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IIf the numbers are anything to go by, INDABA 2011 is adding up to be yet another successful instalment of Africa’s leading travel and tourism trade exhibition.  Building on the legacies of the phenomenal success of the 2010 event, this year’s show will focus on celebrating a record year of tourism growth and unpacking the new goals set for the tourism industry.


It’s all in the build up

“We have always maintained that INDABA is far more than just a four-day event,” comments SA Tourism CEO, Thandiwe January-McLean. “It’s the result of a year’s hard work from the entire tourism industry, as we look to consistently build on innovation, visitor numbers and the stature of INDABA year on year.  When it comes to the actual physical creation of the INDABA showcase, it’s the combination of the efforts of over 100 000 hours put in to deliver the show between our production partners, agencies, rigging crew and SA Tourism personnel.”

Visitors and exhibitors at this years INDABA will be exposed to an exhibition floor space larger than four soccer fields (27 000sqm) with over 7000 items of furniture, 6,5km of electrical cable and a further 4100 square metres of octonorm walling dividing the spaces for specific use.  21 000 square metres of carpeted flooring will prove to be welcome relief for the more than 500 trained staff and students who will act as production hands during the event, anticipated to cover more than 15km each while servicing exhibitors, the production team and guests during the event.

Attracting the numbers

INDABA has grown from strength to strength over the last decade, attracting growth of more 220% in exhibitor numbers since 2000.  With over 1 700 exhibitors now confirmed two weeks prior to the event, SA Tourism is hoping to meet or exceed the record number of 1 820 exhibitors secured last year. “The 2010 instalment of Indaba certainly proved to be highly successful, in part due to the increased awareness around South Africa prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” January-McLean continues.  “By all accounts, the world is equally curious to discover what the plan for the tourism industry is going forward this year, and we are set to welcome even more Southern African exhibitors to demonstrate that we are actively leveraging our favourable position post-World Cup.”

In terms of international visitor numbers, Indaba has fared well; recording growth of 160% between 2001 and 2010, growing from 64 to more than 88 different countries.  Expected attendance numbers this year are currently forecast at over 13 000 in total, with approximately 18% (or 2294) pre-registration visitor applications coming from international markets.   Among these visitors, are a confirmed 744 buyers, bringing with them tens of millions of rands in buying power.  Media attendance in 2011 is expected to return to pre-World Cup numbers of between 400-500 in total.

Feeding the masses

Witch and Wizard Creative (Pty) Ltd, the organisers of the event, have the arduous task of keeping the crowds content throughout the four exhibition days. Its Chief Executive Officer, Zaida Enver gives a little insight into the quantity of food and refreshments needed to sustain energy levels, “This year, we are looking to produce more than 10 644 lunchboxes over the four days, with an additional allocation of public catering for 12 948 people.  Historically, the most in-demand item on the menu is take-away coffee, which we anticipate will result in sales of approximately 7 500 cups.”

Energy of a different kind

Building on maintaining the energy-saving practices launched at INDABA 2009, SA Tourism will continue efforts to keep this year’s event as environmentally friendly as possible.  According to historical data, 2009’s INDABA showed a marginal environmental performance improvement of 3%.  Energy consumption decreased by 15%, and the overall primary carbon impact decreased by 26 tonnes.

This year, we can look forward to the introduction of innovative platforms that will go some way towards building a responsible and ‘green’ reputation at INDABA.  These platforms include the adoption of Poken technology, a unique networking tool aimed at negating the need for business cards.  “Even though something as simple as a business card may not seem to add to a significant carbon footprint, when one considers the prevalence of business cards at a networking event of this size, the numbers do really start adding up,” says William Price, Global Manager: E-Marketing at SA Tourism.   “We normally see the exchange of about half a million business cards at Indaba each year!”

Keeping track of the action

If you are one of the unfortunate few not joining the more than 8 000 people expected at this year’s INDABA Beach party and the thousands more at the show, be sure to tune into all the action on Indaba TV.  More than 45 hours of live and recorded coverage will be broadcast across the four days, free to air on the exclusive Indaba TV channel.  The broadcasts will be played on various screens in and around the exhibition halls, as well as in selected hotel rooms around Durban.

Indaba 2011 takes place from 7-10 May at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban ICC).  For more information, including media and visitor registration, please visit


Issued by Kezi Communications (Pty) Ltd on behalf of South African Tourism -

For further information contact

Jermaine Craig at SA Tourism                                          Chipo Punungwe at Kezi
Tel: +27 11 895 3000                                                     Tel: +27 11 334 2493    

Email:                                     Email:


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South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination. It is headed up by Chief Executive Officer, Ms Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Operating Officer Mr Timothy Scholtz and Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh.

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