Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre gearing up for INDABA.

Posted: May 6, 2010 in Investigative articles
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Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre gearing up for INDABA.

First Published in The Event (www.theevent.co.za)  April 2010

From 8-11 May, tourism operators, exhibitors, local and international visitors, and media from across the world will descend on balmy Durban for the annual INDABA. The INDABA, which has won the award for Africa’s best travel and tourism show for two consecutive years, will again showcase a wide variety of South Africa’s finest tourism products and services. 

At the time of going to print the exhibitor statistics were still slightly down from last year.  However the organisers say that there is traditionally a spike in applications closer to the time and they are confident that there will be a strong attendance. Last year’s overall attendance stood at 12,177.   Kagiso Exhibitions and Events has listed 1601 exhibitors to date. 

The new South African Tourism CEO, Thandiwe January-McLean, and the premier of KwaZulu Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize will officiate at the opening ceremony.

INDABA Thandiwe January-Mclean

INDABA Thandiwe January-Mclean

This year’s INDABA is highlighting cultural tourism where visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the national culture by interacting with the local people. Visitors are encouraged to spend time with locals in their homes, to eat their food, and immerse themselves in the many rich African traditions and rituals. Many of the exhibitors will be showcasing heritage routes, indigenous music, crafting, and African retreats.   Exhibitor categories include accommodation, tour operators, game lodges, transport, online travel, media publications and industry associations. Outdoor exhibitors include transport, camping and safari companies.  Exhibitors from across the country will travel to Durban to showcase their services and products.

The organisers have promised a much better media centre this year.  Media will now be hosted at a new venue in the ICC to accommodate a larger contingent of journalists than previous years.

South African Tourism started a greening program for INDABA, which was implemented during 2009.  According to organisers, last year’s INDABA showed a marginal environmental performance improvement of 3%.  Energy consumption decreased by 15%, water consumption increased by 1.5%, and the overall primary carbon impact decreased by 26 tons.

Some of the 2010 highlights will include the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA), which is an initiative by South African Tourism to empower upcoming tourism entrepreneurs. It takes place 7 May and the overall winner will walk away with R100 000.

The Welcome Awards will also reward service excellence in the tourism sector and will take place 9 May. For the first time SA Tourism has introduced the Consumer Choice Award which allows the public to nominate a business which the feel offers excellent service, value for money and overall high performance standards.

Among some of the other highlights include an African Sun breakfast, a Good Safari Guide dinner function, SAA’s CEO Breakfast, a global media face-off,  a ministerial meeting with MEC’s and a Cape Town and Western Cape Media Trade Event.

The opening ceremony will celebrate a month to go to until the start of the much anticipated World Cup.  Thandiswe January-McLean says although the focus is on the World Cup, they are also paying attention to the period after all the excitement has died down. “Our global competitiveness has never been more keenly observed than it will be in the next two months,” says Thandiswe. “Our hospitality, helpfulness and service matter now more than ever. The World Cup offers us a unique and extremely valuable marketing opportunity. What we do, and how we deliver, over the next few months will determine the legacy for our industry and the reward that we will reap from this event.”

Organisers say they have invited the Durban Mayor, the Premier of KwaZulu Natal and the Minister of Tourism to speak, and they are still waiting for confirmation.  Details of the celebrations and entertainment were not available at the time of going to print.

The 2010 INDABA is owned by South African Tourism and organised by Kagiso Exhibitions and Events. It will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre – previously the Durban International Convention Centre – which can accommodate up to 10 000 delegates.
THE END

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