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Durban Expects $7M GDP Boost as Thousands Attend Africa’s Travel Indaba  

18 African countries have been confirmed as exhibitors at the expo which takes place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from May 8 to 11.

More than 6,000 delegates are expected to attend Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban starting Monday, contributing an estimated R130 million (about $7 million) to the city’s coffers.

This is according to Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal said it would pull out all the stops to ensure a successful event. The Indaba takes place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) from May 8 to 11.

Duma described the Indaba as a key part of KZN’s tourism recovery plan.

“KZN is building on its tourism success of last year and the impact of the tourism recovery plan can be seen in KZN’s position as the top domestic destination in 2022,” Duma told IOL.

Over 160 first-time exhibitors will be showcasing their products and 18 African countries – Angola, Botswana, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Ethiopia – have been confirmed as exhibitors.

The eThekwini Municipality’s head of communications, Lindiwe Khuzwayo, said the event was expected to attract more than 6,000 delegates, buyers and members of the media from all over the world.

“Projections indicate that this year’s Indaba will contribute an estimated R130m to the city’s GDP and create over 250 job opportunities. A hotel occupancy rate of 90% is expected, translating to a R78m total spend which will be a major boost for the hospitality sector.”

The acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), Nhlanhla Khumalo, said this year they would showcase tourism routes and new tourism products that had entered the market.

“Tourism KwaZulu-Natal’s stand will highlight that the province has one of the most diverse product offerings in the country. This product and experience diversity will be displayed through eight routes that TKZN has packaged for tourists.

“These are the Battlefields Route, Birding Route, Midlands Meander, Southern Explorer, Drakensberg experience, Route 66 Zululand, Route 22 Northern KwaZulu- Natal and the Heritage Route.”

Khumalo said TKZN was pulling out all the stops to ensure that international buyers got to network with some of KZN’s small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) who would be exhibiting their tourism offerings at the show. “If our SMMEs are to grow and play a role in driving sustainable economic growth and development, we have to provide them with the means to meet with and exhibit their products to international buyers.”

Khumalo said the Indaba played a significant role in providing employment. “TKZN will employ 40 unemployed graduates as ambassadors to assist delegates for the duration of Africa’s Travel Indaba.”

Professor Irrshad Kaseeram, of the University of Zululand’s Economics Department, said Durban had the advantage of excellent subtropical weather that made the city an ideal destination for conferences.

“The spin-offs are enormous; every national visitor to Durban spends an average R3 000 to R5 000, excluding hotel subsistence and shuttle.”

Kaseeram said figures doubled for international guests. “They visit our tourist destinations to boost the hospitality industry and support small to micro-businesses inclusive of clothing, arts, crafts and eateries. A hundred delegates from out of town for five days inject between R1.5m and R3m into the local economy.”

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