ON May 5, SAA flew a group of local travel agents to attend Africa’s biggest travel expo, the Indaba in Durban, South Africa.
The Indaba has been running for 19 years as an initiative to showcase Southern African tourism p
roducts and services for the international travel trade.
Exhibitors from all of South Africa’s provinces and neighbouring states were housed in the Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC), the International Convention Centre (ICC) and the peripheral outside areas. The exhibitor categories are accommodation, tour operators, game lodges, transport, online travel, media publications and industry associations. The outside exhibitors include camping and safari companies.
This year’s Indaba-which ran from May 6-9 saw over 10 600 participants, with almost 600 media — both local and international — providing extensive coverage through radio, television, newspaper and dedicated travel publications worldwide.
Indaba 2006 was officially opened by South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who congratulated all stakeholders for working together to uplift tourism in the region. South African Airways’ stations across Africa, brought in travel agents from their respective countries. Some were rewarded during SAA’s Travel and Tourism Awards Breakfast where SAA’s general manager (global sales, marketing, voyager and communications), Molebatsi Moagi acknowledged the importance of growing partnerships as key to the success of any business.
“We will continue to build on these relationships and strengthen them as well as development of new ones for the future so that tourism to South Africa grows and in turn our economies in Southern Africa,” he added.
Moagi emphasised the importance of SAA’s recent joining of the Star Alliance airline network as an opportunity to grow its already high status on the international arena.
South African Airways made history on April 10 this year by becoming the first African airline to join Star Alliance-a membership airline network-as its 18th member. Swissair joined Star Alliance on the 17th of the same month.
With immediate effect, customers travelling on flights operated by SAA will benefit from all the advantages which the members of the alliance offers. These include amongst others, a network of more than 15 500 daily flights serving 152 countries, through check-in, mileage redemption and collection and access to more than 600 lounges.
SAA also announced some key international appointments including the promotion of Zimbabwean Aaron Munetsi, formerly Nigeria’s country manager, to East Africa regional manager based in Nairobi, Kenya. Munetsi, has been with SAA for over 15 years and is one of the original initiators of Indaba in the mid-1980s.
The Zimbabwe stand was bright and very noticeable under the theme “GotoVictoriafalls.com” — a brave and spirited attempt to lure back international visitors to the Zimbabwe side of the Vic Falls. It was run by industry protagonists like Zimsun’s Shingi Munyeza, RTG’s Chipo Mutasa, Meikles’ Sibo Gumpo, ZTA’s Givemore Chidzidzi and many others in the bright yellow shirts. — Own Correspondent.