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INDABA 2011 gets underway

INDABA 2011 gets underway

Celebrating a record year of tourism growth and unpacking the new goals set for the tourism industry will be the focus of this year’s event, which is being hosted again by South African Tourism. 

Indaba is Africa’s biggest travel and tourism trade show – which spans 27 000 square metres – with 1 300 exhibitors, over 170 international hosted buyers and hundreds of local and international media who have descended upon the show INDABA.

With the theme of ‘Playing Globally, Winning Locally’, INDABA 2011 is paying tribute to the role played by the South African tourism industry in achieving 15.1% growth with a record eight million tourists in 2010.

South African Tourism and its stakeholders will use INDABA to highlight themes that include opportunities in emerging markets in Asia and the Americas, while keeping the focus on the country’s core tourism markets. It will also place the emphasis on a recent drive to stimulate domestic tourism and encourage South Africans to explore their own country.

Ms Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism (SA Tourism), commented: “When the tourism industry met at INDABA last year it was amidst great excitement, anticipation and intense global scrutiny shortly before our country’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”


“The event’s phenomenal success enhanced worldwide positivity and awareness of our destination and contributed to a record-breaking year for the South African tourism industry.

“At INDABA 2011 we will pay tribute to the role played by the entire tourism industry in helping to showcase our country in such a positive light, while looking at the factors and trends that led to South Africa outperforming the global rate of tourism growth by over eight percent last year and the opportunities which have emanated as a result,” he added.

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%.”