South African President Jacob Zuma (Front) attends the opening of Africa's Travel Indaba (conference) 2017 in Durban, South Africa, on May 16, 2017. South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that immense potentials remain to be tapped to further grow the tourism sector in Africa. (Xinhua/GCIS/Elmond Jiyane)
DURBAN, May 16 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma announced Tuesday that Durban will host African Travel Indaba for the next five years.
He said this while officially opening the 2017 Africa Travel Indaba where 21 African Countries are exhibiting what they offer in terms of tourism. The City of Durban did bid with other aspiring cities and was successful.
Zuma congratulated Durban saying, "I trust the City will continue utilizing this platform in a strategic way to expose more hidden local-owned offerings through this Indaba. It is the largest tourism marketing platform on the African calendar which facilitates the clinching of good business deals."
Africa Travel indaba is a platform for Africans to host international buyers and exhibit what they can offer in the tourism sector. Durban will host the event in the next five years with an option to extend it when that term expires.
Tanya Abrahamse, Chairperson of the South African Tourism Board who were choosing the winner amongst the bidders also congratulated Durban. Abrahamse said, "We would like to thank all the bidding tourism authorities for their submissions, and congratulate the province of KwaZulu-Natal on winning the right to host Africa's largest and most prestigious travel exhibition. We look forward to building on a strong partnership with Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to reinforce Africa Travel Indaba's status as a premier African trade show committed to promoting and growing tourism on the continent."
EThekwini Municipality said they are starting now to prepare for the 2018 Africa Travel Indaba. EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said she is ecstatic about Durban being the home of the Indaba for another five years. Gumede said, "We are happy to be afforded the opportunity to host the Indaba which attracts key tourism decision makers from around the world."
She said hosting the Indaba had a positive impact on the City as it injects around 15 million U.S. dollars into the economy. EThekwini Municipality gets a boost in tourism and get an opportunity to employ temporary and full time workers in various sectors as a result of hosting the event.
Lindiwe Rakharebe, Executive Officer of the Durban International Conference Centre (ICC) where Africa Travel indaba is held expressed happiness over the opportunity to host the event.
"We are thrilled, honored and proud to be the host venue for Indaba for the next five years. Having been home to Africa's Top Travel show since 1992, it is wonderful news that we will remain its host for the next five years at least," Rakharebe said.
"Indaba is one of the highlights of our year and is the ideal showcase of the amazing tourism offerings available in Durban and KwaZulu-Natal, not to mention that the event is also the premier platform to discuss the growth and development of our tourism industry in the years ahead."
Some international visitors come to attend the event and later return on their leisure tourism. Hosting the event will boost the country's tourism sector. This year over 7,000 delegates are attending the event.