In the wake of the change of dates for Africa’s Travel Indaba, the tourism leaders of South Africa have put out a call to product and service providers catering for visitors and exhibitors, to be sensitive to booking and itinerary changes that will need to take place to accommodate the earlier dates.

“In the spirit of tourism and working together to achieve our common goal of growing tourism in our country, we are asking tourism players to be sensitive around bookings changes,” said CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. He said SA Tourism and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) were in talks with industry service providers about the Indaba, such as airlines and accommodation facilities.

This was shared at a media briefing on February 14, the day after announcing the new dates for Indaba.

The decision to move the date to May 2 to 4 has been met with mixed feelings from the tourism industry. Ntshona said: “It will be fewer days, but we can rejig the programme to make sure that we can deliver the core value proposition of Indaba. Indaba is a major ‘moment’ for the tourism sector and players out there; it’s got a brand, it’s got an identity; it also has opportunity to make sure that SA is always top of mind; that Africa is top of mind as a tourism destination internationally.”

To support this, a task team was set up following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the date for the national elections, to make a decision on the immediate way forward for the Indaba, as a national election would take precedence over any event. All represented sectors were consulted, and voiced their concerns and suggestions, and the decision was made to move the Indaba four days earlier, remaining at the same venue – the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

The following considerations were taken into account:

  • The Indaba’s positioning on the global travel calendar.
  • International brochure deadlines.
  • Exhibitors and travellers who have booked accommodation, flights, etc.
  • The importance of a national election to the host country.

CEO of the TBCSA, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, concluded: “We are committed to the country; we are committed to the democracy; and we are committed to tourism. Everything was debated, and the date has been changed – we’re happy that we made the decision fast and were able to bring certainty into the market, and people will be able to make the adjustments that they will be able to make to come to Indaba.”