- The 2024 edition generates R500m for the City's economy

The highly successful Africa Travel Indaba 2024 generated over R500 million for the City of Durban’s economy. Initial reports indicate that this year’s event hosted 9,280 registered delegates, marking a 7% increase compared to 2023. An impressive 24,000 meetings took place between exhibitors and buyers, and the event featured over 1,200 exhibitors showcasing a diverse range of African tourism products and experiences.

Themed “Unlimited Africa,” the event was officially opened by South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Honourable Patricia de Lille, and took place from May 14th to 16th, preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on May 13th.

At a wrap-up conference, Nombulelo Guliwe, CEO of South African Tourism, Phindile Makwakwa, COO of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Winile Mntungwa, Deputy Head of Durban Tourism, and John Aritho, COO of Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC), addressed the media.

"The economic activities triggered by Africa’s Travel Indaba, from event infrastructure to accommodation establishments, restaurants and shuttle services, have been far above our initial conservative projections. The direct economic impact on the city was R226 million, with a spillover effect contributing an additional R333 million. The overall contribution to the city's GDP exceeded R500 million, indicating significant economic benefits and over 1 000 jobs created, especially for the youth,” said Winile Mntungwa.

Mntungwa added that the economic benefits extended beyond the city center, positively impacting township and rural tourism businesses, such as The Silokazis, Octavia Boutique Hotel in Inanda, Max’s Lifestyle in uMlazi, and Coastal Resort in Umgababa, which hosted delegates.

Guliwe emphasized the importance of the event in showcasing African tourism products and experiences, noting a 9% increase in the number of participating African countries. “We continue to pride ourselves on delivering the best of the African continent’s tourism products and experiences and this year we cemented this position with an increase of 9% in the number of African countries participating in this trade show. This is all thanks to all our partners. The significant increase reflects the robust growth of the African tourism sector,” she stated.

She credited this growth to robust partnerships, reflecting the strong expansion of the African tourism sector. Phindile Makwakwa highlighted KwaZulu-Natal’s suitability for hosting Africa’s Travel Indaba due to its multicultural experience, historical significance, diverse tourism products, and quality venues. She expressed anticipation for an even bigger and better Indaba in 2025 and advocated for Durban to become the permanent home of the event, citing the successful partnership between South African Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the City of Durban, and the Durban ICC.

John Aritho stressed the ICC’s commitment to ensuring the trade show contributes sustainably to the local economy by involving students from Durban University of Technology and local chefs, providing them with training and opportunities. Nationally, the Department of Tourism funded 120 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), with all South African provinces supporting various SMMEs, offering them access to international buyers attending the trade show.

At the press conference, all parties thanked the media for their extensive coverage, highlighting the important role the media play in sharing the story of an “Unlimited Africa.” The success of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 underscores its crucial role in economic growth, job creation, and showcasing the best of African tourism.