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APRIL 6,  2018

There are many stories to be told regarding Africa’s tourism industry, and Africa’s Travel Indaba provides an enormous opportunity to further showcase the tremendous economic, social, cultural, environmental and heritage value that the sector can bring to the continent.

Africa as a travel destination is poised to unleash its potential – here are some figures to bear that out:
• The UNWTO recently reported that a total of 62 million travellers visited Africa in 2017 – which represented an increase of 8%, outgrowing the world average increase of 7%.
• Africa’s total share of the global travel market currently stands at 5%, and the feeling is that this can only grow in future and in line with global traveller trends for authentic immersive experiences.
• The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimated in late 2017 that airline passenger numbers to Africa would more than double in less than 20 years – which bodes well for continued exponential growth of the tourism sector.
• The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was launched by the African Union (AU) in January 2018, and aims to create a unified air transport market by 2063 and will eventually lead to a common African passport to promote free movement and trade between African nations. This can only be good news for the tourism sector and will promote greater intra-African travel possibilities.
• The UNWTO also announced at ITB in March 2018, that they will be moving ahead with a new 10 point “Agenda for Africa” to be realised over the next four years. The programme aims to address connectivity, the image and brand of Africa, poverty alleviation, climate change, education, skills development and financing in terms of supporting exponential growth of the tourism sector on the continent.
Destination Africa is where it’s at right now and in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation speech in February this year that “there is no reason why tourism can’t double in size.”
South African Tourism (who fund and organise Africa’s Travel Indaba) recognise the importance of the growing tourism appeal for the entire continent through connecting people and unleashing potential. “With this show we are again reiterating our belief that tourism really does have the potential to double in size in the next decade,” says Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism.


Uganda wins best African exhibitor award at the just-concluded INDABA Tourism Expo in Durban South Africa 2015.

At the INDABA tourism exhibition held in Durban, South Africa, Uganda won the best exhibitor on the African continent beating Rwanda and Kenya to second and third place respectively.

The accolade has eluded Uganda for several exhibitions in Europe including World Travel Market London and ITB Berlin, with the closest Uganda getting third at ITB a 2013.

This is the second year Uganda is attending INDABA , joining Kenya which took the lead in negotiating to be part of the expo previously reserved for SADC countries. Tanzania already a member of East African Community for her part has had her foot in INDABA for a while now.

Having sponsored the ATTA (Africa Travel Tourism Association) cocktail the previous evening, this could have been a premonition for good fortune to come the following day. As an elated Uganda Tourism Board C.E.O Stephen Asiimwe said’ The award should be able to boost Uganda’s standing among long haul destinations in the region to applause from excited tour operators at the Uganda stand.

According to Barbara Adoso Vanhelleputte ,the Chairperson A.U.T.O (Association of Uganda Tour Operators ) , INDABA is Africa’s premium expo that all international buyers who attend are interested in selling Africa which gives the award more impetus for Uganda .

INDABA is the largest tourism marketing event on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.


May 14, 2014


The Seychelles delegation attending the 2014 Indaba Tourism Trade Fair has left Durban saying that it was a great success. It was Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, who personally headed the delegation from the islands to the biggest tourism and travel trade fair of Africa.

David Germain, the Seychelles Tourism Board's Director for Africa and the Americas, and Marsha Parcou, the Tourism Board’s Manager for Africa, were both on hand working with the island's private sector trade to ensure that Seychelles remains relevant on the South African market.

Seychelles was very visible at this latest trade fair with many one-to-one meetings headed by their Minister responsible for Tourism, but they also staged a big and very successful press conference at the Hilton Hotel at the fairgrounds.

Indaba was the opportunity for the Savoy Hotel of the Seychelles to be seen by South Africa tour operators. This new property situated right on the beach at Beau Vallon is now ready to start receiving guests, and their sales team was on hand to showcase the property.

"We came to Indaba, because we value South Africa as a tourism market for Seychelles. The importance of this tourism trade fair for our islands meant that I personally lead our delegation. Now that Air Seychelles and South African Airways are working together on a codeshare agreement, we are better placed than ever before to work on this important target market. Indaba 2014 was a great edition for Seychelles, and every single member of the tourism trade present worked together to promote the Seychelles in South Africa. Our Miss Seychelles was with us to ensure we continue down the path of putting our people at the center of our tourism development. She did well and was loved by members of the press present at Indaba," said Minister Alain St.Ange.

Source: Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and Culture


By Lesley Stones

Two tourism and travel exhibitions recently staged in South Africa extended their focus to put neighbouring African countries in the spotlight.

The Indaba and the We Are Africa events both acknowledged that all countries and industry professionals can benefit by promoting the region as a whole.

But how good are the attractions and facilities north of our borders, and what initiatives are those countries taking to promote themselves?

The attractions are certainly there, and in many cases, the infrastructure needed to cater for international tourists and business conferences and events are also appearing.

