Acting CEO of South Africa Tourism (SAT), Themba Khumalo is impressing upon the tourism fraternity on the continent to show support and solidarity for the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province which has been battered by floods that have taken away scores of lives and destroyed properties and livelihoods.
The city of Durban within the province will host this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba from May 2-5 and the CEO believes participants can rally around the event to demonstrate solidarity.
Speaking to Kojo Bentum-Williams on the VA Tourism Podcast, Themba Khumalo opined that the power of tourism can be harnessed to bring much needed recovery to the economy of KZN.
“KwaZulu-Natal and the City of Durban and the tourism sector need us; they need our economic injection back into the city. By our physical presence, bringing our spend into the city, so that the businesses that have been affected can recover economically.
“The greatest tribute, the greatest solidarity, the greatest support we can demonstrate is not through our absence but through our increased presence. Showing the biggest, best and the most comprehensive Africa’s Travel Indaba is the biggest vote and gesture of solidarity that we can actually show,” the SAT CEO insisted.
Reemphasizing the point that the event will go on as planned, Khumalo said preparations had been well made in advance for which reason there would be no disruptions whatsoever to Africa’s Travel Indaba.
He shared, “Let me say this and very clearly, we are hosting Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 on the 2nd to 5th of May. That’s our focus and it is going ahead.”
To further deepen the support, Themba Khumalo is urging exhibitors and buyers to opt for the in-person option of this year’s event.
“I’d like to urge every buyer, every exhibitor, that had committed to be there physically to continue to do so. I’d like to also urge those that had not decided whether to go virtual or physical to make the commitment to come in physically.
“And I’d also urge those that have decided to join virtually to reconsider and say that in a time such as this, we need to be present for one another as a sector. We would do the same around the world and ensure that where there are challenges, we’d inject our presence and economic commitment in order for the sector to recover,” he entreated.
By: Samuel Obeng Appah