9 June 2014

INDABA 2014 was a high-energy showcase of Africa’s tourism industry

​INDABA 2014 gave a platform to 24 African destinations to do business with quality buyers, in an environment attuned to the remarkable inbound tourist growth of a continent.

South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima

Registrations for INDABA 2015 will open soon. Already, there is strong interest and excitement for next year. We look forward to another fruitful year in tourism, and to returning to INDABA in 2015.

INDABA 2014 gave a platform to 24 African destinations to do business with quality buyers, in an environment attuned to the remarkable inbound tourist growth of a continent. This was the hallmark of the most advanced, business-focused and tech-savvy INDABA to date that lived up to its theme: Plugging into Africa’s Growth.

When the show closed on Monday, 12 May, 8 706 delegates had attended this year’s INDABA. A total of 281 of those delegates were hosted buyers (35.7 percent up on hosted buyer numbers in 2013); 788 of total delegates were South African buyers; and 1 069 delegates were (non-hosted) international buyers.

A total of 1 198 different products, experiences and services exhibited at INDABA this year. Significantly there was a 15.5 percent growth in regional African products on show at INDABA.

INDABA has taken its place as a highly relevant, Pan-African business platform, harnessing the power of technology to create an enabling environment for people to network and do business. The INDABA Connect system this year proved its value. There were 229 191 connections made using the system over the three days of the tradeshow. The 8 305 INDABA Connect users at this year’s show exchanged 35 019 documents electronically, an impressive 150 percent up on the 14 007 documents exchanged at INDABA 2013.

Even more importantly, a total of 19 399 meetings took place between exhibitors and buyers through INDABA’s electronic diary Matchmaking system. There were 18 044 logins into the system by 4 316 users.

South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima says: “This is a key focus for SA Tourism as we begin gear-up for INDABA 2015, ensuring enhanced user-friendliness and automatic intelligence that maximises the value of the online paring system.”

Media interest in INDABA 2014 remained strong with a total of 653 journalists covering the show. The #INDABA2014 hashtag trended on Twitter on each of the three show days. The TechZone, a new introduction at INDABA 2014 showcased travel and technology trends. It hosted hundreds of delegates every day who came to engage with leading travel technology brands and listen to the INDABA TechTalks by global experts including representatives from Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google and local technology advisors. All the TechTalks were oversubscribed.

“It was a successful INDABA,” continues Nzima, “South African Tourism is confident that its tighter buyer selection criteria, which resulted in a marginally reduced number of buyers this year, succeeded in delivering improved quality buyers for INDABA exhibitors.”

“Securing the attendance of quality buyer delegates has been a priority at INDABA for a number of years. We are confident that our efforts to stimulate meaningful engagements between buyers and exhibitors at INDABA was effective and that this will lead to the generation of millions of Rands in tourism business, and tourists, that will contribute substantially to the long-term growth of tourism on the continent.”

Nigel Vere Nicoll, Chief Executive Officer at African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA) agrees. “INDABA is definitely going in the right direction,” he says. “The Pan-African nature of the show quantifiably delivers more value for both exhibitors and buyers and ATTA will most certainly be back to exhibit in 2015.”

“The Speed Marketing sessions were especially useful, providing excellent business leads and direct access to buyers of exceptional quality for our businesses. ATTA congratulates all involved on making INDABA 2014 a decided success,” Vere Nicoll says.

ATTA is a trade association that promotes tourism to Africa. The body serves and supports tourism products in 22 African countries. It has more than 500 members representing accommodation, transport, travel specialists and tour operators.

“INDABA’s path to being a Pan-African tradeshow is irrevocable,” says Nzima. “We remain completely committed to seeking new ways of improving the show, and continue to improve INDABA’s offering for both buyers and exhibitors.”

“The inclusion going forward of more African destinations is integral to the INDABA strategy. Identifying and recruiting quality buyers is another essential component of that plan, as is maintaining a keenly collaborative culture around INDABA to ensure it responds to stakeholder and industry needs,” Nzima says.

“The historic four-day INDABA was modernised into a three-day show for the first time in 2014. We knew this would result in lower delegate numbers. Our task is to improve the level of relevant meetings at INDABA to ensure INDABA remains a quality over quantity show. We are more than satisfied that this was a high-quality business tradeshow that delivered value to the vast majority of both exhibitors and buyers.

“INDABA is essentially about providing the best platform possible for exhibitors and buyers to do business and this focus on creating a more business-like environment informed many of the changes at INDABA 2014. We will, together with the industry, take time to evaluate our successes and identify areas where can we improve further to ensure future shows are even better and more productive for both buyers and exhibitors.

“Registrations for INDABA 2015 will open soon. Already, there is strong interest and excitement for next year. We look forward to another fruitful year in tourism, and to returning to INDABA in 2015,” Nzima concluded.