Guest article by Jackson Oboth
South Africa’s INDABA, concluded in May was no doubt Africa’s Top Travel Show that enjoyed great participation from 20 countries from around the African continent. Officials from South African Tourism say the level of connectivity between buyers and exhibiters vastly improved over the previous year. More interestingly, the Online Diary and Match Making System was a key driver in improving the quality of the INDABA 2015 experience for exhibitors and buyers.
Many Ugandans participated in the Festival for varied reasons. Some were looking for business opportunities, others for tourism purposes while there were also those who participated to showcase their creations to the world.
As for Gaetano Kagwa, former Ugandan Big Brother Housemate and a Radio personality, he participated in the 2015 Indaba for Tourism purpose, courtesy of South African Tourism. From his observation, Kagwa says Uganda has a lot to learn from South Africa in the quest to boost local Tourism.
Talking about the planning of the INDABA, Gaetano said; “The investment that South African Tourism made in upgrading the Online Diary and Match Making system was acknowledged by exhibitors, particularly those representing four and five star accommodation. They acknowledged the better access to quality hosted buyers and this is something quite unique”.
According to Gaetano, It was apparent that INDABA 2015 delivered value to the exhibitors. “I particularly loved my experience and found it a very positive leisure experience. But there was also great networking and team building experience for the Business communities across the globe. I will never forget the Calypso Dive at UShaka Marine World, Jump at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Beach horse riding and the visit to the Nelson Mandela Capture site in Howick. These were breath taking moments”
Andrew Seguya, Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Wildlife Authority who was one of those who participated in the INDABA SHOW said: “We have found INDABA 2015 extremely valuable. Whereas other trade shows sell the whole world, INDABA is selling Africa. We will return next year.”
Addressing journalists in Kampala after the INDABA show, South African Tourism Regional Director for Africa Ms. Evelyn Mahlaba said planning for INDABA 2015 put exhibitors at the heart of the show adding that INDABA is not just another place to do business; it is the embodiment of the African spirit, where Ubuntu connects delegates from all corners of the globe.”
On his part, the Executive Director Uganda Tourism Board, Mr. Stephen Asiimwe whose stall was voted the best Exhibitor for the INDABA 2015 said South Africa has opened its doors through which Uganda can pick positive lessons to develop local tourism.
According to Asiimwe, Uganda is fast becoming a key market for East and Southern African countries. Boasting a very high growth rate and healthy increases in foreign direct investments adding that the discovery of oil and infrastructure projects are also added bonuses.
Asiimwe who was flanked by Mahlaba, told journalists in Kampala that; “INDABA was a huge market place for the whole of Africa and beyond to gain from. It is now up to us to exploit the opportunities we encountered at INDABA 2015 show”.