The long awaited South African tourism Indaba festival finally took place in Durban this past weekend and should be ending today. The festival where participation has been limited to Southern African countries in the past years was this time open to all of Africa. It attracted over 20 participants including Uganda which had a small stall in the exhibition centre.
The Ugandan stall might have been small compared to its regional competitors Rwanda and Kenya, but the fact is that it was there and Uganda took this opportunity to promote its tourism industry.
According to Uganda’s Minister for Tourism, Maria Mutagamba, Uganda’s budget for promoting tourism is quite small compared to the rest of the East African countries. Where Kenya and Rwanda have about US $5 million to spend on promoting tourism, Uganda has only US $300,000, so they did the best with what they have. Both the minister and Uganda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Julius Peter Moto,
are very proud of the fact that Uganda managed to showcase and present what it has to offer as a tourist destination to the rest of Africa. Hopefully these efforts will pay off with more Uganda safaris and bookings for gorilla trekking expeditions, game viewing and exploring the pearl of Africa.
Indaba Tourism and Travel festival is an annual festival organised by the South African Tourism Board. Participation was opened up to the rest of Africa this year which made for a more exciting festival with more variety. It attracted many tourism buyers and sellers from countries across Africa, mostly central, eastern and southern Africa, South Africa, Botswana, Democratic Angola, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius, Niger, Reunion Island, Madagascar, Rwanda, , Swaziland, Tanzania, Egypt, Uganda, Zambia and. Benin were all represented at the tourism festival.
Tourism buyers present included: the Amalinda Collection, Tourvest, Seasons in Africa, Mantis Management and many more. There were over 390 exhibitors at the festival showcasing various tourism aspects of their home countries, TripAdvisor and Expedia were some of the exhibitors present. Indaba is definitely a place where Africa meets to celebrate and do business together; tourism business in this case.
Minister Maria Mutagamba hopes that Uganda will have more funds to promote its tourism more effectively and intensively in the next few years.
The festival should be ending this evening. We hope the promotion and marketing and the festivities bear fruit for all those that participated in Indaba 2014.