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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Eswatini Shines at Africa’s Travel Indaba: A Kingdom Ready to Welcome the World

Eswatini made a grand impression at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba, the continent’s leading travel trade show. Africa’s Travel Indaba plays a crucial role in promoting and developing Africa’s tourism sector as it fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing and market access, ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation across the continent. Eswatini’s DEC 2 Stand No: HO1 buzzed with vibrant energy, showcasing the wonders the Kingdom has to offer.

About Africa’s Travel Indaba

Africa’s Travel Indaba is a premier tourism trade show held annually at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC), widely considered one of the top three “must-visit” events of its kind globally. It serves as a crucial platform for exhibitors from across Africa, including national tourism boards, regional authorities, accommodation providers, tour operators, and travel companies, come together to showcase the vast array of tourism experiences Africa offers. This includes everything from wildlife safaris and pristine beaches to vibrant cultures and historical landmarks. The event brings together international and local buyers, such as travel agents, tour operators, and media representatives, with African tourism suppliers. This facilitates business-to-business interactions, negotiation of travel packages, and the creation of new partnerships within the African tourism industry.

This year was no different as ETA and captains of the Eswatini tourism industry were all ready and set for Africa’s Travel Indaba. According to initial indications, this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba hosted over ninety thousand (9, 000) registered delegates marking and incredible 7% increase compared to 2023. No less than twenty for thousand (24, 000) meetings were held between exhibitors and buys. Additionally, the event featured over one thousand two hundred (1,200) exhibitors who displayed an impressive array of African tourism products and experiences from 26 countries. The Eswatini delegation was led by the Minister for Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Honourable Jane Mkhonta-Simelane and the ETA CEO Mr. Vusie Dlamini. The Indaba was scheduled from 14 to 16 May 2024.

A Beacon of Warmth and Hospitality

Eswatini’s stand served as a beacon of Swazi warmth and hospitality. The décor embodied the country’s natural beauty, featuring rich cultural elements and stunning visuals that transported visitors to the heart of Eswatini. From traditional Swazi crafts to life-sized photographs of sprawling wildlife and Mantenga cultural dances, the stand aimed to immerse attendees in the unique Swazi experience.

Day 1- The Official opening Ceremony

Eswatini attended the colourful official opening ceremony through the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Honourable Jane Mkhonta-Simelane and ETA CEO, Vusie Dlamini attended the colourful Africa’s Tourism Indaba 2024 Official Opening ceremony. The event was graced by the Minister of Tourism in South Africa, Honourable Patricia De Lille, Deputy Minister Honourable Fish Mahlalela, Premier of Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, Ms. Nomusa Dube-Ncube, CEO of South African Tourism Nombulelo Guliwe amongst other Tourism officials. The event which showcased local artists musical and dance performances, was hosted at the Durban ICC – International Convention Centre As part of the Indaba.

Honourable Minister Patricia De Lille ‘rang the bell’, symbolising the opening of the trade floor at this year’s Africa’s Travel Indaba. Later in the afternoon, the South African Minister of Tourism visited the Eswatini stand and was welcomed by her counterpart, Honourable Jane Mkhonta-Simelane, the ETA CEO and captains of the industry. The Eswatini Team looked stunning clad in their traditional attire emahiya sponsored by the Eswatini Ministry of Home Affairs.

Also, on the evening of the official opening ceremony, Eswatini Minister, ETA CEO and Ministry officials attended Eswatini attended Africa Tourism Indaba session held Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel. The Tourism Dialogue, under the theme “Air connectivity: a catalyst for Tourism Development in Africa” aimed to provide a platform for African Tourism Ministers, policy makers, stakeholders and experts from the tourism sector and air travel industry to share ideas on the role of tourism on the African continent and to discuss expanding air access into and across African skies. The main conversation of the night was on how the African continent can collaborate to create direct routes between African countries as well as reduce travelling costs with African countries to increase tourism numbers in our region.

Day 2- Eswatini Air Day

Still in a celebratory mood, the second day was as clear as day and happy skies setting the feel at the Eswatini stand at Africa’s Travel Indaba. This was the perfect day for a flight anywhere your heart desires. Eswatini Air shared its happy first year anniversary spirit during this year’s Indaba. The Eswatini Team were dressed in white Eswatini Air sponsored T-shirts, proving the collaboration and coopeting of the tourism industry in ensuring Eswatini remains the preferred destination.

Also on the second day, the Triland CEOs had a meet and greet to discuss all matters related to Triland with various stakeholders. The ETA CEO Mr Vusie Dlamini met Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) Mr. Mduduzi Vilakazi and the Mozambican Tourism Authority (INATUR) and Director General Mr Richard Levichen A. Baulene. Triland is an initiative entered into between ETA, MTPA & INATUR with the aim to promote the region as a tourist, trade and investment destination. The MoU was signed during Africa Travel Indaba in May 2022 signaling the start of the collaboration.

Day 3- MTN Bushfire Luncheon

Since Eswatini is renowned for its vibrant arts and culture, on the third day of the Indaba, the MTN Bushfire Team brought their “Fireworks” and had attendees get a taste of what one of the Kingdom’s biggest festivals had to offer. The luncheon started off with a brief from Phiwokuhle Dhlamini on details relating to the festival and what attendees stood a chance to witness, a front-row seat in Africa’s premier multi-genre music and arts festival. Team Eswatini represented the MTN Bushfire brand as they were beautifully dressed in MTN Bushfire T-shirts.

Ministerial Leadership Sets the Stage

The presence of the Minister of Tourism was a significant highlight. The Honorable Minister’s participation underlined the government’s unwavering commitment to tourism as a cornerstone of Eswatini’s economic development. The Honourable Minister actively engaged with delegates, industry leaders and media representatives, promoting Eswatini as a premier tourist destination.

Post Indaba and looking ahead

The Eswatini stand generated significant interest from travel agents, tour operators and media representatives worldwide. The warm Swazi hospitality, informative presentations and interactive displays left a lasting impression. Eswatini emerged as a rising star in Africa’s tourism landscape, a destination offering a unique blend of adventure, culture and relaxation. Eswatini’s participation at the Indaba signifies its commitment to attracting regional and international visitors. The positive response at the trade show paves the way for increased tourist arrivals and economic growth. With its ongoing investment in infrastructure, focus on sustainability and unwavering hospitality, Eswatini is well-positioned to become a top travel destination in Africa.

Eswatini Tourism Authority continues to drive its mandate to encourage responsible travel in the Kingdom of Eswatini and promotes Eswatini as a preferred destination.