Africa Travel Indaba 2019 – colourful, vibrant and with a promise from the President of healthy tourist figures in the future, a drop in crime and the protection of our precious flora and fauna.
I love spending time at the totally unique, exciting and informational Travel Indaba that takes place every year in early May at the ICC in Durban. This year was no exception. It was packed full of enthusiastic tourist experts from around Africa, and as the hosts, South African operators did not disappoint. There was so much on offer for people in the trade, and wherever one went, cultural dance groups wowed the crowds with their moves – dancing to the beat of the drums and traditional songs.
The event – entitled the Africa Travel Indaba, is one of the world’s top three trade shows and the theme this year was “Africa’s stories. Your success” and included everything that affected the tourist trade, from networking to talks, presentations and debates.
The highlight was President Cyril Ramaphosa’s talk and I would have loved to have asked him how the government were dealing with the immense problem of poaching – rhino, elephant and pangolin to name a few, after he said: “We have fauna and flora that we are proud to say as African’s are not found anywhere else on earth. We have world class National Parks that are on the forefront of the conservation of rare and endangered species, and the beautiful thing is that our parks are being improved on a continuous basis as those parks are being packaged and properly managed for tourists from around the globe.”
Let’s be realistic. If we don’t take a lot more care of our flora and fauna, we will see our tourist figures fall drastically.
On the subject of Tourists and the issue of visa’s the President continued “We are committed to working towards the African Unions goal of visa free travel and a single African Air Transport market. We are in the process, in a very radical way, of a visa dispensation for the rest of the world and introducing a world class e visa system. The challenges that you have with your visa’s are going to be ironed out. This is the commitment that I have given to the nation. We are going to do this.”
He continued “We must deal with another major challenge. Crime. If we address crime we will see millions more people coming to Africa. We have to deal with crime and counter the perception that Africa is an unsafe tourist destination. We need to counter this with different dispensations that are going to be put in place to make Africa a safer place for tourists to visit.”
Wonderful words – let’s make sure he puts them into action!
GLENDA THOMPSON. GET U NOTICED.