TOURISM INDABA A SUCCESS DESPITE XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS
By: Mbuso Kunene
The recent xenophobic attacks did not hinder African exhibitors and buyers to attend the annual Tourism Indaba that took place from today, as figures continued to grow.
In the official opening of Tourism Indaba 2015 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli InternationalConvetion Centre (ICC) on Saturday, more than 1 000 exhibitors, over 2 000 local and
international buyers across the world came through.
The Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom confirmed this in the opening of the three-day event and praised the role that tourism plays in the economy of the country.
“South African Tourism Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three must visit event of its kind on the global calendar.
Our tourism sector now contributes over 9 % of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP),and supports 1.5 million job opportunities country wide and it continues to grow,” said
“On the African continent tourism directly and indirectly supports 20.5 million dollars and represents 8.1 percent of Africa’s GDP, in some countries more than 50 percent of their
Gross Domestic Product comes from tourism.”
Among the exhibitors at the Indaba was a heritage destination which holds history from 3.6 billion years told by Africans in an African way, Freedom Park.
The acting CEO at Freedom Park in Pretoria, Jane Mufamadi, remained positive about the service they sold to buyers at Indaba 2015.
“Freedom Park is where young people can learn about their history, heritage, culture, issues around spirituality and their own indigenous identities.
Once you know your identity it will always be right not to imitate the Americans,” said Mufamadi.
She added that they want the place to be utilized by the people of South Africa as a reference point and the source of knowledge particularly to schools and Universities.
“We have recordings, and published information particularly for young people, where they can learn and understand how other African countries have contributed to our freedom since
we recently been through these xenophobic attacks,” she added.
This year’s event saw unity amongst African counterparts and next year a bigger turnout is expected as there will be an international partner according to Hanekom.