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Indaba 2015 focuses on empowering SMEs

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South Africa’s largest trade show, Indaba 2015, held from May 9-11, 2015 hosted 299 buyers from key markets- Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Of those buyers 285 are from outside South Africa and other 14 are South African buyers. Over 10,000 meetings have been confirmed for the show. There is a strategic partnership between South African Tourism, Fair Trade Enterprise Partnership (FTT), and Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) to empower small businesses with skills needed to engage buyers at Indaba 2015.

At the inaugural ceremony, Derek Hanekom, national minister of tourism, South Africa informed, “Even though over the years Indaba has evolved as the biggest trade show in Africa, we will be announcing measures to make Indaba more competitive. We will be issuing co- proposal bids for prospective partners with a global reach to work with us.” He also added that over the last two decades the tourism sector has outstripped growth compared to other sectors. Even though 2014 was a difficult year for tourism worldwide and South Africa, yet tourist arrivals grew by 6.6 per cent and further continue to grow. “We have 1.4million people employed in the tourism sector and are looking at 10 per cent contribution to GDP,” mentioned Hanekom.

Indaba 2015 has participation of 20 African countries apart from South Africa. “Among the 10 million visitors that we get annually, seven million are from African countries. We need to continue growing inclusively and develop responsible and sustainable tourism for growth. For tourism promotion in this financial year the government has allocated 1.6 billion rand.” he opined.

Thulani Nzima, CEO, South African Tourism said, “We have been successful as a safari destination. But now we are also looking at focusing on culture and heritage, lifestyle and music aspects. To succeed further, we have to acknowledge that we are part of the African continent. Our challenge is to upskill the rest of Africa and wherever possible share resources, focus on capacity building. Buyers are now looking for continental products before they look for provincial products. We are working on providing seamless travel and ease visa regulations.”

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