SABC News - INDABA 2017 opens in Durban:Tuesday 16 May 2017

INDABA 2017 opens in Durban

Tuesday 16 May 2017 14:59

Minoshni Pillay

President Jacob Zuma has called on Africans to make their continent a destination of their choice.(Twitter)

Durban has been declared the home of the travel INDABA for the next five years. President Jacob Zuma made the announcement as the travel trade show opened its doors.

Over a thousand exhibitors from across Africa will have the unique opportunity to engage with 1 600 buyers.

"They have decided on this place where we are today Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban KZN as the home of Africa's travel Indaba for the next 5 years."  

And with that announcement by President Jacob Zuma, Durban has been declared as the official home for the travel INDABA for the next five years.

The show is an intense three-day showcase for Africa's best destinations and travel products. International buyers come here to do business with local tour operators. And local BnBs, game reserves, holiday portals and even car rental companies use the space to secure that lucrative international traveller.

INDABA 2017 opened with the usual song and dance, albeit on a smaller scale than usual.

President Jacob Zuma unveiled government's latest tourism strategy called "We do Tourism." He emphasised the need for tourism to grow substantially, through the transformation of the sector.

"The total contribution of tourism to our economy in 2015 was about 375 billion rand. Tourism now supports over 1.5 million jobs and we want tourism to support over 2.2 million jobs by 2026," Zuma said.

He spoke about the potential of the industry to transform lives through economic growth and job creation. Zuma says black entrepreneurs must play a critical role in the transformation of the tourism sector.

"At this years Indaba we have 90 black owned tourism businesses from all 9 provinces in SA. We will be developing local tourism offerings further in areas such as township tourism, rural tourism, agri tourism and home stays."

According to the The United Nations World Tourism Organisation, tourism around the world enjoyed its seventeenth straight year of sustained growth, since the global financial crisis.

Over 1 billion people travel annually. And it is this market that exhibitors at INDABA want to capitalise on.

Addressing delegates, Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa says Africa can turn around its economies through tourism.  

"Tourism is contributing about nine percent into the gdp and as we stand we continue to sustain about seven hundred thousand direct jobs in the industry. some are coming to sell our country, some are coming to buy our products, some are our partners."

Some of the key issues under the spotlight at the Indaba include public-private partnerships for growth, the modern traveller and technological innovations and uniting Africa through the arts.

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