Exhibitors receptive to Indaba 2014 amid WTM Africa concerns

Posted: May 5, 2014 in travel & tourism

satDespite fears expressed by travel and tourism experts over the eclipsing of the Indaba by the emerging World Travel market (WTM) Africa, in recent time, the foremost travel exhibition on the continent has scaled the one thousand mark as exhibitors further confirm their participation at the forthcoming event slated for the International Convention Centre, Durban, in South Africa, next month.

There are now over 1, 500 registered exhibitors for the Indaba 2014 expecting to capitalise on exceptional growing inbound tourism growth to Africa.

To date, less than a month before Indaba 2014 opens on May 10, 398 main stand exhibitors have confirmed their places, and among them are not only international big-name brands like, Tourvest, Mantis Management, Seasons in Africa and the Amalinda Collection and many others, but also the cream of African leisure tourism products, services and experiences such as Singita.

Together, these exhibitors have a vast global appeal in both the developed markets (namely USA and Europe) as well as emerging markets (namely Africa, Asia, Latin America), and attract the volume of inbound tourists that the continent wants and needs.

“It has never been more important to plug into Africa’s tourist trade. According to the latest United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Barometer, Africa attracted three million additional arrivals, reaching a new record of 56 million in 2013. Indaba 2014 is the single biggest and best platform for doing business in African tourism,” says Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism (SAT).

Many Indaba exhibitors are veteran attendants, with about 62 percent of them attending between 11 to 20 years. Among them are leading international travel brands that enjoy impressive global reputations, and have made Indaba what it is today – the most established and best attended trade show in Africa. They will be at Indaba again this year, rubbing shoulders with the best, representing over 23 countries around the continent.

Destinations already confirmed to exhibit at Indaba 2014 are: Nigeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, DRC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa; Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A number of other African destinations registrations are still in process. These destinations will be announced once their participation has been confirmed.

“We have a long-term view of the future of Nigeria as the most influential and valuable African travel tradeshow. We are confident that the number of exhibitors from other African destinations will grow over the next few years. We look forward to near-full African representation on the exhibition floor in the medium term.

“Nigeria is institutionalised in South Africa and the rest of our continent, Africa. It has represented the fabric of our travel and tourism sector for three decades. South African Tourism is the proud custodian of Nigeria, and remains completely committed to ensuring the trade show goes to the next level and continues to serve a thriving, growing and determined travel and tourism sector,” Nzima said.

It would be recalled that following concerns over the forthcoming World Travel Market (WTM) Africa at upstaging other travel exhibitions in the southern Africa region, the South African Tourism (SAT), had said that the annual tourism Indaba remains unquestionably entrenched as Africa’s top travel show and will continue to be the ‘engine room’ of travel trade marketing for the continent.

The inaugural of the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, set to be held on May 2 and 3, this year at the expansive Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town,. South Africa, is also attracting exhibitors from all categories of the leisure, luxury travel and meetings industries.

Nzima, in a reaction said: “Given the enormous potential and success of African destinations, and of South Africa in particular, it’s not at all surprising that there’s strong interest in our destination, and that various interest groups and multinational businesses seek to capitalise on the growth of our industry. At the end of the day, any exposure for our wonderfully diverse continent is of great value to us all.”

Nzima said South African Tourism is more committed than ever to ensuring Indaba goes to the next level and remains acutely focused on its core business purpose: to trade, to contract, to engage and to give buyers and exhibitors an unparalleled platform to refresh and build relationships.

“It’s questionable whether our industry could sustain all current trade show ambitions. Ultimately, we might be left with the two best shows. Indaba is our industry’s showcase, not South African Tourism’s platform. It has no commercial imperative and is gearing itself up to be the dominant travel tradeshow offering the most value. It’s important for all of us to remember that Indaba’s only reason for being is to serve the best interests of our travel and tourism marketplace, and we’re committed to achieving that.”

According To Nzima, Indaba and South Africa’s successes as destinations have been fuelled by strategically strong and mutually beneficial partnerships. These successes, he continued, are the culmination of work that South African Tourism has done predominantly in partnership with the South African travel trade.

“We are confident that competition will not erode Indaba. In fact, competition has intensified our commitment to our industry, and increased our efforts to innovate and add practical value for exhibitors and buyers at Indaba, affirming the growth in this exceptional destination.”

South African Tourism’s Indaba strategy now includes a well-considered buyer-centric focus with strong emphasis on identifying new buyers and hosting quality buyers. This has steered South African Tourism toward greater investment in an improved Buyer Programme.

“The success of this Programme is evident in the remarkably positive response we have received from buyers across the world. Interest in Indaba 2014 has been excellent. To date, three months before the show, 829 buyers have confirmed their attendance at Indaba 2014. This number is on a par with the number of buyers who were confirmed 12 weeks before last year’s show. Of those, 685 are leading international buyers. There were 3 379 buyers at Indaba 2013. We are confident this number will be exceeded in 2014.”

This year, Indaba takes its first steps to being a truly pan-African show, including other African destinations on the exhibition floor. This, said Mr Nzima, is over and above the SADC countries that have been regular Nigeria exhibitors for 15 years already.

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