South Africa’s Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has officially opened the continent’s flagship trade tourism event Africa’s Travel Indaba after three years in hibernation.
The resilient travel businesses of Africa are on the way to overcoming the crippling effects of the global pandemic, which all but obliterated an industry that accounts for 10 per cent of GDP.
“We have overcome the stigma that was associated with us, we have rediscovered ourselves on the ground and we will overcome everything,” Sisulu said, adding that Africans are a proud, invincible people who have survived and are ready to tell their stories and inspire the world.
“This is the essence of the African champion. Indaba is a proudly made African show and as a continent, we have a unique blend of culture, heritage, nature, rural and urban experiences.
“Africa is a region where you inhale the beauty everywhere with a unique history of courage, resilience, and historic sites”
Sisulu spoke of a renewed focus on responsible tourism, which she said is the only way forward for the continent’s future.
More than 600 buyers have come from across the world to experience the diversity of African tourism products.
The trade show features 634 exhibitors, from various African countries and with a matchmaking diary system, has resulted in more than 22,000 meetings confirmed to take place throughout the next three days.
The latest data shows that the global international tourist arrivals to Africa have more than doubled between January 2022, compared to 2021 with 1.8 million more visitors travelling worldwide in the first two months of 2022.
In January 2022, Africa enjoyed a growth of 51 per cent in 2022, over 2021.
Sisulu also answered the questions on everyone’s lips:
“I have had several engagements with my federal cabinet ministers in relation to ways we can innovate and partner and address the challenges that to make travelling as safe and effortless as possible,” she said.
“We’ve already seen positive developments around the rollout of the E visas for most of our key source markets and are working together on many more initiatives.”
Featured image: South Africa’s Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and UNIVEN chancellor Mojanku Gumbi open Africa’s 2022 Travel Indaba