After the cancellation of two signature global trade shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic, South African Tourism will host both Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2022.
Meetings Africa will be at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 28 February to 2 March while Africa’s Travel Indaba will be at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 2 to 5 May. Both shows will be physical events with limited virtual components.
South African Tourism acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini says the country’s tourism sector still has the potential to create jobs and its importance to the economy has not relinquished.
Speaking at the media launch for Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit (ATTS) last week, Dlamini said governments are committed to supporting the tourism industry’s revival.
Travel agents can be in to win one of six spots on an eight-night South African famil with South African Tourism and South African Airways.
Africa’s 5% share of global travellers (62 million of the world’s 1.2 billion tourists) could be doubled in the next decade with the right collaboration, policies and investment. That’s according to South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona who was promoting ‘Brand Africa’ at the Africa’s Travel Indaba recently in Durban.
‘Africa’s tourism sector grew 8% in 2017, 1% above the global average,’ says Ntshona. ‘The forecast is for continued growth – no other continent has as much potential to grow.’ The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports tourism is already an economic force on the continent – contributing a total of 8.1% to the GDP and employing 6.5% of the workforce in 2017. ‘Tourism can take us from poverty to prosperity, specifically women and young people in rural areas,’ says Ntshona who highlighted the number of small, local operators exhibiting at Indaba. ‘Today’s travellers want authenticity, and Africa covers that.’
South Africa itself has an ambitious growth plan for the next five years – to increase its visitors by 40% to 10 million. ‘South Africa has something for everyone, every wallet and every generation,’ says Ntshona. ‘We are seen as a five-star destination but we’ve got three- and four-star. Kruger is as big as Israel and you can observe the same lion from a backpacking tent to six-star luxury.’ Ntshona is also encouraging visitors to combine South Africa with another African country. ‘We are shining the spotlight so that everyone gets to benefit. Instead of spending 10 days in South Africa, how about 20 days in the region?’
Streamlining South Africa’s visa process is ‘top of mind’ according to South African Tourism boss, Sisa Ntshona.
Restricting visitor numbers (Ibiza) and upping fines for bad behaviour by tourists (Venice) are among strategies introduced at European tourist hotspots in recent years as locals kick back against growing pressure on natural resources and ‘over-tourism’. But at Africa’s Travel Indaba this week, tourism stakeholders were encouraged to ‘think holistically’ about mitigating the industry’s negative impacts and encourage guests to be part of responsible tourism.
South African tourism industry leaders are backing attempts to fix New Zealand visitor visa woes. Several operators spoken to at Indaba expressed anger and frustration over the process.
The visa requirement is appalling and uncooperative, says David Frost, SATSA chief executive, representing all inbound tourism operators in southern Africa.
‘It is a symptom of an ongoing struggle we have with Department of Home Affairs. Now we have a new Tourism Minister and a new Home Affairs Minister so we’re hoping these two heads can deliver something better.