By Silence Mugadzaweta
Africa’s biggest tourism marketing event, Africa’s Travel Indaba, returns today after a two-year COVID-19-induced break.
COVID-19 has significantly affected the tourism sector globally, leaving destination’s organisations and communities distressed due to loss of jobs and revenue.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is representing Zimbabwe at the indaba taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre and Durban Exhibition Centre in Durban, South Africa, running from today to Thursday.
The trade show is expected to bring the continent’s finest tourism products and experiences under one roof for the world to experience with over 539 buyers and 19 000 meetings having been confirmed.
According to the National Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), tourism accounted for 4,25% of the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, providing US$1,03 billion.
“Tourism in Zimbabwe has been significantly, impacted by the (COVID-19) pandemic, with the introduction of travel restrictions and lower demand from tourists leading to a massive fall in visitors. The loss to the national economy is estimated at US$690 million,” TSA said.
In a statement, South African Tourism acting chief executive Themba Khumalo said the number of exhibitors and buyers, who have shown interest, reveal restored hope in Africa’s tourism, especially after the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The programme is filled with opportunities to provide invaluable outcomes for all the delegates, from the business talks focusing on a plethora of tourism-related topics for the advancement of the sector, to the speed marketing sessions aimed at showcasing an array of small businesses from across South Africa. The programme also provides ample networking opportunities,” Khumalo said.