South Africa gears up for INDABA 2011

On the back of hosting a successful FIFA World Cup in 2010, South Africa is gearing up for INDABA 2011, Africa’s top travel exhibition, which is expected to see more exhibitors than ever.

Over 13,000 international visitors and worldwide media will descend upon the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban on May 7th 2011, to check out South Africa’s latest travel and tourism innovations.

The management of the event was recently taken over by Witch and Wizard Creative, which is a new name for the same team who successfully managed the event under the Kagiso Exhibitions banner for the previous six years.

Commenting on these latest developments, Zaida Enver (pictured), Chief Operating Officer of Witch & Wizard Creative revealed: “Winning the SA Tourism tender for INDABA is a huge feather in our cap as a newly formed, relatively small exhibitions company. But, we believe we were awarded the tender because of our past success and confidence in the continuity of the management team.

INDABA is SA Tourism’s biggest annual event showcasing all aspects of South African Tourism and, in fact, is the third largest such show in the world and we will continue to benchmark it against its international counterparts.”

“Given its importance and prominence, we are therefore highly aware of the responsibility on our shoulders to ensure that the success of INDABA continues unabated in the future; we have raised the bar and will continue to do so,” she adds.

Previously over 2,300 exhibitors took part at INDABA and Enver believes that there is still room for further growth in exhibitor numbers as the country’s tourism industry continues to grow,, especially on the back of the Soccer World Cup.

The new INDABA management team will offer exhibitors a wide range of complimentary services from other group companies such as audio visual production, public relations, set building, equipment hire, hiring of celebrities and entertainers and event management, all of which form part of the group’s existing services.

“In addition to the professional management of the INDABA event, exhibitors can now plug into a seamless range of ancillary services to ensure that their exhibit receives maximum attention from visitors” says Enver.

INDABA, which means “meeting”, was named recognised as being the best travel and tourism show in Africa in 2008 and 2009 by the World Travel Awards. The tourism marketing event has recently added two international pavilions at WTM in London and at ITB Berlin. Exposure at these international exhibitions represents a unique opportunity for South Africa to showcase their latest offerings and services.

International visitor figures on the rise

In February, Johannesburg played host to Meetings Africa, the continent’s premier annual business tourism expo, which exceeded expectations this year.  Business tourism is a key driver for tourism growth and development and Meetings Africa.

Nomasonto Ndlovu (Global Business Tourism Manager at SA Tourism), maintains that the continued success of Meetings Africa will ensure that South Africa remained well placed to cement its position as one of the most intriguing and dynamic business tourism destinations in the world.

“Tourism contributed an estimated 7.7 percent to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in 2010. Business tourism will no doubt play a role in getting more visitors to South Africa.  We have always maintained that it is imperative that we leverage the success and learning of the World Cup, especially in the tourism industry in South Africa. It is clear business tourism has been bolstered by a new sense of energy and direction and I believe this will make a significant contribution to consolidating our continent’s position in the global arena and demonstrating our capabilities in terms of hosting international events. 

“We have already secured almost 200 meetings and conferences in South Africa over the next five years, attracting more than 300 000 delegates to our country. The potential economic impact of these confirmed meetings and conferences is more than R1.6-billion.”

The Minister expects South Africa’s inclusion as the fifth country in the powerful Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) partnership to boost business. These countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and annual global GDP and are set to become the global growth engine.

“Collectively, these countries are expected to outperform major industrialised economies over the next two years. South Africa stands to gain tremendously from our inclusion into the BRIC partnership. Amongst others, we expect that increased levels of trade and investment activity between South Africa and the other partner countries will also lead to increased business travel and business meetings. In addition, South Africa will be able to share and learn from these countries in terms of business tourism success stories and identify opportunities for stronger collaboration in bidding for and staging major business events.”

Briefing Parliament on 1 March 2011, the Minister reported that South Africa recorded a 15.1% increase in tourist arrivals to the country last year.  “In 2010 we saw more than eight million tourist arrivals (8 073 552) to the country, compared to just over seven million (7 011 865) in 2009. This compares very well in international terms.

Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that global tourism arrivals are estimated to have grown by 6.7% in 2010, which means that South Africa outperformed the global market by more than 8%.”