Our owner and manager, Colin Dilland, recently attended the annual Durban Indaba Travel Show 2017. Hosted in South Africa, Indaba is one of the biggest annual tourism marketing events in Africa. The show boasts the largest variety of Southern and Eastern Africa’s best tourism products and attracts a host of international buyers and media from all around the globe. Indaba is owned by South African Tourism and was presented the award for “Africa’s Best Travel and Tourism Show” by the Association of World Travel Awards. This is what Colin had to say about his trip:
Last week I spent a few exciting, informative days in Durban attending the Indaba Travel Show. As per usual, it was a fantastic experience. This year, however, was particularly exciting because South Africa Tourism have been hosting regional workshops with small-scale operators to allow the most promising to exhibit at the show. As a result, there were some absolute gems that I was lucky enough to meet with.
Sundowner Adventures has a fantastic fly-fishing programme which we are looking forward to marketing through our partners, Go Active Travel, in the U.K. Roof of Africa Tours offers epic 4×4 overland through Lesotho, as well as guided hiking trails. Antbear Lodge in the Drakensberg has a unique Luxury Cave Room, with decorative Bushman paintings on the walls and hand-crafted furniture.
We now have a great partner in Madagascar, Dodo Travel and Tours, who I met at the travel show. The travel company is run by a French couple who went to Madagascar 22 years ago and fell in love with the country. They started organising trips for friends and family, and soon found themselves as tour operators. This sounds like a very familiar story…
I met with Idube Game Reserve, which is one of my favourite safari lodges in Sabi Sands. The lodge is undergoing a complete renovation, so I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more about the developments. Maybe I can use it as an excuse to go on another site inspection!
I also saw Sanbona Game Reserve and Jock Safari Lodge, who were bought by the Caleo Foundation around 18 months ago. This purchase was set up by Carmen Ellinger, a repeat guest at Sanbona who loved the lodge so much that she bought it. Conservation is at the forefront of the game reserve, and they are busy reintroducing Cape Zebras back into the reserve for the first time in 150 years. A little later she also bought Jock Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park, which is another of my favourite lodges.
The work that our friends over at Imvelo Safari Lodges do never ceases to amaze me. Among their various community efforts, they are now sponsoring yet another local school. They are also busy refurbishing railway carriages which will allow guests to travel from Victoria Falls to Hwange by luxury train.
Finally, I went to see Shongololo Express, which was attached to the Rovos Rail train that the railway company brought along to Indaba. I walked the length of the train and actually had to get off to check which carriage was the Shongololo one as it was almost impossible to tell them apart! I asked our host, Damian, how the food on both trains differ, but he said the chefs are all from Rovos and they don’t know how to prepare three-star food! The biggest problem we have found with Shongololo is a lack of availability. It is already almost full for this year, but we are thankfully holding allocations for next year.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things to happen at Indaba 2017 was the launching of South African Tourism’s latest initiative. The #WeDoTourism movement was launched by the Tourism Minister, Tokozile Xasa. The initiative aims to get every South African to contribute to and grow the tourism industry, allowing ordinary citizens to have a vital role in selling the country to international tourists while also enjoying it themselves. Read more about the initiative here.
After an educational few days in Durban, I came back home feeling inspired! I look forward to dealing with the new suppliers that I met with, as well as seeing the new developments that some of our current lodges are working on. So let us know when you’re ready to start planning your next trip, because We Do Tourism!
This blog post was written by Colin Dilland.