Africa’s Travel Indaba has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world.
South Africa tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced the decision earlier.
The annual trade show was scheduled to take place at the Durban International Conference Centre from May 12th-14th.
Speaking at a media, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “After careful consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone Africa’s Travel Indaba.
“Africa’s Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar, is one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.
“It showcases the widest variety of Africa’s best tourism products, attracts global buyers.
“The current travel restrictions imposed by various countries to contain the pandemic will inevitably lead to a greatly reduced number of participants if the event that is Africa’s Travel Indaba was to go ahead.”
Kubayi-Ngubane said that organisers also considered the risk associated with a large number of people gathering in one place when they decided to postpone the event.
“We want to ensure that this event does not contribute to the spread of this pandemic.
“The decision to postpone Indaba 2020 is also in keeping with the advice by health authorities for social distancing and limiting mass gatherings,” the minister explained.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the team reached out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about the postponement and the future plans.
New dates are expected to be announced in due course.
Sisa Ntshona, chief executive of South African Tourism, said he understood disappointment around the decision.
“I want to thank everyone who has already invested a significant amount of time, effort and resources in preparing for this year’s much-anticipated event.
“I appreciate how we, as an industry, look forward to showcasing our products, attracting new buyers and most importantly, network with our peers at Indaba.
“This decision must come as an enormous disappointment, but we as partners in tourism need to act responsibly to put our people first,” he explained.
World Travel Market - Africa, also due to be held in South Africa, was cancelled last week.
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