Africa’s Travel Indaba gives $40m boost to local economy

Africa’s Travel Indaba gives $40m boost to local economy
Edited by Travel Weekly

    According to initial indications, this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba hosted 9280 registered delegates marking an incredible 7 per cent increase when compared to 2023. No less than 24,000 meetings were held between exhibitors and buyers. Additionally, the event featured over 1200 exhibitors who displayed an impressive array of African tourism products and experiences.

    (Featured image: L-R – Winile Mntungwa , deputy head for tourism at EThekwini Municipality, Nombulelo Guliwe, CEO of SA Tourism, Phindile Makwakwa CEO at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, and John Aritho, CEO at Durban ICC). 

    Themed “Unlimited Africa,” Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 was officially opened by South Africa’s Tourism minister, Honourable Patricia de Lille and took place between the 14th and 16th of May. It was preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on the 13th of May.

    Nombulelo Guliwe CEO at South African Tourism, together with Phindile Makwakwa chief operations officer of tourism KwaZulu-Natal; Winile Mntungwa deputy head of Durban Tourism and John Aritho, chief operations officer of Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) addressed the media at a wrap-up conference of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 yesterday afternoon.

    “The economic activities triggered by Africa’s Travel Indaba, from event infrastructure to accommodation establishments, restaurants and shuttle services, have been far above our initial conservative projections. The direct economic impact on the city was R226 million, with a spillover effect contributing an additional R333 million. The overall contribution to the city’s GDP exceeded R500 million (A$40 million), indicating significant economic benefits and over 1 000 jobs created, especially for the youth,” said Winile Mntungwa deputy head of Durban Tourism.

    Mntungwa added that the economic ripple effect was beyond the city centre as it benefited township and rural tourism and hospitality businesses such as The Silokazis and Octavia Boutique Hotel based at Inanda, Max’s Lifestyle located at the heart of uMlazi, the Coastal Resort based in Umgababa who hosted the travel showpiece delegates.

    “We continue to pride ourselves on delivering the best of the African continent’s tourism products and experiences and this year we cemented this position with an increase of 9 per cent in the number of African countries participating in this trade show. This is all thanks to all our partners. The significant increase reflects the robust growth of the African tourism sector,” said Nombulelo Guliwe CEO at South African Tourism.

    Phindile Makwakwa, the COO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal added: “KwaZulu-Natal is best suited for hosting Africa’s Travel Indaba, given the province’s multi-cultural experience and historical significance, wide variety of tourism products and experiences, capable and quality venues and facilities and our warm people. We look forward to Indaba 2025, which will be bigger and better.”

    Makwakwa, also advocated for Durban to become the permanent home of Africa’s Travel Indaba highlighting her confidence in the partnership between South African Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the City of Durban and the Durban ICC.

    The success of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 underscores its critical role in economic growth, job creation, and displaying the best of African tourism.

    John Aritho, COO at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, said: “Africa’s Travel Indaba is our premier event. As the ICC we have been deliberate about ensuring that the trade show contributes to our local economy in a sustainable manner. That is why we involve students from Durban University of Technology and local chefs by providing them with training and opportunities to assist in the event.”

    Nationally, the Department of Tourism funded 120 Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) while all the South African provinces participating at the trade show also supported various SMMEs giving them access to the various international buyers attending the trade show.

    At the wrap up press conference, all parties thanked members of media for their extensive coverage of the trade show citing the important role media play in sharing the story of an “Unlimited Africa”.

    Indaba 2024: Losing out on memory, South Africa Tourism hands its fate to children

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