Indaba wants more women in management

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa aims to get 30% female representation in management in the tourism sector over the next five years. WiT 30in5 was launched at Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban this week.

Indaba Durban women
Durban will host Africa’s Travel Indaba for the next five years, it is announced at the 2017 convention, running from 16-18 May in the coastal city. (Image: South African Tourism, Flickr)

Brand South Africa reporter
A campaign to increase the proportion of women in tourism management positions to 30% in the next five years was launched by Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa at Africa’s Travel Indaba, or simply Indaba as it is better known.

Called WiT 30in5, the campaign will be chaired by Judi Nwokedi, Tourvest’s chief operating officer, in a collaboration with the private sector and the national Department of Tourism, the Indaba’s newsletter confirmed.

Xasa launched WiT 30in5 at the fourth annual Women in Tourism event on Wednesday evening, 17 May 2017, held at the three-day Indaba. This campaign will target 30% female representation in executive management and board directorship positions by 2022, and is in line with the goals set out in the Tourism Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment scorecard.

tokozile xasa tourism indaba
Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa attends the Travel Indaba, held in Durban from 16-18 May 2017. (Image: Melissa Javan)

Durban to stay host city

Radio station Power FM 987 reported that 7,000 delegates from 17 African countries were showcasing their products and ideas at this year’s Indaba, held at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (Durban International Convention Centre).

Discussions at the convention included new ways of growing the sector. It was said that tourism contributed 9.3% to South Africa’s gross domestic product last year, and one in every 22 employed people in the country worked in the sector.

It was also announced that Durban would host the annual tourism indaba for the next five years.

Watch eThekwini Executive Mayor Zandile Gumede share her excitement at the news that the Indaba will be held in the city for the next five years:

“We Do Tourism” campaign launched

The We Do Tourism campaign was also launched at the Indaba.

Debbie Damant, the South African Tourism country manager for Southern Africa, said on Power FM 987 that We Do Tourism aimed to make all South Africans understand that tourism was everybody’s business. “We want to rally the entire country and the entire tourism industry to demonstrate just how far the impact of the whole value chain (of tourism) goes.

“The vendors on the pavement… the taxi drivers … all of the South Africans have such an important and critical role in the whole tourism value chain,” she said. “We want to show South Africans it’s really not just for international tourism.”

Explaining the name, We Do Tourism, Damant said: “It’s actually ‘I do tourism’, ‘you do tourism’ and we all do tourism together.”

The campaign was slightly different from the Sho’t Left campaign, which encouraged locals to take part in domestic tourism, Damant said. “We Do Tourism is owned by everybody.”

The organisation was talking to partners in the tourism industry to allow South Africans to “lay buy” travel, she said. “Locals are saying they can’t afford it (domestic travel), but we are saying it can be paid off. We need to make domestic travel affordable but also accessible.

“We want South Africans to know it is possible to travel in your own country.”

The more South Africans travelled in their country, the stronger the tourism industry was. “This means we have a stronger domestic industry and international business will be more of a bonus.”

Other highlights

The Indaba’s exhibitor’s day was held on 15 May, a day before the conference. At this, a seminar focused on issues such as trends in tourism, and South African Tourism globally.

The day was set aside for exhibitors to meet potential buyers, of which there were 306, the same number that attended in 2016. This figure was announced on the webinar Engage with SA Tourism on Indaba, held on 20 April. It also announced that there were 770 exhibitors this year, down from 886 last year.

There were three speed marketing sessions over the three days of the Indaba.

Discussion points were shared on Twitter:

The Hidden Gems programme

The Hidden Gems project was undertaken by South African Tourism and the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association. Ten small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) were chosen from each province to take part in a training programme before exhibiting at the Indaba.

Training included mastering the ability to be ready to talk to a buyer. Sisa Ntshona, chief executive officer of South African Tourism, said at the webinar that the focus was on how to get these hidden gems to graduate to mainstream tourism. “It’s about inclusive growth. We want to bring in new players.”

He encouraged other SMMEs to contact their provincial tourism authority if they wanted to stand a chance to benefit from Hidden Gems.

Entrepreneur shares his story

Lebo Malepa, one of the entrepreneurs who took part in the project, said that being unique would help to get you recognised and exposed.

Malepa started Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers in 1998 by selling crafts in the street. “Eventually I went to my parents and asked them, can I use my room to accommodate people (tourists), one room at a time, then the whole house eventually.”

Now he has three guesthouses in Soweto. He uses some of his neighbours’ houses for accommodation too. He also involved his neighbours in other things relating to his tourism business. For example, if tourists needed their washing done, he asked the women in the street to do the washing by hand.

He also encouraged his neighbours to cook for tourists; because there were different cultures on his street, they cooked diverse meals.

Watch Lebo Malepa talk about his tourism business in Soweto:

Sources: Indaba, Indaba Daily News, Department: Tourism and Power FM 987, Soundcloud.
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