Limpopo Tourism Products Benefit From 2014 Tourism Indaba

May 12, 2014

Durban-The 2014 installment of Tourism Indaba has displayed growth by opening the doors to the entire African continent for the first time in its history. As the biggest Travel and Trade show in Africa and one of the top 3 must-attend events of its own kind in the whole world, Indaba continues to attract high volumes of people from various sectors in the tourism sector, including buyers, tour operators, exhibitors, tourism authorities, Provincial Departments, municipalities, etc.

Limpopo's delegation to this all important travel and trade show was led by the Chairperson of the Board, Mr. Mashilo Matsetela. The Head of Department (HoD) of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), Mr. Solly Kgopong, and Acting CEO of Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA), Ms. Seipati Tlaka, were also in attendance. Limpopo exhibitors comprised eight (8) SMME's, two (2) partners (Amarula Lapa and Transfrontier Destinations).

Almost all the exhibitors are happy and some indicated that they were looking forward to clinching deals thereby growing their businesses which will translate into tourism growth in the province. Mr. Bruce Nobela of Nhlamulo Destinations, who also represented Polokwane Tourism Association, expressed his satisfaction about several engagements he had with his counterparts beyond South Africa including Mozambique.

"I am confident about the business prospects for Nhlamulo Destinations and want to see it having a branch in Maputo. With the positive engagements I had with my counterparts in Mozambique, the sky is the limit." Ms Ziska Haak of Pele Pele Travel and Marketing that promotes Limpopo Golf and Safari Route also echoed the same sentiments about positive meetings their organization had.

The Acting CEO of LTA, Ms. Seipati Tlaka, said' "I am excited to see several municipalities at Indaba because every tourism development takes place in the municipality. Our tourism strategy emphasizes the partnerships with municipalities for them to take tourism matters seriously but also to support and facilitate tourism development in their jurisdiction. For the first time municipalities have also housed some exhibitors in their stands and we are optimistic that this partnership will be of benefit to all of us as tourism role players in the province. I am confident that all our exhibitors will reap benefits out of the 2014 Tourism Indaba."

Limpopo stand was once again a centre of attraction as most people wanted to see the golden Rhino, which depicts the wealth of the ancient city of Mapungubwe in South Africa. The stand resonated with the theme of the province which promotes special interest features such as avian tourism as Limpopo attracts more bird species than any province in the country with Nylsvley Nature Reserve being the most prolific flood plain in the country, hence the reserve was declared the UNESCO RAMSAR Site. Other aspects in this cluster include, sports tourism with activities such as cycling and adventure activities like 4x4 eco trails.

In comparing the state of tourism now with how things were back in 1994, when the country held its first democratic elections, the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, said: "By 1994, 20 years ago, total international arrivals, including tourist arrivals, stood at a mere 3,5 million. During our two decades of democracy, these arrivals have grown by more than 300% to reach nearly 15 million last year, 9,6 million of which were tourist arrivals. The story of 20 years of tourism since 1994 is a remarkable one indeed."

The Minister welcomed and acknowledged government representatives from Angola, Benin, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Namibia, Senegal, Saychelles, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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