11 May 2014

INDABA: Day Two

The second day of INDABA 2014 started with a high-profile debate, the Global Media Face Off moderated by CNN presenter Richard Quest, who put the four panellists through their paces.

Global Media Face Off panellists with Richard Quest of CNN

Quest didn’t pull any punches in the wide-ranging discussion that covered issues of security, politics, morality, value for money and perception in the African travel market.

Hot topics included the lack of gay rights in Uganda and whether this should impact on travel decisions and the need for more open skies and speedier visa applications in Africa.

The panellists were economist Mike Schussler, branding guru Thebe Ikalafeng, Helena Egan of TripAdvisor and South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima.

Wrapping up the discussion, Quest said the reason he had returned to INDABA was because South Africa was one of the few places where such a free-ranging debate could be held without any restrictions placed on it.

A good way to celebrate this year’s INDABA theme of celebrating 20 years of democracy.

TripAdvisor releases some interesting statistics

With INDABA in full swing, TripAdvisor came out with some interesting statistics about travellers to South Africa, showing that Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and Cape Town were top of the list for destinations in the country.

These results confirmed another study that showed that South Africa is on the wish-list for travellers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France, with increasing interest from Chinese and German-speaking European markets.

Competitor analysis showed that the US, UK and the Caribbean top the list of alternative inbound markets for travellers researching South Africa on TripAdvisor.

Richard Quest with Helena Egan of TripAdvisor

TechTalks

The TechTalks once again proved popular. Charlie Ballard, research director for TripAdvisor, spoke about online trends in South Africa and the rest of Africa. He spoke of the big shift to using mobile devices to research travel Africa in 2013, and how there is an increase in TripAdvisor reviews submitted from South Africa every year.

Chris Whitley from the BBC focused on the value of good content and the massive rise in the use of mobile devices. He emphasised the importance of knowing what you want to communicate and how you want to communicate it; it’s all about the story you want to tell.

There was also a talk by two of the #MeetSouthAfrica bloggers on how bloggers are doing destination marketing.

Inanda media excursion

On Saturday, members of the media were treated to a day trip to Inanda, to visit a number of important historical sites. The first stop was at Sarvodaya, the house Mahatma Gandhi, built in Phoenix for his family.

The next stop was the Ohlange Institute, just a short distance away, founded by Reverend John Langalibalele Dube, who was also the founder and first president of the African National Congress. The history of this famous South African essayist, philosopher, educator, politician, publisher, editor, novelist and poet was well told by tour guide Mandla Nxumalo, who had a special connection to the site. It was here that Nelson Mandela chose to cast his vote in South Africa's first democratic election in 1994, in honour of his hero Dube.

New grading category

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa launched a new grading category for game lodges and gave invaluable feedback on the star grading system in South Africa which has more than 6 000 establishments signed up for the voluntary system and 113 074 rooms graded. The gradings are reviewed annually.

And it just happened to be Mother’s Day

Watch the video below for some of day one's highlights.