Minister De Lille officially opens Africa Travel Indaba

Minister De Lille officially opens Africa Travel Indaba

Durban will be the permanent host of Africa Travel Indaba going forward. This was according to the Minister of Tourism, Patricia De Lille. The minister was speaking during the official opening of the 2023 Edition of Africa’s Travel Indaba on Tuesday at the Durban International Convention Centre where the event is currently taking place.

This year, the Indaba is taking place physically after two years of absence following the Covid19 global pandemic hit that started late in 2019. This event is aimed at resuscitating the tourism economy of the African Continent at large. This year’s theme of the Africa Travel Indaba is “Shaping Africa’s Tomorrow, Through Connection Today.”

The Indaba is being attended by over 6 000 people from all over South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world, with more than 350 tourism products being showcased. Almost 1000 buyers from across the tourism ecosystem and under 1 000 exhibitors are also attending. The attendees include destination marketing bodies, hotel groups, airlines, tour operators, and 10 African Tourism Boards and 21 African countries represented here.

According to Minister De Lille, this positioning speaks to the essence of Africa’s Travel Indaba, bringing the world to Africa to positively influence the continent’s economic and cultural trajectories.

“We are gathered here at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, named after Africa’s first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, to celebrate Africa as we all pull our efforts towards our sector’s recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year, at Africa Travel Indaba, we are working hard to exceed pre-COVID attendance numbers and have an estimated.”

“As Africans, together, we will craft a narrative that tells our story in our own words, sharing with the world the unique contributions we bring to the global tourism community. I am looking forward to coming together with as many of you as possible and for us to learn from each other, challenging stereotypes and promoting a more tolerant and inclusive society” said Minister De Lille.

The minister reiterated what was discussed on Tuesday during the Tourism Dialogue where she hosted African ministers in tourism where it was outlined that African countries needed to work together to complement each other rather than always competing with one another.

“Competition is often considered the lifeblood of destination marketing and tourism. However, it is important to note that competition should always be balanced with collaboration. While healthy competition can drive growth and innovation, unhealthy competition can lead to a race to the bottom, with businesses and destinations undercutting each other on price and quality. “

“Therefore, as the tourism industry, let us foster a culture of healthy competition, where businesses and destinations are encouraged to compete on quality and innovation.” she said.

The Department of Tourism is currently supporting 123 local small inbound tourism enterprises through its Market Access Support Programme (MASP) to showcase their products and services at the Hidden Gems pavilion during Africa’s Travel Indaba.

The total value of support approved for the 123 enterprises amounts to R11.7million and this investment will enable these small businesses to display their unique products and services, expand their networks, and foster partnerships that will drive the growth and sustainability of the tourism industry in South Africa.

“The Department of Tourism keenly understands the value of tourism businesses especially small to medium enterprises and that is why I am proud of the investment we have made in this regard as part of our Market Access Support Programme.”