A treasure chest of small “gems” offering the modern traveller unforgettable African experiences and plush luxury establishments that redefine the meaning of five-star travel — and that’s just a taste of what’s on offer at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, which will shine a spotlight on the continent’s finest tourism products and services from May 8-10 2018.
The 2018 edition of the continent’s largest and longest-running travel showcase, brought to you by South African Tourism, is expected to see about 7 000 delegates conversion Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
There they will explore the vast array of opportunities being offered by the rapidly growing African tourism economy, which is riding high after recording an 8% average growth in international arrivals in 2017.
The three jam-packed tradeshow days will be preceded by a day of workshops and talks on May 7 2018, known as the Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay). This year, there will also be a special focus on Nelson Mandela to mark the centenary of the global icon’s birth.
With this year’s theme of “Africa’s Stories, Your Success” echoing South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inspiring “send me” call to action, Africa’s Travel Indaba is gearing up for another lively trade show with a refreshed look and feel and a renewed impetus to grow tourism sustainably on the continent, says South African Tourism’s Chief Marketing Officer Margie Whitehouse.
“The modern traveller is looking for a travel experience that is distinctive and authentic, and travel in Africa offers exactly that: an unforgettable experience that leaves you with stories to tell. It is these real, incredible African stories that inspire our continent’s world-class tourism products and drive their businesses forward,” says Whitehouse.
“The world is increasingly looking to Africa as a vibrant continent where they can shape lasting travel memories. These are the stories we want to amplify at our continent’s premier tourism trade show in 2018. We want the African tourism economy to help write the story of Africa’s prosperity. We want the world to be moved by Africa.”
The exhibition has undergone a complete brand transformation, launched at last year’s show. Whitehouse says that the new look for Africa’s Travel Indaba was not just about updating and modernising the brand; it was also designed to refresh the trade show and maximise business success for participants over the three days of the exhibition.
According to Whitehouse, participants have many enhancements to look forward to at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018, including an impressive speaker line-up of African thought leaders, 45 new first-time exhibiting small businesses (in addition to the 90 “Hidden Gems” from across South Africa), and a celebration of the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
Africa’s Travel Indaba comes hot on the heels of South African Tourism’s Meetings Africa trade show. The exhibition recently concluded its 13th edition at the Sandton Convention Centre, attracting some 3 000 global and African delegates to explore Africa as a business events destination.
“Each year we learn more and push ourselves a bit further when we organise and manage these continental trade platforms. This year, we are going all out to find ways to support the African tourism industry to achieve double-digit growth,” said Whitehouse.