The city of Durban’s hosting of Africa’s Travel Indaba is projected to significantly boost the city’s economy via both direct and indirect spend generated by the event.

Councillor Sipho Kaunda, Chairperson of the City of eThekwini’s Economic and Planning committee, says: “The city is expecting to receive 7 000 visitors. We anticipate that this will generate direct spend of R40m (€2.5m) with an estimated contribution to the city’s GDP of R80m (€5m).”

However, as Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), explains, direct spend is not the only marker of a major event’s financial impact on a city’s economy, as the city’s value chain will be equally affected by the influx of buyers, exhibitors and visitors.

Kotze-Nhlapo says: “I think like any other big event, but specifically because we are in the tourism industry, it’s really the whole value chain. Sometimes I think we don’t even measure it. We are very modest when we talk about measuring the over R50m (€3.2m) that comes in here. But if you just think of a laundromat. Are we measuring that laundromat? We actually all do tourism, and when these kinds of big events come, everybody is really there.”

“This year, we even want to have some activations in places like Florida Road, where people can go and experience what the area has to offer. We know that we are at the same time as, for instance first Thursdays, and so how do we bring that in? So I think we do measure and will again measure direct spend, but then there’s all the peripheral spend that is way beyond that direct spend that we have,” says Kotze-Nhlapo.

This year’s Indaba already has 1 110 local, regional and International buyers confirmed for the event, alongside 890 confirmed exhibitors and 104 confirmed African exhibitors from 19 countries. “The above numbers clearly demonstrate that Indaba continues to grow and be the sought-after platform for African tourism products,” concludes Kotze-Nhlapo.