Indaba 2019: Changing the African Narrative through Tourism
The noteworthiness of tourism to Africa and its economy was again established at the just concluded Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa from the 2nd May to the 4th May 2019.
Africa’s Travel Indaba is considered one of the largest events in the African tourism calendar, bringing together over 7,000 exhibitors; including local and international buyers; tourism and business media; industry stakeholders; members of tourism associations and captains of industry from over 80 countries.
This year, we embraced the theme for Indaba 2019, which was: “Africa’s stories, your success”, this re-emphasizes the importance of telling our own stories and showcasing our successes to help boost tourism in Africa, and also change the world narrative of Africa as a continent that needs saving to one that is flourishing.
The Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Derek Hanekom, opened Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 with great optimism about the future of tourism in Africa, he started by asking the audience if by 2030 the continent will be ready to invite 21 million international tourists. His own response to the question was a resounding ‘yes’.
The minister stated that “Too often the real stories of Africa are not told and not heard,” in his statement compelling collaboration among African countries the Minister added that “We need to work together to replace the sometimes negative narrative of Africa with the real story of so many nations on the move, of people innovating and moving confidently into the future”.
South Africa president, Cyril Ramaphosa, during his speech at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 implied that “We are global citizens physically separated by borders. We are however united by our affinity and our love for this great continent Africa, the cradle of humankind”.
He explained further that “We must reduce the onerous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists who want to visit our country face. This requires us to streamline our tourist visa regime. We are in the process of radically overhauling our visa dispensation for the rest of the world and introducing a world-class e-visa system.”
This statement revealed that the continent is working towards overhauling visa systems for travelers looking to visit various African tourism hotspot.