Africa’s Travel INDABA 2017 has been reported as a success with buyers from around the world meeting exhibitors from across the African continent, showcasing a variety of tourism products and services.

The show saw more than 20,000 meetings held over the three show days - an increase of more than 20% compared to last year’s figure - with 7,000 delegates and more than 1,000 exhibiting businesses from 18 African countries in attendance.

New developments at this year’s event, held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli I International Convention Centre, included the rebranding and renaming of the travel trade show to reflect the entire African travel industry and re-emphasise South Africa’s commitment to furthering tourism and economic development on the continent.

The event was opened by South African President Jacob Zuma, who referred to it as “a wonderful way to celebrate Africa Month and to showcase the beauty of our country and our continent. This week we bring Africa and the world together at this homegrown trade show where Africa markets itself to the world.”

It was also announced that following a comprehensive bid process, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Durban had been awarded Africa’s Travel INDABA for the next five years.

The travel show also saw the launch of South Africa’s “I Do Tourism” marketing campaign, which will highlight how tourism has the potential to change people’s lives for the better by making a direct and tangible contribution to inclusive economic growth. South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, invited all South Africans to become tourism ambassadors for their own country, hailing I Do Tourism as a movement that will show the social and economic value of tourism in people’s day-to-day lives.

The Minister also launched the National Department of Tourism’s campaign to achieve 30% of women in executive management and board directorship positions in tourism in the next five years, dubbed ‘Women in Tourism (WiT) 30in5’.

South African Tourism chief executive Sisa Ntshona praised this edition of Africa’s Travel INDABA as a success, and commented: “This year was all about listening to the feedback from exhibitors and partners that resulted in some fundamental changes, to ensure the event stays fresh and relevant. These ranged from the show's updated diary system that provided more matchmaking and meeting opportunities to a brand-new INDABA app as the show's primary source of information about news, meetings and events. Other event enhancements included the new Lap of Luxury pavilion, showcasing five-star products, and the Hidden Gems pavilion showcasing small tourism businesses.

“We’re confident that the additional offerings, SME showcase and enhanced platforms for dialogue and information-sharing contributed to the success of Africa's Travel INDABA 2017. We're not done yet though, with several more enhancements and a refreshed brand planned for 2018, and we trust that exhibitors, delegates, media and buyers will be as excited as we are for next year’s event."

Next year’s event will take place from May 8-10, 2018.

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