19 May 2017

Africa: Indaba 2017 Showcases the Best of African Tourism

The annual tourism exhibtion plays host to more than 20 African countries seeking to endorse the natural beauty and culture they have to offer international visitors.

Africa's premier tourism trade show INDABA drew to a close on Thursday evening. The event has been held annually in South Africa for more than 20 years and aims to showcase a wide variety of tourism products and experiences from around the continent.

This year's show played host to more than 7,000 participants, including international government and private tour operators from Europe and the United States.

South Africa's Department of Tourism alongside the South African Tourism Board allows over 20 African countries to promote their main drawcards to leaders from both the local and global tourism industry. Exhibitors see the event as an important opportunity to benefit from the tourism trade.

Tracing our footsteps in Tanzania

Tanzania is popular with tourists for its natural wonders, including the famous Serengeti National Park and pristine beaches. The Tourism Services Manager of the Tanzanian Tourism Board, Philip Chitaunga, told DW the country draws more than a million international tourists annually because of its vast wilderness areas teeming with wildlife. But he also says the country is a place of historical importance for humanity.

"One more thing which is very good is when you talk about the evolution of human beings - we have evidence which shows the world that the first human being to walk on two feet walked in Tanzania at a place called Laetoli in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area."

A vital industry in Malawi

Nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa", Malawi is one of the smallest landlocked countries on the continent and is renowned for its geographical diversity, with hikers often drawn to the Zomba Plateau and Mount Mulanje.

The Deputy Director of the Malawi Department of Tourism, Sosten Lingwealanya, told DW that tourism plays a major role in supporting the population - especially those who live in rural areas.

"Any dollar spent in a rural setting has a lot of spin off effects in employment. It creates opportunities for local communities to sell their produce to hotels."

Swaziland's traditional culture a drawcard

Tourists travelling to the Southern African kingdom of Swaziland are more likely to be exposed to its unique culture and traditions. Like Malawi, Swazliand is small and landlocked; surrounded by Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa on all sides. But the tiny country with a population of just over one million people also attracts one million tourists annually - mostly from South Africa and Europe. So what draws them there?

"You know we are in this unique position where we are among the only three last kingdoms in Africa," Marketing Manager for the Swaziland Tourism Board Bongani Dlamini told DW.

"We have a vibrant culture that is centered around our kinship which is our unique selling proposition," he said. The Umhlanga, or Reed Dance ceremony held every year is just one of Swaziland's most well-known events which draws the interest of outsiders.

"But apart from the culture we also have adventure, we also have wildlife viewing," said Dlamini, "The small size of our country enables the people who visit our game parks to have encounters with our animals. It is a beautiful place to be."


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