South African Tourism has acknowledged that the success of the country’s tourism industry is inexplicably bound to the success of the continent’s tourism industry.
Speaking at the recent Indaba 2015- Pan-African show in Durban, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima said he has noticed a growing appetite for a wider range of African tourism products and services, with more buyers looking for a one-stop ÔÇôtrade show. He added that the primary purpose of Indaba is to construct an unrivalled and added value environment for people to do business.
He further said Indaba needs to bring the very best of the continent together to make it worthwhile for both international and local buyers to come and do business.
“Indaba 2015 offered elements that have proved their value in the past, including speed marketing sessions that give hosted buyers easy and quick access to the best exhibitors. Over the years we have endeavoured to become more innovative, competitive and market our brand consistently and distinctively in a highly competitive tourism marketplace,” said Nzima.
He further said Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar. Indaba showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.
“The continent of Africa has entrusted South Africa with people’s hopes and dreams. Hopes to hold on to our vision of creating our very own Pan-African tradeshow and dreams for future generations to come,” he said.
For his part the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom said considering both direct and indirect impacts of tourism, the tourism sector now contributes over nine percent of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and supports over 1.5 million job opportunities countrywide. On the African continent, tourism directly and indirectly supports 20.5 million jobs and represents 8.1 percent of Africa’s GDP. More than 50 percent of some countries’ Gross Domestic Product comes from tourism.
“Across Africa, we have unique sites that tell a compelling story about who we are, and the road that humanity has travelled. It stretches from the earliest origins of humankind to our recent struggle for freedom and equality.
Chapters of this story have been written in many countries of our continent,” said Hanekom.
He stated that international arrivals in Africa increased to 56 million tourists last year, and are expected to grow by between three and five percent in 2015. This will probably exceed the projected growth in global arrivals, which is between three percent and four percent for 2015. He believes that more and more people are venturing out to discover new places, leaving the familiar behind to seek unique experiences, to meet new people and discover their culture.
“Technological innovation, disruptive business models and changing consumer preferences challenge our ingenuity and agility every single day,” said Hanekom.