Africa's Travel Indaba 2024 a resounding success - once again

Published May 17, 2024


Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) 2024 was a resounding success and surpassed expectations; showing the kind of recovery that KwaZulu-Natal has been looking for – from the ambience to the meetings, trade feedback and the numbers.

Over the three days of ATI, including BONDay, the direct spend impact amounted to more than R226 million, the multiplier effect into other areas was over R330m and the contribution to GDP was over R500m.

“We were very excited to see the last day of ATI still busy and vibrant. If we are talking post-Covid recovery, we have our indaba back; we have truly recovered,” says Phindile Makwakwa, Tourism KZN’s Chief Operating Officer.

“ATI is a prime event that provides us with an opportunity to not only showcase our province through pre and post tours, but it shows that we are a global player when it comes to business events – from the venue to the city and the province, we look forward to a bigger and better ATI 2025.”

Talking about the value of ATI, Makwakwa said it was an opportunity to showcase what Africa had to offer. It was an opportunity for businesses to collaborate, expand and diversify with partners they would not ordinarily have thought of. Tourism KZN was one example.

“We have moved away from competing to collaborative competition, which provides an opportunity for coastal provinces to package themselves differently. We have had remarkable meetings with Wesgrow, Cape Town’s tourism, trade and investment entity, as well as the Eastern Cape to look at how we can get more out of cruise tourism. This is possible by bringing in more cruise liners and influencing their itineraries by providing a unified coastal itinerary”.

Another success of ATI was the implementation of the basic quality verification (BQV) programme, where 150 properties from villages and small towns were recognised.

Tourism Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela said it was on this strong foundation that the country could progress the tourism sector, because with assurance, the tourism industry would continue to create opportunities for economic growth, particularly for youth, women and people with disabilities.

“It is imperative that we sustain and expand this programme to ensure inclusivity in our tourism offerings, thereby contributing to the growth of the economy,” he said.

Chief quality assurance officer for SA Tourism, Bronwen Auret said the programme was successfully implemented in this year’s ATI and introduced tourism accommodation providers to standards and norms of quality assurance; serving as a crucial entry point into the realm of formalised tourism practices.

Auret added that 150 out of 210 participants had received their BQV certificates to date.

In a release by the ATI, it stated that the BQV supports homestays and emerging tourism ventures in small communities.

The BQV is intended to guide these establishments through a structured development process, enabling them to engage with the tourism market and access funding, even if they do not meet the core requirements of grading. Essentially, it is about helping smaller, less formal accommodations and attractions become part of the tourism industry and thrive.

Durban ICC chief operating officer, John Oritho said it had been extremely exciting to interact with people at Indaba.

“I spoke to a consumer who has over 700 partners. The consumer has been involved in 25 Indabas and he said that this was the best he has attended.”

SA Tourism CEO Nombulelo Guliwe said there had been growth in the number of countries involved or invested in Indaba.

“The global market comes here to experience Africa and what we (have to) offer. We can't do this without participation from fellow African countries.”