SA Tourism promises shorter and more impactful INDABA in 2013

Known all over the world for its wildlife tourism attractions and now also forging a global reputation as a lifestyle mecca and world leader in responsible tourism, South Africa continues to be a major draw-card for both established and emerging tourism markets, writes Allison MacDonald.

As South Africa’s traditional tourism markets show strong signs of recovery and the emerging markets are showing double digit growth, South African Tourism is giving Africa’s flagship travel and tourism trade show, INDABA, a revamp to ensure it remains the premier platform to capitalise on resilient global travel interest.

After extensive consultation with tourism industry stakeholders, South African Tourism has taken the decision to reduce INDABA from the usual four to three days next year, with INDABA 2013 taking place from 11 to 13 May 2013.

INDABA 2013 will be a shorter, sharper show, geared at giving visiting buyers easy access to the widest cross section of the South African tourism industry – all eager to showcase their innovative offerings and to do business in a destination which saw over 10% growth in tourist arrivals in the first half of 2012.

While the reality of the aftermath of the global economic recession saw a decline in the number of buyers and visitors at INDABA 2012, the show retained its stature as the premier showcase. INDABA has maintained its global status as a business platform for international tour operators and buyers serious about growing their business in Southern Africa’s burgeoning tourism industry.

Attracting 3 722 travel buyers and 1 458 exhibitors from every conceivable aspect of South Africa’s leisure and lifestyle travel experiences, the numbers were still impressive at INDABA 2012, with the overall execution of the show of a very high standard.

“South Africa offers potential international tourism buyers and tour operators a tangible opportunity for business growth and to be a part of South Africa’s tourism success story. INDABA undoubtedly remains the tourism industry’s premier business networking event and will remain one of the most exciting travel trade shows on the annual tourism business calendar. INDABA is not about breaking attendance records, but is focusing on attracting quality buyers, exhibitors and visitors. Although delegate numbers dropped slightly this year, we attracted a number of quality hosted buyers and exhibitors that compare favourably with 2010 attendance statistics,” said Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism.

Speed Marketing
While the overwhelming call from the tourism industry in forums with previous INDABA attendees and with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) was for a shorter, more impactful INDABA, major positive feedback received was on how useful the ‘speed marketing’ sessions were in showcasing South Africa’s tourism product.

“In 2013 there were three speed marketing sessions, each focussing on South Africa’s tourism offerings in the fields of responsible and sustainable tourism; adventure tourism; and culture and heritage tourism. They were very well attended – oversubscribed in fact – and proved to be an exceptionally useful business introductory service for both exhibitors and buyers. So we’re making them a feature of INDABA next year and will be having them on every day of the show,” said Nzima.

Another feature of INDABA will be an exhibitor workshop to discuss key tourism trends and industry updates with the world’s leading travel industry experts.

Important for the tourism industry to note is that TOMSA levy payers will get 10% discount for the exhibition stand costs.  To ensure a good quality of experience for INDABA attendees, South African Tourism has changed the registration form for INDABA 2013 to ensure ‘products’ can’t register as buyers, with a view to maintaining strict controls for INDABA access to ensure the event’s quality.

“We’ve been working on ensuring we take on board as much feedback as possible on what worked and what didn’t work at previous INDABAs, in order to ensure the show remains a major attraction for international visitors and buyers – a crucial business networking platform for the South African tourism trade. We’ve held three INDABA road shows in October in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, with over 360 attendees, and there wasn’t a single complaint about us reducing the length of INDABA, a decision which was in fact commended in keeping with other international shows,” said Nzima.

Of course, we are a destination known for its breath-taking beauty and wildlife attractions, but also increasingly for its lifestyle and design qualities and its global leadership in the responsible tourism and adventure arena. South Africa is also renowned for its warm, friendly, welcoming people and superb tourism service ethic and capability, all of which make South Africa an extremely attractive proposition for the global travel trade, who we are working hard on attracting to INDABA in great numbers,” said Nzima.

For more information on the show and for details on how to register to attend, visit:

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