Africa’s Travel Indaba, taking place from May 2 to 4 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban, will introduce the Green Stand Awards to recognise exhibitors who go the extra ‘green’ mile to build and design stands that are environmentally and socially sustainable.

The Indaba recognises the importance of high-value, low-impact tourism and preserving the environment through innovative solutions. This ties in to SA Tourism’s promotion of responsible tourism.

SA Tourism has pioneered event greening since 2011 through the South Africa National Convention Bureau business events show, Meetings Africa (MA). The awards have been implemented with great success at MA in recent years, and bringing it to Africa’s Travel Indaba will start the conversation with exhibitors to consider responsible tourism as a part of their offerings.

The stands are judged against the Event Greening Forum (EGF) award criteria, which include design, materials, operations, transport, communication, beyond green and innovation. Stand operators will also need to submit a written motivation explaining why their stand is green.

The assessment includes demonstrating knowledge about greening principles and the practical implementation thereof. The panel of judges will include professionals with event greening experience, and independent moderators.

Africa’s Travel Indaba 2018 implemented measures to make the event more environmentally friendly, including paperless contracts with exhibitors and an event app that helped to cut down on paper use before and during the event.

The event organisers are also looking to appoint as many local suppliers as possible, cutting down on the event’s carbon footprint, and promoting responsible tourism by giving resident SMMEs the chance to participate in the continent’s largest travel trade show.

SA Tourism pioneering event greening

South African Tourism’s event greening efforts have not gone unnoticed. Since 2012, MA has won every annual Green Show Award from the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA).

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau, explains: “SA Tourism recognises the importance of hosting events in a responsible manner and which address the triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity.”

Greg McManus, EGF Chairperson, says: “We have been honoured to fulfil an advisory role for Meetings Africa over the years. The SA Tourism team have always been very receptive to our recommendations and to adopting new initiatives, which they have done with great results. We are looking forward to continuing this partnership and success with Africa’s Travel Indaba.”

To ensure this year’s Indaba is greener than ever, the EGF conducted a baseline assessment at last year’s event to gain a better understanding of its environmental impact. This information is now being used to develop an event greening strategy that can be implemented at future events. The data gathered is proving to be critical to mapping out an effective event greening strategy.

Sustainability Village has socio-economic and environmental impact

For the second year running, Indaba will feature the Sustainability Village, which was created to showcase talented local artisans and SMEs, and their handcrafted goods. All of the items on display are made in South Africa and inspired by local culture and traditions, with some also having a strong sustainability ethos, such as using recycled materials. Instead of traditional corporate gifts, SA Tourism will give gift cards to delegates, allowing them to select their own gifts from this space.

The Sustainability Village’s responsible gifting meets three criteria that includes eco-procurement, social upliftment, and avoiding the unnecessary waste of unwanted gifts.

Justin Hawes, the Managing Director of Scan Display, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019’s infrastructure providers, says: “For the Sustainability Village, we created modular structures out of raw wood and African fabrics. Two-thirds of them were re-used from the Meetings Africa show earlier this year, and they will be re-used over the coming years.”

“Event greening will soon become a mainstay in the African business events industry, and we, as SA Tourism, are proud to be its pioneers. We look forward to welcoming you to what will be the greenest Africa’s Travel Indaba yet,” stated SA Tourism in a press release.

Click here for more information on Africa’s Travel Indaba.