Tourism Indaba a technological success

ICC Durban

ICC Durban

Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development and Tourism Ministry has described the 2013 Tourism Indaba that concludes at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) today, as “exciting” and boasting technological savvy.

Speaking to SAnews, MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu’s spokesman Bheko Madlala said the MEC was upbeat. “All indications are that the event was a runaway success. We are quite excited that as a province we have been able to host an event of this magnitude,” Madlala said.

He said preliminary figures show that over R40 million was injected into the Durban economy by the four-day Tourism Indaba event. He revealed that Economic Development and Tourism has appointed a company to perform an economic impact study of the 2013 Tourism Indaba.

The sentiments of the department are equally shared by organisers who have also hailed the 2013 edition of Tourism Indaba as a technological success, calling it “business like” and “modern.” The total number of visitors once tallied is expected to exceed 11 000, organisers said today.

Indaba 2013 featured a number of new and exciting additions that added great value – one of these was Indaba Connect – an awesome new technology which enabled thousands of delegates to connect and exchange information electronically.

Organisers told Indaba Daily News that more than 11 000 users had been activated on the Indaba Connect, making 136 585 connections between them and sharing 14 000 documents. The technology brought significant green benefits and it was estimated that by Monday evening Indaba Connect had potentially saved 230 trees by minimising the realms of printed collateral and business cards.

Another innovation, the Indaba Matchmaking diary, proved an invaluable networking tool, with 2 744 meetings having been facilitated through this platform by late yesterday.

In another development, South Africa’s benchmark-setting integrated marketing strategy has been profiled and celebrated, with the Meet South Africa iAmbassador blogger coverage of the country reaching 55 million in one week on Twitter alone, and 15 of the world’s most followed travel and lifestyle bloggers giving the destination phenomenal, authentic endorsements and recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Heritage and Culture Pavilion, another first for Indaba, gave South Africa lifestyle, culture and heritage experiences a fresh and beautiful home. The pavilion celebrated South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the wealth of lifestyle and culture experiences that the country offers. The Heritage and Culture Pavilion, was official opened by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Indaba was also a boon for exhibitors. “We had lots of quality buyers this year, mainly from America,” said Alastair Addison of Hemingways Collections. Another exhibitor, Salad Nthenda of Malawi Tourism, said: “We were busy and we had more serious buyers than last year”.

Finally, the Indaba 2013 stand winners were named in different categories. Tour operator Tourvest Destination Management walked away with Platinum, while Gold and Silver went to Gauteng Tourism Signature Collection and Calypso Travels respectively. Transportation best stands awards went to Springbok Atlas (Platinum), Europcar (Gold) and Avis Rent a Car (Silver). Accommodation best stands were Leading Hotels of the World (Platinum), Molori Safari Lodge (Gold) and Tsogo Sun (Silver). –

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