Indaba boasted exhibitors from 21 African countries, including 10 tourism boards and 123 small businesses, sponsored by the Department of Tourism, to feature at the trade show as part of transformation efforts.
With a captive audience, Minister de Lille spoke passionately on the importance of the industry, highlighting the need “for collaboration and innovation to drive growth in the sector.”
She noted that harmonising visa regimes and simplifying the application process is vital for unlocking Africa’s tourism potential.
According to Minister de Lille, collaboration across the value chain is necessary to make it easier for visitors to move from one country to another within the continent. South Africa, she added, “is leading the way with visa waivers for several African countries and the rollout of an e-visa system to countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt.” She promised that the goal “is to expand the e-visa system to 20 more countries, making Africa a more attractive destination for Africans and international travellers.
“Our people across the continent of Africa are our greatest asset. As Africans, we must do more to break down the stereotypes by promoting cultural exchanges, celebrating excellence and diversity through song and dance and sharing various cuisines that make Africa the magnet of international tourists,” she insisted.
She said Africa’s Travel Indaba offered an opportunity to “honour the African people’s incredible ingenuity, fortitude, and magnificence.”
Mayor of Durban Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said Durban was honoured to host the 2023 Africa’s Travel Indaba, a premier trade show in Africa. Mayor Kaunda said that eThekwini Municipality has identified meetings, conferences, workshops, exhibitions, and business travel as its area of focus for post-Covid-19 recovery. Recent statistics, he revealed, “show that the sector [in Durban] will recover to 95% of the 2019 job levels.”
“Major investment projects, such as the R600m Platinum Walk at Oceans Mall and the R8 billion Westown development, are expected to boost local tourism,” he said.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube underscored the importance of tourism in driving the province’s economic recovery, creating job opportunities, and narrowing the gap between the rich and poor. She welcomed all visitors to KwaZulu-Natal and wished them a pleasant stay in the province. She received the greatest ululation when she announced that Durban would soon become the permanent home of Africa’s Travel Indaba 40 years after its launch.