Indaba 2017 report back

SATSA negotiated a great opportunity to provide cost-effective, shared exhibition space within the ICC at this year’s Indaba. Members were able to buy a table top stand on the SATSA stand for R13,000. We would like to sincerely thank South African Tourism for the opportunity to extend this option to our members and look forward to expanding this option for members into a sizable “SATSA Village” next year.

The stand worked well for our exhibitors, which ranged from adventure activity providers through to game lodges and tour operators. A big thank you to the members who made this a great success!

The broad consensus from our members was that the show was generally good; meetings were productive with a good range of quality buyers attending the show. However, they felt there was room for improvement, particularly in terms of re-attracting the suppliers that opted not to attend Indaba this year and being more discerning in terms of those allowed to exhibit.

Below is some of the feedback received from our members who shared space on the SATSA stand:

Craig van Rooyen, Tour d’Afrique – “I think that SA Tourism did a good job of bringing new international buyers to the event and that was very positive.

However, there are still not enough of the traditional accommodation suppliers that used to attend Indaba and thus, the buyers that attended were not exposed to the great variety of product South Africa has to offer.

We also need to a have a clear segmentation of countries exhibiting, as I find buyers getting lost and running around to try and make their appointments. I still think we should have all countries showcased in specific areas around the ICC.

My opinion is that the jury is still out on whether Indaba will retain its status in the long term, if we do not get more product to attend, the buyers will eventually not attend as they are mainly there to meet suppliers.”

Charmaine Beukes, White Shark Projects – “The question many exhibitors have been struggling with for a couple of years now is ‘should we or should we not be at Indaba’? Upon returning from the annual Durban pilgrimage this year, I knew the answer was YES, you should be there – even if you do not source new business, reinforcing relationships with current agents is as important as finding new ones; be this a quick visit at your stand, or sharing a moment at a networking function.

Although I echo the opinion that Indaba was quieter this year, with lots of visibly underutilised space in the ICC. I did feel that we had a better quality visitor – not even one tried to sell me advertising space! A solution for the online diary has yet to be found, but we did feel visitors honoured meetings more than in the past. All buyers I met with had a thorough destination knowledge and were eager to learn more about the unique product offerings. The SMME pavilion was a great initiative, and I met some amazing passionate people! I hope they will receive ongoing guidance and mentorship to reach their full potential within the tourism industry.

For a smaller enterprise like White Shark Projects, this year’s SATSA sharing stand provided the perfect solution. An extremely cost-effective option, the stand layout was inviting and had enough room for people to move around.

The question is not really can you afford to be there, but can you afford not to!”

Dean Cherry, Nhongo Safaris – “We at Nhongo Safaris found the Indaba to be relatively good for us. This is due to a lot of work put in beforehand to really use the opportunity to network.

Visitor numbers were down this year, with the noticeable staying away of some of the major players in the tourism market.

It is a bit early to give feedback of business received, as that normally will take up to six months or more to see, but we had good appointments.

In terms of stalls selling things, I don’t think Indaba is the place for this. Also, what is the purpose of having municipalities at Indaba?

I do not think that Durban should host the Indaba for another five years. It is old, people are tired of Durban, and when walking into the ICC, we think ‘here we are back again, at the same old thing’. If SA Tourism wants to rejuvenate Indaba, give it a new venue and start something fresh.”

Part of our partnership with South African Tourism also saw SATSA hosting a SME Market Access Speed Networking event just prior to the start of the show on 15 May. This was the culmination of the six-month SME Market Access Programme and was a huge success, with 45 members of the established tourism trade showing great interest in the 90 small emerging businesses who took part. The feedback we received was fantastic and the project has drawn huge interest from across the board.

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