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Indaba: KZN Tourism entrepreneurs set to showcase province's rich culture Indaba: KZN Tourism entrepreneurs set to showcase province's rich culture

As thousands of delegates attending Africa's Travel Indaba (ATI) 2024 descend on Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, emerging tourism entrepreneurs participating in the event are set to showcase their businesses and the province's rich culture and history.

The Travel Indaba, which kicks off from 13 to 16 May 2024 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), brings together exhibitors from various African nations and buyers worldwide to showcase a collection of products from across the African tourism sector.

The event also emphasises capacity building and knowledge sharing, benefiting all attendees, including smaller and emerging businesses in the industry.

The Travel Indaba is expected to be attended by delegates from 26 African countries, including 120 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Among the KZN entrepreneur exhibitors is Nkosikhona Ndlovu, the man behind Amangonyama Tour Operator, a 100% Black-owned company in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Ndlovu said his aim is to deliver safety, education, and unforgettable experiences for his clients attending the Indaba.

"For me, Africa's Travel Indaba is a huge opportunity to showcase what we offer and to engage with potential buyers from across Africa. I am hoping to make valuable connections and secure future business opportunities," Ndlovu said.

Entrepreneur Msizeni Mngadi, who is the owner of Indlondlo Cultural Village in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, said he is passionate about introducing visitors to the Zulu culture.

Mngadi noted that Indlondlo Cultural Village is not just a destination, but a portal into the heart and soul of the Zulu people.

"Here, visitors have the opportunity to delve into the essence of Zulu tradition through guided tours of traditional homesteads, captivating displays of dance and drumming, and interactive activities that allow for a hands-on exploration of Zulu customs," Ndlovu said.

Danica Bartho, who owns Biweda Nguni Lodge and Tandweni Villa with her mother in the heart of Zululand, Northern KZN, said they are eager to showcase their projects to the world at ATI 2024.

Biweda Nguni Lodge offers a blend of comfort and affordability, with farmhouse charm, while Tandweni Villa offers a luxurious safari experience.

With a focus on empowerment and skill development, Bartho and her team provide a safe haven for previously disadvantaged women to flourish within the tourism industry.

"This [ATI] is not just about business, it is about forging connections, sharing stories, and opening doors to new opportunities and continuing our commitment to empowering women and promoting sustainable tourism," Bartho said.

The ATI event kicks off with the Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on 13 May 2024.

BONDay is tailored to foster thought leadership and share global tourism insights under four streams: unlimited, discover, connect, and grow.

The day is crucial for advancing knowledge and exploring new opportunities in the tourism sector, offering invaluable networking opportunities, thought leadership discussions, and insights into global trends.

Welcoming Africa's Travel Indaba back to the province, KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs MEC, Siboniso Duma, said Africa's Travel Indaba plays a significant role in KwaZulu-Natal tourism growth and has an immeasurable impact on the province's economy.

"Again, this year, we will have several emerging tourism entrepreneurs participating as part of the Tourism KZN Tourism Enterprise Development Programme to afford them an opportunity to showcase their businesses and lock business deals to help them grow in the sector," Duma said.

EThekwini Municipality Economic Development and Planning Committee Chairperson, Thembo Ntuli, emphasised the significance of the indaba for Durban, saying it is an instrumental platform for the tourism industry, which is firmly on the road to recovery.

"The show has become synonymous with the city of Durban, as we have hosted this critical tourism showcase over many years. The city's economy will benefit immensely from hosting this three-day long trade showcase as hotel occupancy is expected to be between 85% and 95%.

"In addition, local tourism products and community tourism organisations are ready and eager to engage with buyers, tour operators, and travel agencies to continue selling Durban as the destination of choice," Ntuli said.

The 2023 edition witnessed remarkable growth, with a nearly 62% increase in attendance and over 1 033 exhibiting companies, attracting 8 688 delegates from 22 countries, and contributed R451 546 283 to eThekwini's GDP and R597 051 772 to KwaZulu-Natal, underscoring the event's significance.

Source: allAfrica.com