Africa’s most anticipated tourism and travel show opened its doors yesterday at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban.
With an expected attendance of over 6,000 drawn from 80 countries around the world, Africa Indaba opened its doors to 1060 exhibitors from 22 African countries exceeding the numbers witnessed in 2017. “It is really encouraging to see that in total we have delegates from 31 African countries at this year’s show, and although there are 22 exhibiting countries, we see definite interest from other countries to use this platform in the future as they embrace the tourism sector’s potential for job creation and contribution to GDP in their countries,” said Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South Africa Tourism.
Africa’s Travel Indaba consists of four distinct groups of delegates – exhibitors, buyers, media and various stakeholders, policy makers and interest groups which make up this vibrant sector. This year’s show confirmed over 1460 buyers from 69 countries carefully selected to ensure that only quality buyers are allowed to participate.
Prior to the official opening of the show, delegates spend the day on Monday attending to an exclusive educational interactive session called BONDay where several speakers spoke on a number of issues that are of interest to travel in Africa. Africans were challenged to tell their own stories to counter the stereotypical view of the continent by westerners. “Locals need to travel and tell their stories to paint a picture of local destinations. We need a story to tell for everything. Africans are telling their stories every day but there is so much noise out there, we need to break through that noise. We must take a story and make it ours,” charged Nokugcina “Gcina” Mhlophe, a veteran South African journalist who is also a storyteller and poet.
“While there is a lot of bad news coming from the United States, it does not stop us from going there. The same is not true for Africa. This is because we understand the complexities of America’s society. We need to ensure that the world understands the complexities of our continent beyond the current stereotype of Africa,” said Professor Anton Harber.
Discussion on technology focused on explaining the block chain; the technology behind the crypto currency bitcoin. Bronwyn Williams, Trend Translator and Future Finances Specialist at Flux Trends explained that Blockchain has its roots in Bitcoin. “It is a new way of sharing information. Blockchain is like a spreadsheet or ledger but instead of there being only one copy of that ledger, the ledger is distributed throughout the network, so everyone has access. By everyone having a copy of all the information, it is more secure.”
Blockchain is especially pertinent for the travel industry. Apart from transactions it also allows for smart contract building. This means contracts can be set up without the services of a lawyer, and that obligations are met. “When technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are added to this, it enhances an already exciting dimension.”
Travel Indaba will officially close on Thursday 10 May after an eventful 3 day extravaganza for African tourism extravaganza.
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