Africa’s Travel Indaba reunited Aussies with the Mother Continent

Africa’s Travel Indaba reunited Aussies with the Mother Continent
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Africa’s Travel Indaba, the continent’s premier travel trade show, successfully concluded its highly anticipated 2023 edition.

    Held in Durban, from 8-11 May, this year’s event proved to be a resounding success, bringing together industry professionals, buyers, and media from around the globe to showcase the diverse and captivating offerings of African travel destinations.

    As the largest pan-African travel trade show on the continent, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 owned by South African Tourism, surpassed expectations, with visitor numbers back to pre-pandemic levels. Among them, 21 influential buyers and seven top-tier media representatives from Australia and New Zealand.

    Over the course of the event, more than 750 meetings took place between ANZ representatives and key property and tour operator exhibitors, allowing networking opportunities and collaborations to flourish.

    The show’s success was influenced by the recovery of the ANZ travel market and the meetings it has facilitated will contribute to its ongoing growth. Australian arrivals to South Africa in 2022 delivered 50 per cent of pre-COVID 2019 despite prevailing restrictions for much of that year, while Q1, 2023 arrivals are in line with same period in 2020 prior to the pandemic and have already delivered 38 per cent of 2022 entire year arrivals.

    New Zealand arrivals to South Africa also show an upward trajectory with the first quarter of this year surpassing pre-pandemic Q1 in 2020 by 7.69 per cent.

    In addition to discovering South Africa’s tourism products at Indaba, a select group of seven ANZ buyers and media embarked on a post-familiarisation tour across South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to discover the region.

    The adventure commenced at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where participants had the unique opportunity to stay at the only private property situated along the banks of the picturesque St Lucia, Makakatana Lodge. Here, surrounded by wildlife – some even with warthogs burrowed under their suites – guests got to experience a breathtaking hippo cruise, offering up-close encounters with the hippos for which this region is renowned.

    ANZ buyers and media on a hippo cruise in St Lucia (Supplied)

    ANZ buyers and media enjoying sundowners at Makakatana Lodge

    The journey continued with a safari experience at Biyela Lodge, offering breath-taking vistas overlooking the magnificent White Umfolozi River where participants had the privilege of witnessing the untamed beauty of the African wildlife and wilderness, among a truly immersive and unforgettable setting.

    To delve into the rich history and cultural heritage of the region, the group then ventured to Fugitives Drift at the Battlefields, where they gained knowledge about the Anglo Boer War. This educational stop allowed participants to connect with the past and appreciate the significance of the region’s historical landmarks.

    Their last stop was in the majestic Drakensberg Mountains, experienced on foot through the picturesque hiking trails, and in flight, aboard a hot-air balloon soaring above the stunning landscape – the exhilarating aerial perspective, a fitting end to their unforgettable journey through the diverse landscapes of KwaZulu-Natal.

    Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 and the subsequent post-familiarisation tours have once again demonstrated the immense potential and unparalleled beauty of African travel destinations. By showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural wonders, and hospitality of the continent, this event has strengthened Africa’s, and particularly South Africa, position as a top choice for travellers seeking unique and unforgettable experiences.

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