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Durban ready to welcome India’s Travel Agents

Preparations for the TAFI International Convention, to be held in the ICC, Durban from 24-26 February 2013 are well under way. This important travel meeting for the travel industry in India comes at a particularly significant time, just before the BRICS Forum, also to be held in Durban, in March, writes Marjorie Dean.

The theme of the TAFI Convention is “Navigating the Future”, and since, as in many other countries, the huge advances in electronic technology are facing Indian travel agents with new challenges, there will be much discussion of such bread and butter issues as the future of commissions, new strategies for credit cards and the importance of good air access, involving such bodies as IATA.

In order for good business travel between South Africa and India to take place, relationships between companies in both countries have to be built up, and so many South African companies will have a presence at the Convention. Government will also be well represented to ensure that issues pertaining to doing business, and especially business travel, will be included in the discussions.

Tourism KZN and the Durban CVB have been strong supporters of the TAFI Convention since the start, as has SATSA.

Tourism KZN is the main sponsor of the event, and SATSA are the hosts.  Investing into a crucial developing market such as India is very high on the list of priorities of Tourism KwaZulu Natal, as it should be, and KZN has stolen a march on other provinces in South Africa to be the lead sponsor of such a prestigious and influential event. Tourism KZN has strong ambitions with regard to growing air traffic, trade and tourism with the dominant emerging market leader. Durban and KZN want to handle more import and export volumes and to become a pivot in the growing east-west/south-south trade corridors that are being developed to link the BRICS countries. These countries are currently leading the world in achieving good rates of economic growth.

KZN can really benefit in the areas of trade, export, investment, airline growth as well as tourism, from this considerable investment of time, effort and money. The province shares a long colonial and cultural history with India, and is regarded by many in that country as the place where a young Indian lawyer went through the formative experiences that enabled him to become the beloved Mahatma Gandhi.

KZN is blessed with an abundance of tourism attractions to entice the top people in tourism in India to explore further, and see what South Africa really has to offer.

Durban is geographically ideally situated to become a hub in the developing trade relationships, particularly between the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) group, that dates back many years, long before BRICS.  With both a significant port and a major new airport, capable of handling the largest aircraft, as well as the developing Dube Free Trade Port area, Durban has a great deal to offer in this developing relationship. With India as the dominant partner in IBSA, the importance of this convention cannot be overstressed.

However, all this will come to naught if a good travel infrastructure on the route cannot be developed. And that is where this conference is most significant.  TAFI represents the bulk of the major travel agencies and tourism companies in India, and it is seriously important that they are well hosted in Durban, and gain a positive “hands-on” personal experience of the city and province of KZN. To this end many exciting and interesting pre-and post-conference tours have been laid on for delegates.

“This is a major event in the tourism calendar in India and we are delighted to host it in South Africa for the first time,” said Michael Tatalias, SATSA CEO. “In India, travel agents prefer to sell products of which they have had personal experience, therefore the opportunity to see and experience South African product will give all those who participate in this convention a significant marketing edge in this growing market,” said Tatalias.

For more information, contact Bunny Bhoola at African Link Tours on Tel: +27 83 632 2420 or Email: bunny@africanlink.co.za or Michael Tatalias on Tel: +27 11 886 9996 or Email: ceo@satsa.co.za.