Talking Tourism: Feedback from Indaba 2011
I am happy to report back to the tourism industry and Cape Town Tourism members after a jam-packed Indaba that demonstrated that South Africa’s tourism industry is on par with and in many instances leading the rest of the world in terms of industry innovation and creativity.
The over-riding South African Tourism message to the industry at INDABA was “Leave Ordinary Behind” – a clarion call to again emphasise that what set the country’s tourism industry apart was the personal connection and interaction tourists felt with South Africa’s people and its unique attractions.
It was no different for Cape Town products who exhibited at Indaba. Cape Town Tourism initiated a Cape Town Pavilion where nine exhibitors and eight roving attendees were represented under a very strong unified Cape Town brand. The feedback from both exhibitors and visitors to our pavilion have been extremely positive – confirmation of the need for a single-minded brand for Cape Town that positions our diverse city in a cohesive way beyond its natural beauty. The collective approach and spirit of participation of the Cape Town Pavilion exhibitors echoed Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s comments that tourism was not only about figures, policies, statistics and objectives – but about people being the key driver for economic development and job creation in the tourism industry.
Minister van Schalkwyk also said the recently-announced National Tourism Sector Strategy targets, which aims to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals to 15 million by 2020, was only possible through a collaborative effort by all tourism stakeholders. In a significant move, Cape Town Tourism met with Joburg and Durban Tourism to start a joint marketing agreement between the three cities that will see closer city-to-city collaboration to maximise tourism development and marketing.
The agreement is the outcome of our three cities reassessing strategies and committing to go beyond the traditional to challenge compartmentalised marketing thinking. Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban tell three very different and unique but complementary stories. I strongly believe that we add value to each other’s leisure and business tourism offering and I think that this will also go a long way towards providing the prospective international traveller with a seamless impression of destination South Africa. The time has come for us to use creative and innovative ways to maximise the domestic and international leisure as well as business tourism potential, for all three cities.
Domestic tourism remains a key priority for Cape Town. I am therefore happy to report that we have cemented relationships with some of the low-cost airlines at Indaba and started the process of joint marketing initiatives to benefit domestic tourism specifically from Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Our key marketing strategy will continue to entrench our work in our traditional and core tourism markets, while also paying particular attention to emerging markets which have shown considerable potential, in the Americas, Asia and Africa in particular. We saw a significant increase in the number of buyers and trade from Asia, Africa and South America attending Indaba – a sign that these emerging markets have increased spending power and that our destination provides the experiences that these consumers are seeking.
The INDABA attendance figures included nearly 3 000 international buyers and visitors; an impressive increase of 11% on the number of international delegates attending INDABA in 2010, as Africa’s top travel and tourism trade show continues to deliver on-going trade and awareness to local and international suppliers and generates millions of Rands of potential tourism revenue. Of the international delegates and buyers from 98 different countries that attended INDABA 2011, the highest number of delegates per country came from the United Kingdom (267), the United States (166), Germany (138), Zimbabwe (102) and the Netherlands (97).