SA Tourism has rebranded Indaba as Africa’s Travel Indaba, further positioning it as a Pan-African show, while the venue has been retained and SA Tourism has committed to a continued focus on raising the quality of the meetings at the show, with a focus on quality buyers.

Addressing the media at the show on Thursday, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, the Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau, said SA Tourism had sought to attract and host quality buyers and this had paid off and that the quality of meetings at the show had improved.

For the next five years, the show will be retained at the Durban ICC, while Durban Tourism and KwaZulu-Natal Tourism will continue to invest in it. Durban Tourism CEO, Philip Sithole, said on Thursday that he would like to see Durban become the permanent home of the show. Of the 35 Indaba shows, 27 have taken place in Durban.

Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Chief Operating Office, Phindile Makwakwa, said the legacy of Indaba had seen the province and city host more events, including the recent World Economic Forum. Lindiwe Rakharebe, CEO of Durban ICC, said the ICC was excited about hosting the next five shows: “We understand that we need to step up our game.”

SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, said the five-year contract brought stability and continued investment to the show. Asked about plans to win back exhibitors who had left the show for competing shows, Ntshona said SA Tourism did not view other shows as competition. He added that SA Tourism would support every platform that drove tourism.

Ntshona highlighted elements such as the opening of the show by President Jacob Zuma and the focus on SME development as key successes for this year’s show. He said having the President at the show and also endorsing the ‘I Do Tourism’ campaign would raise the profile of tourism in the country.

Ninety SMEs exhibited in the ICC under the Hidden Gems banner. Ntshona emphasised that these SMEs were brought into the centre of the show, not the sidelines, while Rakharebe said that these businesses would not have access to international buyers without this programme.

With the contract with event organizer, Pure Grit, at an end, a tender to organise the show will be published. This leaves less than a year before the tender process needs to be finalised and the show planned and organised. The dates for next year’s show have been set as May 8-10. Kotze-Nhlapo said the decision to hold the show in a working week was a result of engagement with industry.