INDABA kicks off with Conversations, speed marketing and a galaxy of stellar exhibits

15 May 2017

Growing African tourism is at the heart of the continent’s leading travel show

INDABA 2017 is set to begin with a bang on Tuesday, 16 May, with thousands of exhibitors, travel buyers, visitors and media from all over the world expected to converge on the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban to experience the dynamic African travel industry in all its diverse glory.

Africa’s top travel show will set Durban abuzz over three show days, from 16 to 18 May. It was preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on 15 May, aimed at exhibitors only.

Over the course of more than 35 years, INDABA has become regarded as Africa’s top travel show, with a strong focus on doing business aimed at growing travel on the continent.

This year, 18 African countries will be rolling out the welcome mat to the world at INDABA, inviting buyers and visitors to marvel at their multifaceted basket of attractions as the continent’s travel industry basks in an upsurge in global interest.

Here are some of the highlights of INDABA 2017:

During four themed Conversations over the three days of INDABA, exhibitors and journalists can take part in constructive discussions around developing the tourism economy. These talks will see local and international game changers, technology “disruptors”, innovators and captains of industry driving lively and informative exchanges of ideas.

In the first Conversation, on Tuesday 16 May at 12 noon, South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer Sisa Ntshona will be among the panellists looking at creative ways in which the private and public sectors can steer inclusive growth in the tourism economy. Ntshona will be joined by trailblazing economic strategist Thabi Leoka and the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Alan Mukoki, in a discussion moderated by Andile Khumalo from MSG Afrika Holdings (which owns Power FM).

The second Conversation is at 2pm on the same day, and takes the form of a thought leadership or “Ted” talk by Paul Midy. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Jumia Travel (previously known as Jovago), regarded as Africa’s leading online travel agency. Midy will share his views on how African tourism businesses can harness the power of technology to their benefit.

During the third Conversation, on Wednesday 17 May at 10h30, acclaimed filmmaker Akin Omotoso will be joined by South Africa’s National Heritage Council Chief Executive Officer, Sonwabile Mancotywa, and FNB Joburg Art Fair director Mandla Sibeko. They will interrogate how Africa’s cultural richness – such as its visual and performing arts, as well as its design, fashion, heritage and music offerings - can be used to greater effect in promoting tourism on the continent. Durban-based Vuma FM media personality Vanessa Marawa will moderate this session.

The final Conversation for exhibitors and media, a bid party wrap-up session at 10h30 on Thursday 18 May, will highlight the achievements of this year’s INDABA, the feedback received and the business concluded at the event. Speakers will include Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Chief Executive Officer Ndabo Khoza, Durban Tourism head Philip Sithole, Durban ICC Chief Executive Lindiwe Rakharebe, and South African Tourism’s Sisa Ntshona.

Speed marketing sessions
The ever-popular speed marketing sessions, where a diverse array of South African tourism products are introduced to top buyers from across the globe in hour-long sessions, will once again feature at INDABA 2017.

During the fast-paced morning sessions, South African product owners each have three to four minutes to deliver the essence of their sales pitch to an audience of global buyers. Follow-up meetings and negotiations are then at the discretion of both parties.

Three speed marketing sessions will be held over the course of the three public trade show days, each focusing on a theme, namely: Award-winning SA Products, Lap of Luxury and Scenic Beauty. Twenty products per session will be presenting their offerings to more than 200 international buyers.

The INDABA speed marketing sessions were exceptionally well received last year, and this year promises to be no different, with all three sessions virtually fully booked. They will be facilitated by dynamic actor and media personality Ntokozo Dlamini, a resident of KwaZulu-Natal.

Hidden Gems and Luxury pavilions
These two special pavilions, located adjacent to each other, will profile vibrant SMEs operating in the travel sector and five-star offerings, respectively.

Ninety black-owned small tourism businesses, drawn from all nine South African provinces, are exhibiting on the Hidden Gems pavilion. They range from cultural tour operators to horse-riding operations, from restaurants serving township cuisine to adrenaline-fuelled adventures, from exhilarating helicopter rides to wine-tasting tours.

These SMEs, or “hidden gems”, are participating in INDABA through the Department of Tourism’s National SME Market Access Programme, in partnership with South African Tourism and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.

The new Luxury Pavilion, hosted by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, will feature some 30 exhibitors targeting the high-end market. Initiated in response to a demand from the industry, this pavilion will sparkle with elite offerings such as boutique hotels, private game lodges, exclusive spas and breathtaking nature reserves and resorts.

This is just a taste of what’s in store at INDABA 2017 – where Africa is ready to take centre stage and dazzle the world with its abundance of tourism riches.

Please note that the official opening of INDABA 2017 will now take place at 10h00 on Tuesday 16 May, instead of at 09h00 as previously scheduled.

To learn more about the programme on offer at this year’s INDABA, visit or follow the show on Twitter @SATravelTrade, using the hashtag #Indaba2017. The INDABA app is available for download via the App Store or use this link:


For further information, contact
Thandiwe Mathibela South African Tourism:
Tel: +27 11-895-3177

Note to registered media attending INDABA 2017:
The Conversations at INDABA will take place at the following times:

  • Private and public sectors: Partnering for inclusive tourism growth on Tuesday, 16 May at 12h00 – 13h00 in the ICC Media Centre.
  • Africa’s digital evolution by Paul Midy on Tuesday, 16 May at 14h00 – 15h00 in the ICC Media Centre.
  • Pioneers at the forefront of the African continent’s growth in the arts, fashion, heritage, design and music on Wednesday, 17 May at 10h30 – 11h30 in the ICC Media Centre.
  • INDABA Bid Party wrap-up event, highlighting show statistics and previewing INDABA 2018 on Thursday, 18 May at 10h30 -11h30 in the ICC Media Centre.

To attend one of these Conversations aimed at growing Africa’s tourism sector, email

INDABA is Africa’s top tourism trade show. The show, which has been running for 37 years, attracts about 7000 delegates from Africa’s top tourism products and experiences, including the world’s top travel buyers and media. The 2017 show will run at the Durban ICC in KwaZulu-Natal from Monday 15 May (pre-conference day) to Thursday 18 May (with 16 to 18 May being the trade show dates). INDABA is organised by the national tourism authority – South African Tourism.

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