by NJABULO BUTHELEZI
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE tourism sector has bemoaned the impact of the floods in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province on the industry.
However, plans are still on track to host Africa’s Travel Indaba next month.
Stakeholders believe the floods will certainly set the sector back further as lives have been lost and many others injured while businesses and organisations have lost their properties and livelihood.
At the time of publishing, more than 400 people had died and vast properties and infrastructure destroyed.
Officials in the tourism sector are confident of a speedy restoration of infrastructure.
The National Disaster Management Centre and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Disaster Management have been activated following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to the province recently.
These structures are coordinating an integrated response across all spheres of government, the private sector and civil society.
“We applaud the speedy action in clearing major affected roads,” said Themba Khumalo, Acting Chief Executive Officer at South Africa Tourism, owner and host of Africa’s Travel Indaba.
“This makes the province open and ready to welcome tourists and, all Indaba delegates who will come from various parts of South Africa and the world in May.”
Khumalo said while there are some areas that were affected by power cuts and water shortages after the flood, various government structures were working tirelessly to restore.
“Visitors to the province can still enjoy the varied attractions, products and experiences that the province has to offer,” Khumalo said.
Phindile Makwakwa, Acting CEO of Tourism KZN, said the organisation shared the pain of those affected by the floods.
“Tourism KZN is confident there will be restoration within the province and a speedy recovery to get back to normality especially after having endured two years of COVID-19.
She added: “Africa’s Travel Indaba will confidently demonstrate to exhibitors, buyers, and the international market that KZN is roaring again and ready to offer memorable travel and tourism experiences and events.”
Africa’s Travel Indaba is set for eThekwini (Durban) from May 2-5.
The theme is “Africa’s Stories.”
“More than contributing to the city and the province’s tourism sector and the economy as a whole, Africa’s Travel Indaba is poised to ensure that both our exhibitors and buyers extract maximum value from the trade show,” Khumalo said.
In 2019, the show attracted about 6 200 delegates from all over the world, with 1 033 exhibiting businesses from 19 countries on the continent.
A total of 1 177 local, regional and international buyers participated.
– CAJ News