IBDABA, currently taking place in Durban, South Africa, brings together a showcase of Southern African tourism products and services with more than 1000 exhibitors for international buyers at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from the 7th May to 9th May 2016.
The Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, was also on hand to welcome delegates: “Welcome to your South Africa – a country on a long journey, on “the long walk to freedom”, to quote our beloved former President Nelson Mandela. Every day takes us closer to our dream of a truly non-racial, non-sexist society, and to our final destination of freedom, equality and prosperity for all.”
“The United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that international tourist arrivals will grow by 4% this year. Tourist arrivals in Africa are expected to reach 130 million by 2030. This is more than double the 50 million arrivals we are currently receiving,” continues Hanekom.
“In South Africa we are investing in our key sites, and training our people to enhance the visitor experience at these destinations. We have started fitting selected attractions with solar energy to reduce their reliance on the national grid and to lower their operational costs,” he says. “Many of our countries are addressing their visa policies, their infrastructure, health and hygiene standards, and the protection of their natural resources.”
“However, despite positive development like these, our continent still faces impediments to growth. Air transport services remain a key constraint. Many major airlines fly to Africa from North America, Europe, and Asia. But, once visitors reach the continent, they encounter difficulties in travelling from country to country,” explains Hanekom. “If one quarter of African countries were to implement the Open Skies for Africa decision and facilitate greater air access between our countries, an additional 155,000 jobs and USD 1.3 billion in GDP could be generated, with obvious benefits for tourism.”