A modern, cutting-edge INDABA 2013, which significantly enhanced networking connections to stimulate tourism trading between buyers and exhibitors, was the hallmark of the most advanced edition of Africa’s top travel show to date.
Taking a practical technological leap, while staying true to the importance of personal interaction to grow South Africa’s tourism industry, was the standout theme of the four-day show at the Durban International Convention Centre, which ended on Tuesday, 14 May 2013.
INDABA was again a chance for major global trade buyers to engage with their pan-African suppliers, tailor-make holiday packages and be exposed to new tourism products. A total of 2 341 local and international buyers attended the show, up 3% on the numbers who attended last year. The number of independent international buyers attending INDABA 2013 was up 6.86% on last year’s figures, with 1 464 international buyers attending the show this year up from the 1 370 in 2012.
In addition, South African Tourism hosted a further 249 top international buyers at INDABA 2013, significantly up by nearly 20% on the 208 international buyers hosted in 2012.
As yet unaudited figures indicate that well over 10 000 delegates passed through the show’s turnstiles over the course of its four days.
Media interest in INDABA 2013 surged this year, with 802 media covering the show, 11% more than the 721 who registered to cover the show in 2012. Nearly 200 of them were leading international media, with international media numbers up 23% this year to 190.
INDABA was covered by international broadcast networks such as BBC World, China Central Television and CNBC Africa, while there was also continuous live coverage from the Durban ICC by the eNews Channel Africa, as well as a number of SABC current affairs and lifestyle television and radio shows.
There was strong marketing and sales representation at INDABA from leading global companies involved in the tourism industry, such as the National Geographic Channel, TripAdvisor, WAYN.com, Expedia and CNN.
Thousands of events, activations and networking sessions were held over the course of the four bustling show days, with Durban hotels reporting good occupancies during INDABA. Around 3 000 formal meetings were scheduled between buyers and exhibitors, using the show’s tailor-made Online Matchmaking Diary.
INDABA 2013 was certainly the most ‘digital’ yet, and kicked off in exciting style with a Travel Bloggers conference at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on the eve of INDABA, attended by a full-house of more than 300 people.
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced during INDABA that as part of the show’s growth and expansion plans, African participation at INDABA 2014 and beyond will be gradually increased.
The Heritage and Culture Pavilion, another INDABA first, put the spotlight on South Africa’s heritage and culture tourism experiences and attractions and on the country’s eight Unesco World Heritage Sites. This proved to be an extremely popular addition to INDABA and a cornerstone of the show. The Pavilion was a joint project initiated by the National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism, in collaboration with the Moja Heritage Collection.
The Pavilion also featured creations from top South African designers, Nkhensani Nkosi, David Tlale, Marianne Fassler and Thula Sindi, which were all inspired by the country’s World Heritage Sites.
The three Speed Marketing Sessions, one of the most acutely focused business elements of INDABA, was oversubscribed on each of the three days. The sessions gave around 200 global buyers considerable insight into the breadth and depth of the heritage and culture attractions and experiences that South Africa offers, as well as to its national parks and wine routes.
For more information on INDABA and for upcoming details of how to confirm your attendance at next year’s show, go to www.indaba2014.net.