Travel trade fairs were held in both Zambia and Zimbabwe in April, yet unhelpfully they actually clashed with each other.

The 7th Zambia International Travel Expo (ZITE) in Lusaka billed itself as the country’s only tourism marketing event that brings together the best of local and regional tourism products and services, whilst attracting international visitors and buyers.

The focus this year was on boosting domestic and regional tourism rather than aiming internationally. “Creating travel itineraries that extend between neighbouring countries will give the traveller and tourist more choice and will increase tourist arrivals. Zambia is well positioned to be the hub for the region,” said organiser Chimwemwe Nyirenda.

Despite those regional ambitions, Zimbabwe’s A’Sambeni exhibition designed to attract regional visitors happened on the same dates. A’Sambeni highlighted adventure, cultural and eco-tourism and encouraged tourists and business people to see multiple countries on one visit.

Although buyers could have theoretically attended both shows, the timing prevented exhibitors participating in both, undermining the lip-service paid to regional cooperation.

One move that shows how cooperating can benefit all players came with the creation of a single East Africa Tourist Visa in January. The $100 visa applies to Kenya,Rwanda and Uganda, with the issuing country keeping $40 and the others receiving $30. It is valid for 90 days and can be bought on entering any of the countries.

Stephen Asiimwe, CEO of Uganda Tourism Board, said global trends showed that travellers want a more holistic travel experience. “The single tourist visa is a sign of continued efforts and cooperation among the respective tourism boards and will continue to grow as we launch the joint marketing platform,” he said.

Yet one thing hampering East Africa is less obvious than any lack of infrastructure – it’s the airfares. Airfares between neighbouring countries or from the rest of the world are unacceptably high, if they’re available at all. A return flight from Antananarivo in Mozambique to Lusaka in Zambia, for example, costs from $2,128 and flies you via Johannesburg. As a result, many Africans only fly if their company is paying, and few companies are prepared to pay that much, even to attend a useful conference.

“Even without price drops, more flights and more routes are clearly needed,” says Lee Crawfurd, a development economist writing for the African Development Bank. “International tourism earned Africa $43.6-billion in 2012, and directly created eight million jobs. This could grow with increased and cheaper air transport.”

Africa has less than 1% of global flights despite having 12% of the world’s population. Problems include state protection of national carriers, the resulting lack of competition, high taxes imposed by governments who still see flights as a luxury, and poor safety records.

Although some East African countries can benefit from a unified approach to tourism, others, like Mauritius and Madagascar, are stand-alone destinations because of their location.

Mauritius has almost perfected its tourism industry, with exceptional hotels, good conference facilities and enough natural attractions to keep visitors happy. Its biggest drawback is the cost, with high airfares and hotel prices making it expensive compared to other destinations. It’s certainly more geared towards Europeans than Africans.

Tanzania saw tourism become its greatest earner of foreign exchange last year, overtaking the gold industry. To capitalise on that the government has ambitious plans to improve its airline, roads and railways infrastructure and to boost business tourism by increasing the number of hotels with world-class conference facilities.

Tanzania’s safari experiences are magnificent, with the Serengeti home to the spectacular wildebeest migration. Adventurers can climb Mount Kilamanjaro, while beach bums head for Zanzibar, the island off the coast. For business meetings, Dar es Salaam is the undisputed capital, with its modern conference centre and trade fair grounds hosting a growing number of pan-Africa events.

Madgascar’s tourism industry is still in its infancy, with poor transport, expensive airfares and a lack of training and facilities that make it a quite rustic. Yet the abundance of wildlife means the island has much to offer, if the newly-elected government can support the private sector in harnessing the natural resources without over-exploiting them.

Botswana is well known for Chobe and the Okavango Delta, with mokoro boats giving an exciting twist to the traditional safari. It also boasts the Tsodilo Hills, a World Heritage Site rich with 4,500 rock paintings. For the adventurous, the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race is a gruelling four-day race for 4x4s, quads and motorbikes.

Several tour operators offer trips combining various East African countries. One popular package is a cruise on the Chobe followed by a hop to Zimbabwe’s stunning Victoria Falls.

Wildlife company Wilderness Safaris hopes to open a camp in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park this year. An existing camp, Ruckomechi Camp, has a new sleep-out option where guests sleep on a deck by the Zambezi flood plain, which attracts elephant, buffalo, lion and wild dogs.

In Namibia, Wilderness Safaris is opening the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in a region of stark mountains, vast plains and dry riverbeds. Desert-adapted elephants inhabit the area, along with lion and black rhino.

Mozambique’s greatest attractions are its diving sites, littered with 17th century Portuguese shipwrecks. Culturally it boasts the Ilha de Mozambique World Heritage Site, the former capital with colonial buildings including San Sebastiao Fort dating from 1558 AD.

In Zambia, Livingstone is the tourism centre thanks to the thundering Victoria Falls. Zambia also boasts South Luangwa National Park, while Kasaba Bay by Lake Tanganika is being developed as a holiday resort.


