- Mr. Prasad N Shinde
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Fast-tracking the growth of almost 100 small businesses in South Africa is one of the initiatives at the upcoming Indaba, Africa’s top travel show. It will be held in May at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
The Indaba 2017 will host 90 small tourism businesses at the show, organisers revealed at the media launch of the conference on Tuesday 28 March 2017.
Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar, reads the site.
“It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world. Indaba is owned by South African Tourism.”
The event, also known as Africa’s top travel show, takes place from 16 to 18 May 2017 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.
Small businesses to get exposure
Sisa Ntshona, chief executive officer of the South African Tourism, said at the media briefing at the Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg that this year’s Indaba would have a special focus on accelerating small businesses in the tourism sector.
One of the key focuses is an initiative to train and mentor small and medium-sized enterprises, and give it with preferential access to influential industry players.
“For me, one of Indaba’s highlights is our new Hidden Gems programme, which will help boost tourism by enabling smaller players. [The 90 small businesses are] emerging and existing enterprises are at least 50% black-owned,” said Ntshona.
“They are drawn from each of South Africa’s nine provinces and we call them our Hidden Gems, because they are tucked-away treasures that only a select few know about.”
South African Tourism, in partnership with the National Department of Tourism and the Southern African Tourism Services Association will allow the entrepreneurs to get exposure at Indaba as well as the opportunity to “pitch” their offerings to travel buyers during speed marketing sessions.
A variety of panel discussions
Ntshona also unveiled a series of topical panel discussions with industry thought leaders aimed at constructively exploring issues related to developing tourism in Africa to take place during Indaba.
Local and international game changers, technology “disruptors”, experts and captains of industry will exchange ideas on how to market tourism offerings to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community; how the private and public sectors can join hands to drive inclusive growth; and how Africa’s pioneering arts sector can further enhance the continent’s appeal as a tourist destination.
Organisers also said that Indaba will have a more streamlined events programme, designed to improve the experience of exhibitors, buyers, visitors and media alike.
Innovations include an enhanced online diary system to provide more “match-making” options between delegates who want to meet with a view to doing business, and a new Indaba app that will provided updated information and news at the show.Ntshona urged all businesses and individuals interested in tourism to book their place at Indaba 2017, adding: “It’s going to be a lively, buzzing, bustling trade show that will showcase Africa in all its rich and diverse glory.”
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