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Football focused Indaba kicks off in Durban

A football themed Indaba travel show has begun in Durban, as South Africa prepares to bring the FIFA World Cup to Africa for the first time.

Upward of 12,000 delegates are expected to pass through the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (ICC) over the next four days, with many optimistic the world’s largest sporting event will draw the crowds to the tourist hotspot.

Pictured: President of South Africa Jacob Zuma addresses the opening ceremony of Indaba 2010

Nearly 2,000 exhibitors are participating this year at INDABA, which is the prime trade show for South African travel suppliers to showcase their product offerings and interact with international buyers.

Speaking during the opening ceremony this morning, Thandiwe January-McLean, chief executive of South African Tourism, said, “This year, FIFA World Cup 2010 will be our focus.

President Zuma, Danny Jordaan, chief executive officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, and Jerome Valcke, general secretary of FIFA, dancing on the Durban stand at Indaba

“But at INDABA, we are going to look beyond the world cup and showcase the latest travel products South Africa has to offer to the world.

“With the constant support from travel trade and media, we aim to harness the full potential of global social media to market our destination - making sure that South Africa is visible where ever people are talking about holidays and travel.”

Among the anticipated highlights of the annual show is the launch of Durban’s new tourism trail in the Inanda region, which is perhaps best know to an international audience as the region Mahatma Gandhi lived and developed his ideas of passive resistance.

School children performing at the opening ceremony

The city of Durban - with its large inventory of rooms and convention facilities – is also celebrating, having won the contract to host INDABA for the next three years. 

Also at the convention was Medha Sampat, country head of South African Tourism in India, who said: “Despite the peak business season, we have witnessed participation of ten key Indian travel trade partners at INDABA this year.

“Through this event, the trade partners can interact directly with the suppliers and enhance their business partnership. Furthermore, to experience South Africa, we have organised various pre and post tours for them to various regions of South Africa.

President Zuma is joined by Danny Jordaan, chief executive officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, and VIP’s switching on the power to the world cup stadiums.

Among the events on the sidelines of the show, on May 10, there will be a mass gathering of INDABA delegates blowing vuvuzelas and flying South African flags to celebrate a month to World Cup kick-off.