At this year’s INDABA an announcement was made by South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk of plans to modernize and expand the exhibition and to make it a truly Pan African platform. 

Minister van Schalkwyk also highlighted that government is committed to investing heavily to make INDABA the Pan African show it is meant to be with full participation from the rest of the African continent including the African Indian Ocean Islands. 

“A big focus of INDABA 2014 is on including more exhibitors from the rest of the continent. We are extending an invitation to product owners from across Africa to be part of Africa’s only global travel trade show, INDABA, as we strive to work with our African counterparts to shape our continent’s future,” says Nzima. 

To grow INDABA 2014 South African Tourism aims to make the show more business and private sector focused than ever before with all related events geared to facilitate networking between buyers and exhibitors. 

In his INDABA 2013 attracted 2 341 international and local buyers.  South African Tourism expects this number to grow significantly next year given the increased number and spread of exhibitors expected. The hosted buyer program also remains an important part of the INDABA trade show and is purposely being improved for next year to include even more value.

INDABA 2014 takes place in Durban from 10-13 May. 


22 Apr. 2013

Just weeks away now, INDABA 2013 will be a celebration and showcase of South Africa's professional, hard-working and vibrant tourism industry and the variety of world-class tourist offerings available to suit every budget.

South African Tourism is finalising preparations for a high-quality four-day show in Durban from 11-14 May 2013, purely aimed at stimulating hundreds of millions of rands of business between the tourism trade and buyers looking to invest in the destination.

"We are very excited to see that exhibitors and hosted buyers have again confirmed their attendance in considerable numbers for INDABA this year. Our industry is of course all about the bottom line of the revenue the tourism industry generates for the South African economy. It is about statistics, targets, rands and cents and projections. But it is also about so much more. Ours is a people-centred industry employing hundreds of thousands of dedicated individuals solely committed to ensuring the best possible holiday experience for millions of international tourists and locals eager to explore one of the most beautiful destinations on earth," said South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, ThulaniNzima.

"It is at INDABA every year that our tourism industry puts its best foot forward and showcases its collective strength. INDABA remainsAfrica's top travel show and the platform where our industry proudly displays products and experiences of every possible kind - suiting every taste, every budget and every desired travel experience. And it does so with professionalism, with skill, and always with a smile.As South African Tourism, we take the responsibility of creating a conducive trade environment at INDABA very seriously. We are on target to meet our goal of hosting 250 top quality international buyers this year, all with a stated intention of doing serious business in a market showing considerable growth. But we know that while we create the environment, the demand and appetite for consumers to travel to South Africa, we are only as strong as our tourism industry, whose expertise we rely heavily on topackage deals and close sales, bringing millions of tourists here. So INDABA is a collaborative effort between the public and private sector and a showcase we are really looking forward to," Nzima added. SA Tourism has noted recent industry concerns about the standard catering and beverage policy at INDABA. The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre holds full rights to catering at the venue, which it enforces as a standard condition of most venues, local and international, and similar to the situation at other international shows such as ITB and WTM.

"We understand some of the frustrations raised and know the importance in the hospitality industry of creating a welcoming business and networking environment. We likewise understand the importance for exhibitors and the trade to share a beer, or a glass of wine and some snacks after a hard day's trade on the busy show floor. We are confident though, that while certainly abiding with the ICC rules,that the functions, beach parties, stand parties and trade events that are so integral to INDABA will continue to be synonymous with the success of the show. We are constantly taking exhibitor and buyer feedback on board, knowing that they are the most important stakeholders at INDABA, and we will continue to do so going forward," said Nzima.

Everything at INDABA this year is designed to facilitate connections, networking and constructive business engagement between buyers and exhibitors. The speed marketing sessions focusing on 'Heritage and Culture', 'Wine Routes of South Africa' and 'South Africa's National Parks' will expose a wide cross-section of South Africa'stourism product to top quality buyers under one roof. Our 'INDABA Connect' system will allow for the easy and effective exchange of tourism information and contacts and for follow-up post INDABA engagement. Our Matchmaking Diary system too is aimed at facilitating constructive engagement and quality meetings between exhibitors and buyers.

INDABA 2013 continues to embrace the benefits of the digital destination marketing age, with a first-ever Travel Bloggers Conference on the eve of INDABA. Another first at INDABA is a Heritage and Culture Pavilion facilitated by the National Department of Tourism and SA Tourism, in partnership with the Moja Heritage Collection, which will put South Africa's heritage and culture tourism offering in the mainstream of the destination's tourism attractions and showcase our country's eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

For more information on the show and for details on how to register to attend, visit

Issued by South African Tourism

For further information contact Jermaine Craig at SA Tourism Tel: +27 11 895 3000 or +27832010121 Email:

Media Profile

INDABA has a dedicated following of local and international media who provide extensive coverage of the exhibition for the local and international markets through radio, television, newspaper and dedicated travel publications.