President Jacob Zuma opened the ceremony with the announcement that the 37-year-old annual conference, one that highlights all that Africa has to offer, will officially continue at the DICC until 2022.
This year’s theme, ‘I Do Tourism,’ focused on tourism as a tool to unite the continent and improve the economy. Women participating in the industry was another goal. Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa, started a women’s initiative with the National Department of Tourism in conjunction with local colleges. During the next few years, as these women intern and learn, she hopes to see a 30 percent increase in female leadership within the industry.
Travel Agents, tour guides, hoteliers, airlines and country tourism representatives visited in opulently decorated private information booths to see and hear about Africa’s best offerings.
According to information posted after Indaba it: attracted about 7,000 delegates, including 1,449 local and international buyers, as well as more than 1,000 exhibiting businesses from 18 African countries showcasing a diverse array of travel and tourism offerings. A total of 692 registered media representatives attended the show, an 8% increase over 2016.
In a private interview after the opening ceremony South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona spoke to journalists about Indaba’s goal.
“South Africa moves you,” he said. “We’re different, we’re unique.”
Most of the country’s visitors come from America, he said. However, they head toward Cape Town, South Africa’s capital or Johannesburg. There are, he said, other equally enticing spots.
There is, he said of his South African domain, something for everyone, including safaris, wine tours, sharks, penguins, seals and some of the best golf courses in the world. Tourists can visit a bustling city, lounge around a tropical ocean resort or star gaze in the desert.
Zuma, as president of South Africa would probably agree, although he told the crowd earlier that his goal included the entire continent. “We have to collaborate to compete, so the world see Africa as one country,” he said. “What do we offer? What does our neighbor offer?”
There are various ways to see Africa. Bidvest Car Rental and Europcar lets tourists take the wheel. Avis offers Safari Rental with a twist. This one is actually a kitchen and sleeper equipped camper, minus the shower. Masters of Canvas and Overland offer the same.
Tentco, based in South Africa, but available worldwide, offers the camping gear without the automobile motor. This company started its canvas camping in 1992 and offers everything you’d expect in a home.
While some opt for minimalist others choose opulence, and there’s plenty of that. Legacy and Hilton offer stars in the sky as well as stars for room service and comfort.
There are river reserves, bush safaris, ocean resorts, Air BnB’s, elephants and anything and everything a tourist might seek.
Although most enjoy driving through the bush and seeing animals in their natural habitat Bill Harrops Original Balloon Safari takes your feet off the ground and lets you enjoy the wildlife from above.
Africa’s ready and willing. Now it’s time to see what’s there. “We are a destination to be considered,”
South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said.