A Member’s View of Tourism Indaba 2013
Richard’s Supper Stage &Bistro, a member of Cape Town Tourism and the organisation I work for as venue coordinator, was invited to join the City of Cape Town’s stand at Indaba 2013 in May 2013 to exhibit what it is that we offer.
When I started thinking about what Indaba 2013 was like for me – with all of its interesting people, all the beautiful stands, all the new developments, the cultural exhibitions with live dancers and traditional African women dressed to the nines in traditional garb, I started thinking about the things that made this Indaba special.
For me, Indaba had fewer visitors than previous years, but we were happy that we still had quality encounters with people from all around the globe, despite the lack of quantity.
I started summarising what I thought the overall “vibe” of Indaba was and, quite unintentionally, the three main aspects of Indaba that I thought stood out to me personally, all started with the letter D.
So welcome to the 3D world of Indaba 2013! (I promise nothing will come hurling at your face!)
A strong emphasis was placed on tourism’s integration into the digital world. It is no secret that we are living in the digital age. People travel digitally, they decide on restaurants, hotels, excursions and other tourism-related services via Google. More and more suppliers are realising the importance of a strong online presence and it’s not unusual for a supplier’s brochure to have QR codes, links to various social media sites etc, in order to attract people to the presence they have online.
There is a saying amongst young people that goes “If you don’t exist online, you don’t exist at all”. This digital influence was strongly evidenced by the new “Indaba Connect” system, a wonderful system that aims to minimise the use of business cards and brochures, thus saving on paper. As a supplier, it was interesting to see the digital side of tourism come to life in this way.
With Cape Town being nominated as World Design Capital of 2014, most of the overall theme of Indaba had a design element to it. The WESGRO stand even won a gold medal for their well-designed and innovative stand.
The City of Cape Town’s stand was also a testament to why Cape Town was voted WDC for 2014. With huge colourful posters, AV equipment, lighting and a general sense of celebration, it was easy to see why Cape Town is the “event city” of South Africa. Design plays more of a role in tourism than I thought. Suppliers with a strong aesthetic and a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to design and tourism are generally favoured.
It’s becoming more and more clear to me that visitors to South Africa, and I can imagine, all over the world, are becoming increasingly tired of the “sights”. That’s not to say that they are not important, but in an age where images of these icons are so readily available everywhere, more and more visitors to South Africa are looking to go “off the beaten track” to find something unique, something African, something that they feel they have “discovered”.
That little eatery in a tiny alleyway, the hiking trails up a beautiful mountain or the conversation with an actual local whilst waiting for a minibus taxi. Huge groups, with set itineraries are definitely still the norm, but an increase in smaller FIT business is also very prevalent.
Overall, as an experience, Indaba was, once again, a great one for us as a business as it gave us the opportunity to showcase what we offer to an international audience. Not even the heavy Durban rainfall could deter us from meeting loads of people, having great conversations and ultimately having an awesome time.
And should it rain like that again next year – we will not be deterred!
For more information about Richard’s Supper Stage&Bistro, please visit our website: www.richardscapetown.co.za.