KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala is thrilled that the province of KwaZulu-Natal rolled a red carpet for yet another gathering of the annual Tourism Indaba which converge 7000 delegates and pumped in millions in revenue.

This year’s exhibition showcased a total number of 1023 exhibitors and of these, 257 exhibitors are from other African countries.
This continental premier tourism and travel show has become a pilgrimage for many stakeholders in the tourism industry inclusive of exhibitors, travel agents, tour operators, airline representatives and of course members of the media community.

“This is because it serves as a platform to sample various tourism products that this region and the Province of KwaZulu-Natal could offer to the world,” said Zikalala.

“Our call for KwaZulu-Natal and the coastal City of Durban to become the permanent seat for this mega event is influenced by a combination of factors. We are blessed with a plethora of tourism attractions that are ideal retreats for the thousands that graced this travel and tourism show. Besides the province’s exceptional natural and topographic splendor, we also boast a tapestry of cultural heritage peppered with the African, European and Asian experiences, “ said Zikalala.

“The Province of KwaZulu-Natal is fast becoming one of the world’s aviation hubs as we are currently developing an airport inspired urban precinct, the aerotropolis on the north of Durban, which is anchored by King Shaka International Airport that continues to attract world renowned airlines. With the Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines conducting direct flights to this brand new airport, last year we welcome another giant airline, the British Airways that now flies directly from Heathrow Airport. The airline has acknowledged King Shaka International’s growth prospects to become a popular travel destination for both tourists and trading community

“It is therefore crucial that African states work closely in consolidating and strengthening Indaba as their proud avenue to host the world and be able to market their diverse tourism products and to attract investments essential in repelling poverty and other socio-economic challenges, “ said Zikalala.

Certainly, KwaZulu-Natal wants to become the leading tourism destination on the continent which is reflected in the province’s master plan which calls for, amongst other things, the development of new tourism products and attractions that would guarantee increased volumes of big spending international visitors while also capitalising on the province’s lion’s share of the domestic market.

The province intends growing tourism contribution to its economy to reach between R65 billion and R98 billion in the very near future that would result in the generation of not less than 183 000 job opportunities for the people.