Should Indaba Become A Pan-african Show?

21st January 2013

Brian Davidson, Group Sales and Marketing Director Legacy Hotels, agrees, saying very few operators using SADC countries have business for the rest of Africa. He says the market for North and East Africa is also completely different from Southern Africa.

Others, however, feel Indaba could benefit from broadening its scope. According to Trevor Hewett, MD African Pride Tours, Indaba would, without a doubt, attract more international buyers if it became a pan-African show. He also warns, however, that there are a number of drawbacks that would need to be addressed. “It would be inherently unfair that other countries should benefit from a trade show subsidised by the SA taxpayer, hence non-South African standholders should pay a higher, non-subsidised, price,” he says.

Hewett says the additional pressure on accommodation is also a serious drawback that needs to be considered. “Durban properties already take advantage of the captive Indaba market and refuse to honour STO rates during this period. Many years ago, when Indaba was held on a rotational basis among three cities, Durban made a strong bid to become the permanent venue for Indaba. An important element of the Durban proposal was that it would not increase accommodation rates during Indaba.”

Chris McIntyre, MD Expert Africa, agrees that the provision of accommodation in Durban would be a serious issue, as the city is already struggling to supply enough good-quality hotel beds within reasonably close reach of the show. However, the advantages of turning Indaba into a pan-African show would far outweigh the disadvantages, according to McIntyre. “If it wants to grow and prosper, then there's a real opportunity for Indaba. Currently the show treats South Africa as the focus and main event while, literally, relegating the rest of the African continent to a sideshow tent. Buyers find the smallest operators in South Africa represented, while major players from the rest of Africa are absent.  I think that they are really missing a trick by not trying to make Indaba into a truly pan-African show.”

According to Danalee May from Born Free Safaris in the US, Indaba should include the whole of Africa, as it would most likely attract a great number of international buyers. “New and unique is always appealing. I look forward to an ‘All of Africa’ Indaba.”

James Westrip, Africa Collection UK, agrees and says he would welcome decent Kenya, Tanzania and other East African presence. “I can’t see a negative.”

To debate this subject and others, tune in to our free live webinar on January 28 at 14h00, sponsored by TOMSA and Maropeng, as we look into the future of trade shows. Click here to secure your place.


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