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Indaba… Changing african narrative through tourism


The Indaba media team at the Statue of Nelson Mandela in front of the Union Building, Pretoria, South Africa

The importance of tourism to Africa and its economy was once again established at the just concluded Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019, held recently at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa.

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, the three-day event embraced the theme for Indaba 2019, Africa’s stories, your success, which 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’.

“Too often, the real stories of Africa are not told and not heard,” he said, while compelling collaboration among African.

The Minister added, “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.”

Meanwhile, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, during his speech at event, 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 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.

Meanwhle, as part of Indaba 2019, South African Tourism West Africa hosted trade and media delegates and stakeholders from Nigeria and Ghana at on a pre tour across the Gauteng and Limpopo provinces in South Africa.

The hosting was aimed at strengthening existing partnership and collaboration in the continent, as delegates had an exhilarating experience exploring the beautiful city of Pretoria by getting their adrenaline pumped at the Adventure Zone in Cullinan for a day of fun activities such as Ziplining, Bike Riding and Archery and a visit to the Entabeni Game Reserve in Limpopo, where they got to see some of the ‘Big 5 animals’ and connected with nature. While in Durban, the team went shopping at the famous Victoria Street Market dubbed as Durban’s Oldest market.

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