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Lindiwe Rakharebe – A winning Africa’s Travel Indaba

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex came through with flying colours when it hosted the 2022 Africa’s Travel Indaba over four days during May 2022 and proved it has not lost the touch as a world-class business meeting venue.


Africa’s Travel Indaba signalled the resurgence of large-scale business meetings at the award-winning Durban ICC since the pandemic brought the MICE industry to a near standstill at the beginning of 2020.


Durban ICC CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe said she and her impressive team were over the moon when no major hitches were reported as the final curtain came down on Africa’s Travel Indaba. “The return of Africa’s Travel Indaba to the Durban ICC after a two-year absence was the strongest indication that the African continent’s tourism sector is well on the road to recovery. “We had prepared long and hard to be ready to again host major events. During the lockdown lull in bookings, ageing infrastructure at the Durban ICC was refurbished and revamped, staff were upskilled and trained in new areas of operations, and prudent expenditure principles were put in place.


“When the green light was given for Africa’s Travel Indaba to go ahead, we were all set to do what we know best: putting together a world-class event that meets and even exceeds all performance targets,” said Rakharebe.


While the Durban ICC was a bustling hub of activity for Africa’s Travel Indaba, with delegates attending meetings or visiting the various exhibitions, only 50% of the convention centre’s capacity was allowed to be filled and social distancing was maintained. The wearing of masks was made compulsory inside all venues. Testing stations and a vaccination site were available at designated areas and delegates needed to complete an electronic screening form, prior to arrival at the venue.


The Durban ICC has perfected the hosting of large events while the microscopic coronavirus bug still lurks. It has embraced the new norm occasioned by restrictions, by reinventing the business. Innovation came to the fore with the introduction of hybrid meetings which saw person/face-to-face attendees connecting virtually with other meeting attendees.


Rakharebe said there were 18 African countries present at the Africa’s Travel Indaba, 655 exhibitors, 965 buyers and 377 media were hosted. Also, 14 000 meetings between delegates took place. Projections are that there were 3 700 visitors, a direct spend of R29 million, R72.5 million contribution to the City’s GDP and 145 jobs were created.


“The new ways of working will ensure that the Durban ICC continues to provide the highest levels of infrastructure and service standards, in keeping with the multitude of service excellence awards we have achieved over the years. “The enterprising spirit of our people, our resilience and tenacity, and our determination to never give up despite the impossible odds – this is what will shape a brighter future for the Durban ICC and the tourism sector it supports.

“This is what will make us better than we have ever been before,” said Rakharebe.


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