FIFA 2010 fever bolsters Indaba in Durban despite downturn
DESPITE the global economic downturn, Africa’s biggest annual travel trade show, Indaba, is expecting nothing less than “achieving at least last year’s record figures of more than 12 000 participating delegates” at this year’s event in Durban.
This is the word from South African Tourism’s chief marketing officer, Roshene Singh, ahead of Indaba 2009 which is set to begin in just over a week at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex.
Singh said even in the wake of the negative impact of the international financial crisis on the global tourism industry, SA Tourism, as the custodian of Indaba, has set its sights firmly on 2010 and other major events in the country.
These include the current money-spinning windfall of hosting the Indian Premier League, in addition to the coming British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa,the 2009 Confederations Cup, the International Cricket Council’s Champion’s Trophy and the huge 2010 World Cup bonanza.
“Indaba 2009 – from May 8-12 – is going to have a distinct football and 2010 theme and Durban will resonate with the sound of vuvuzelas and cheering crowds. We are using this major platform of the continent’s biggest travel trade show to show the world that we are ready for the 2010 World Cup and all the visitors that are set to descend on our beautiful and vibrant country.
“We are saying that it’s time to come to South Africa and get ready to celebrate 2010… to experience the passion and enthusiasm of our country’s people during what is going to be a spectacular event never before held on the African continent,” said Singh.
“Numerous 2010-related events and activities are planned during this year’s five-day Indaba. The undoubted highlight will be SA Tourism’s launch of its 2010 World Cup campaign that markets the event to the world and also ignites South Africans’ passion for the game and their country. Indaba delegates will be the first to see the key advert for 2010 that will be flighted for the first time during Indaba’s opening ceremony on May 9. This will then be flighted in South Africa and across the world in the run-up to 2010,” she said.
“Key personnel of all the host cities for 2010 will be present at Indaba – together with leaders from the 2010 local organising committee, Fifa and its partners such as Match, SA Tourism, provincial and local tourism agencies, and government… As Indaba hosts, Durban is in the great position of taking advantage of the event with, for example, a tour planned for journalists to the city’s iconic new stadium.
“Among the other 2010-themed highlights will be a virtual soccer experience at the Durban ICC with a pitch where 2010 Fifa ambassadors will play ‘action football’ matches. Other 2010 host cities have also planned events and briefings on the upcoming Fifa Confederations Cup and World Cup,” added Singh.
She said with just more than a week to go to Indaba 2009, attendance numbers were looking very promising. “While the economic downturn is having an impact with some sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry showing declining attendance this year, the event and our industry in South Africa are being cushioned and bolstered by our hosting of a number of major events and naturally the 2010 World Cup.
“There is unprecedented interest in South Africa because of this, which is clear in the fact that we are seeing a more than 12 percent increase in the number of journalists (more than 400) attending Indaba this year. Of these attendees more than 120 confirmed media are coming from foreign countries. We also have secured more that 1 800 exhibitors,” Singh said.
Another big event at Indaba 2009 will be the official launch of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) that measures factors that contribute to the broader economic growth of the country through tourism. The TSA is a collaborative project of Statistics South Africa, SA Tourism, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South African Reserve Bank, the Department of Home Affairs, the South African Revenue Service and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Other customary drawcard events at the trade show include the Indaba opening ceremony and big Beach Party, the Global Media Face Off, and the Welcome Awards. This is in addition to the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Awards which takes place for the first time at Indaba this year and the return of the World Travel Awards Africa Ceremony.
The popular Global Media Face Off will be moderated by CNN anchor and current affairs journalist Richard Quest. The international economic crisis and its local and global impact on the tourism industry is a key discussion point this year. The Face Off will examine the influence of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and other high-profile global events on the sector and the national economy.
Meanwhile, according to Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), the annual Indaba contributes more than R200 million to the Durban and provincial economy.
TKZN chief executive Ndabo Khoza said this year the agency had a joint partnership with Durban Tourism and the city to have a single large 2010-themed stand at Indaba.
“From national, provincial and city levels, the theme for Indaba 2009 will be football and the 2010 Fifa World Cup. This will be depicted in all elements and activities – from stand design and artwork to invites and uniforms. With the focus on 2010, we aim to showcase our readiness to host the world’s biggest sports spectacle, so it made sense to have a joint initiative with Durban as KZN’s 2010 host city,” said Khoza.
He urged the local tourism industry to leverage the opportunities out of hosting Indaba in Durban, saying: “It’s not just about the number of bed nights sold in the city but how the industry interacts with travel buyers and operators and signs deals.”