Opening ceremony of Indaba 2015 by Derek hanekom, Minister of tourism South Africa

  • Saturday, 30 May 2015
  • Jeanette

The opening ceremony of Indaba 2015 in Durban was a spectaular of music and dance that celebrated the Africa continent and it's thriving tourism industry.  Delegates were entertained by the cream of Africa and Southe African talent:  Performers:  The Afro Tenors, Beatenberg, Fiesta Black, George Avakian, the Jaziel brothers, The KwaZulu-Natal Gospel Choir, Mi Aka Jude Abaga, Ntokozo Mbambo, Sauti Sol, Silverblack and choreographed by Somizi Mhlongo.

Indaba 2015 in Durban   DSC 0023     DSC 0296

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IMG 3471Opening Speech of Indaba 2015 by Minister Derek Hanekom:  South Africa Minister of Tourism. This is my first INDABA, in this magnificent province of KwaZulu-Natal.

I stand here proud and impressed. I am impressed by the authentic products and offerings from South Africa and the rest of our spectacular continent. And I am proud to be a part of this spectacular event that takes our extraordinary offers to the world.

It is truly an honour and a privilege for me to welcome visitors from around the world, who are here to discover the wonderful tourism experiences that we offer. I must say that what I have seen so far has got me itching to travel to every corner of this remarkable continent.

INDABA 2015 is really big. We have just over 1000 exhibitors from 20 African countries, and about 2000 buyers from the world’s tourism source markets. We also have about 750 members of the media at this event. You – our trade partners, buyers, exhibitors, media partners and other stakeholders – are the people who make it big.  And it is you who make tourism the exciting, growing sector that it is.
Today, dear ladies and gentlemen, is also a very significant day for another reason. It is exactly 21 years since Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically-elected President. When he opened the first INDABA in a free South Africa,

this is what PresidenMandela said:
 “It is in tourism that nature and humanity meet most equitably and profitably…. It also provides the resources for the conservation of our natural heritage. Furthermore, tourism is making an important and valuable contribution to the South African economy.”

Only in Africa.
Tourists are astounded by the many wonders on our continent. Churches carved out of solid rock at Lalibela in Ethiopia, and the multi-storey mosque built from mud at Djenne in Mali, reflect how we learnt to engineer the natural environment for our social needs.

Tourists marvel at the remains of 200 pyramids at Meroe in Sudan, the site of one of the wealthiest cities in the Ancient Kingdom of Kush, where they can imagine the splendour of Africa, thriving in a bygone age.

piramids IN EGYPT

And, much closer to where we are gathered today, is the site of the once prosperous city at Great Zimbabwe, where iron and copper tools were found, along with gold jewelry.

Tourists can take an emotional journey through the East African towns of Lamu in Kenya, and Stone Town in Zanzibar, and hear stories of slavery that will give them a better understanding of what the people of this continent have been subjected to, and make them appreciate what it means to be free.

In South Africa, the struggle for freedom is reflected in many sites.

When people go to Inanda, a short drive from here, they will learn about people like John Dube, one of the founding fathers of the African National Congress. Not far from there, at Phoenix, is the house that Mahatma Gandhi lived in, before he returned to India and became internationally recognized for his stance against colonization.

Places like Robben Island, and the original home of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, have become meaningful for the entire world - they have become iconic symbols of our recent political history, signifying the triumph of freedom over oppression.

robbeneilandGroups of tourists on Robben Island, moving quietly through the corridor in the cell block that held Tata Mandela and other prisoners for decades, go through deep emotional experiences. You can see it in the expression on their faces, you can feel it in their silence.

When tourists see ancient fossils that reflect our origins as a species, it makes a spiritual connection deep within them. These fossils provide the evidence that we all come from Africa, that we are all part of one family of humankind, regardless of where we happen to live now.

This is a connection to the soul of Africa, to the history that brought us together, and the aspirations for the future that bind us together. The unique sites that entice people to visit us, our warm welcome, our vibrant music, dancing and art, the stories told by the people themselves: these are the things that connect tourists to the soul of the people of Africa.

We have everything going as a continent to increase our share of the expected growth in international tourism and travel.

South Africa leaves ordinary behind ©SA TourismInternational arrivals in Africa increased to 56 million tourists last year, and are expected to grow by between 3% and 5% in 2015. This will probably exceed the projected growth in global arrivals, which is between 3% and 4% for 2015.

More and more people are venturing out to discover new places, leaving the familiar behind to seek unique experiences, to meet new people and discover their culture.

DOWNLOAD Complete Speech of Min Derek Hanekom - Opening Speech Indaba


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