Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called for a greater collaboration between African countries to advance tourism on the continent, and ensure a better market for African products to the rest of the world. She made the call during the Africa Travel Indaba 2022 while delivering her keynote address. The indaba has returned after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ended on Wednesday.
Over 539 buyers from across the globe descended on Durban. They were exposed to hundreds of tourism businesses and products from across Africa, including many from small businesses, which also had the opportunity to showcase their products to a wider international audience. Sisulu said that the indaba was a springboard that could boost the continent’s tourism sector’s recovery from the pandemic.
“We are here because we have a collective responsibility to achieve even greater levels of recovery,” she said.“The tourism sector has been among the hardest hit, yet (it) has led to economic recovery and brought us together again. “We are here because we have a collective responsibility to reignite the African continent’s tourism growth and economy. As a sector, we are here to cement our partnerships and collaborations, (and) it can only be to our benefit that we are a sector committed to sharing ideas and knowledge, in a bid to ensure that we advance our tourism sector recovery plan,” the minister said.
The Sustainability Village, which creates market access for SMMEs, was also present at the indaba. It gives SMMEs a platform to showcase their products. South African Tourism acting CEO Themba Khumalo said that the platform was a glimpse into the unique goods that were produced by the country’s small business sector. Entrepreneur Gugu Bhengu, who is the founder of Gugu Mobile, was one of the small business owners who displayed her products at the conference.
Her company manufactures products such as lampshades, placemats and shoes. Speaking at the event, she said that she was proud of the training that her company had provided to six entrepreneurs from various communities. “We teach them how to produce marketable products and make sure they can earn a living for themselves and their families,” she said. Sisulu said she was confident that many mutually-beneficial business deals be agreed upon following the indaba.