The Indaba travel show is drawing to a close in South Africa, with event organisers handing out awards to leading participants.
Inevitably, football has been the dominating theme this year – with the FIFA World Cup now just one month away - but there have also been valuable contributions from across Africa at one of the largest tourism marketing events on the calendar.
This year awards were made in nine categories – including prizes for leading tour operators, hotels, and transport providers - with delegates taking home platinum, gold and silver prizes in each.
Among the most converted prizes was the gong for leading Southern African Development Community, with the Tanzania Tourist Board emerging as the platinum winner.
Tanzania’s minister of tourism with at the award winning stand
Classic Safari Camps of Africa also received gold while the Botswana Tourism Board walked away with silver.
In the tour operator category, the platinum award went to Tourvest Inbound Operations, with Great Plains Conservation taking gold and Faces Unlimited awarded silver.
Meanwhile, in the transport category, Ethiopian Airlines walked away with the platinum award, ExecuJet Flight Operations received gold and Hertz Rent a Car won the silver.
FIFA World Cup
But even for exhibitors who missed out on the awards, there was still plenty to celebrate.
With the World Cup now just a month away, attendance was at a record high during the annual event – with more than 13,000 delegates passing through the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC complex over the past four days.
Johannesburg Tourism in particular has been celebrating, with the launch of its Jo’Burg Rocks interactive marketing and brand activation campaign over the weekend.
JTC chief Lindiwie Kwele shows her excitement about the World Cup coming to Soccer City
Discussing the campaign Johannesburg Tourism Company chief, Lindiwe Kwele, explained its three priorities: “Firstly, we’re working to position and elevate the profile of Johannesburg and our key products to our core target markets both nationally and internationally.
“Secondly, we’re endeavouring to increase both domestic and international tourism flow to Johannesburg. As flights now become cheaper and more accessible, this national campaign will specifically target domestic visitors to the City.
“Thirdly, we want to secure maximum return on investment for all Johannesburg Tourism shareholders and sponsors, so that they can benefit from this exciting seasonal promotion.”
However, with World Cup fever now at its height, South African Tourism (STA) chief executive officer Thandiwe January-McLean urged delegates to look beyond the World Cup and to the future of South Africa.
Address the conference earlier, she said: “This has been an outstanding Indaba for many of us.
“It has been the Indaba at which we have collectively cast our minds to the future of our industry, and of our destination.
“The pace of business at Indaba this year, and the quality of delegates, both exhibiting and buying, indicate that we have every reason to be optimistic about South Africa as a destination after the 2010 World Cup.
“The brisk business that was conducted here this year gives us every confidence that our industry is on a sound footing for the future.”