Grandcourt reasserted the UNWTO’s commitment to supporting Africa in growing tourism.

“Cultural and historical resources in Africa are not being adequately harnessed to lure tourists to Africa. To show our commitment, we will host our first image and branding conference in Accra - Ghana with the view to impart skills within the continent, so it can better profile itself,” said Grandcourt.

“Africa is fast establishing itself as one of the most promising regions for tourism. Africa will receive 85 million international tourist arrivals by 2020, and 134 million in 2030, representing respectively 6,3% and 7,4% of international tourist arrivals worldwide,” added Grandcourt.

The ministerial discussion focused on the State of Africa's readiness for Tourism investment and constraints to investment promotion; the importance of the tourism sector towards building the economies of various regional economic communities; collaboration between public and private sector in growing tourism; visas and travel facilitation and ways of improving intra-African travel.