from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
KwaZulu Natal Bureau
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – STAKEHOLDERS in the tourism and hospitality sector have converged in Durban for Africa’s Travel Indaba.
The theme for this edition is, “Shaping Africa’s Tomorrow, Through Connection Today.”
It starts on Monday (today) with the Business Opportunities and Networking Day (BONDay) but official proceedings get underway on Tuesday, until Thursday this week.
Set for the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, Africa’s Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and among the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.
This year’s event comes on the back of contrasting fortunes for the sector and organisers, South African Tourism.
While the sector has been steadily recovering after years of COVID-19, SA Tourism has been beset by upheaval, particularly after an intended multibillion-rand deal with English Premier League side, Tottenham Hotspur.
Heads have rolled.
Recently-appointed Minister of Tourism, Patria de Lille, has dissolved the SA Tourism board.
This past weekend, it was reported that Acting Chief Executive Officer, Themba Khumalo, had resigned.
“The sector has experienced several challenges in the past three years during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m so pleased we can put this behind us and look forward to growing our tourism sector together,” de Lille said.
She welcomed progress made in the government’s Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
“While we are not out of the woods yet, we have shown great recovery and long may we continue to work together to our inevitable success,” de Lille said.
Nomasonto Ndlovu is the new Acting CEO of SA Tourism. She will participate at the BONDay, alongside Deputy Tourism Minister, Amos Fish Mahlalela.
BONDay is a platform for creating networking and business opportunities for industry stakeholders and long term inclusive and sustainable growth of the tourism sector in Africa.
Organisers have introduced the Inspirational Awards for 2023.
Categories include Empowerment, Excellence, Inspiration, Innovation and Transformation Awards.
The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, a business unit of SA Tourism, will again host the Speed Marketing sessions.
More than 14 000 business meetings were held over the three-day period at the 2022 Africa’s Travel Indaba.
It contributed R72,5 million (then US$4,48 million) to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the host city, Durban.
The coastal city experienced hotel occupancy rates of over 85 percent and netted R29 million in direct spending.
Some I45 short-term jobs were created during the summit.
– CAJ News