With a cacophony of drums, voices raised in song and much dancing, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 got underway in Durban today, marking the re-birth of tourism across the continent.
After a two-year hiatus because of COVID, more than 1,200 buyers, exhibitors, media and travel industry dignitaries from 55 countries gathered at the city’s ICC.
Over the course of the three-day tourism showcase, some 22,000 meetings are due to take place at the event, which this year carries the theme Africa’s stories, your success.
“Africa’s Travel Indaba is back, this time proud and with renewed energy and focus,” said Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism. “We have been made stronger by what we have overcome.
“The beauty of our stories is what will unfold today, to ensure the world understands more about our continent and what we have to offer.
"Africa's Travel Indaba is a springboard for the continent to achieve even greater levels of recovery. We are here because we have a collective responsibility to reignite the African continent's tourism growth and economy."
Ms Sisulu described Indaba as a proudly Pan-African show that helped showcase the continent’s unique heritage, culture, nature and urban experiences that make Africa a rich and varied, all-year destination.
“But we have come to realise that responsible tourism has to be the way of the future.
“We have to practice tourism that minimises carbon footprints, conserves energy and water, reduces waste and plastic consumption and ensures that the community benefits. It is not just an option. It is vitally important.”
The minister said 18 African countries were represented at Indaba but it was crucial to see the annual show continue to develop, in order to drive growth and increase tourism numbers.
“By bringing together a range of our best and most unique stories and products from across the continent we can promote them to the rest of the world.”
Ms Sisulu said recent figures showed that tourism was on its way back with international travel numbers on the rise.
“The tourism industry has been hardest hit but we are resilient enough to stand up and recreate what has been before. Together we can breathe again and live again.”
Hosting Indaba is a timely boost for the city of Durban which has been crippled by recent storms, bringing down bridges, cutting roads and causing the death of hundreds of locals.
“Africa’s Travel Indaba will be a phenomenal springboard to relaunch Kwa Zulu-Natal back to the global arena to start regaining the international travel markets back to the province,” said Pinky Radebe, Senior Manager: Tourism and Communications, Tourism Kwa Zulu-Natal.
“This is an opportunity to showcase the destination’s hosting capabilities and hospitality.”
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