Operators who will be on the Tourvest Destination Management (TDM) stand at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 – held at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from May 2-5 – are excited to reconnect in real time, face-to-face with their travel partners.

This follows an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night that vaccinated travellers will no longer need a PCR test to enter South Africa and that venues will be able to take up to 50% of their capacity both indoors and outdoors.

The scrapping of PCR test requirements, as well as the easing of other restrictions, is seen as a welcome boost to tourism and a further incentive for exhibitors and buyers to support what many see as Africa’s premier travel trade show.

“One of the biggest drivers we have in tourism is our relationships with our partners. We have not been able to see our partners these last two years and it remains important for us to reconnect, to spend real time face to face, and to not only build on both past successes, but also the last two years’ challenges so we can move forward again,” Kira Brinkmann, Sales & Marketing Director at Sense of Africa, Rest of Africa, told Tourism Update.

“Whilst much of this is business, the reality is it’s about personal interaction so we can share ideas and opportunities – which is done best after meetings when we let our hair down and enjoy having social interaction. We look forward to seeing all our peers and friends to make up for lost time and see how we can create new travel experiences for travellers to enjoy.”

Suzanne Benadie, Sales Director at Sense of Africa, South Africa, agreed, noting that her team would have some personalised dinners with their clients, networking lunches, and presentations on touring products to discuss aligned supplier strategies and other thought-provoking topics.

CEO of GoVacation Africa, Sabine Blehle, is equally enthusiastic about GoVacation’s participation at Indaba this year. “We are looking forward to exchanging future opportunities to stimulate the growth of our industry. We expect this to be an energising event with many activities we have missed for such a long time.”

Going back to the ‘normal way’ of trading is what Martijn Mellaart, COO of Sense of Oceans/e.DMC – Your Booking Partner, will welcome most about being at Indaba and “dealing with people, not with screens!”.

“After all,” he said, “our hospitality business is a people-to-people hospitality business! I look forward to meeting our clients and suppliers who have supported us during the past two years and to reconnecting with them on a personal level.”

Mellaart added that he was also looking forward to being able to rediscover the industry post-COVID-19 and experiencing the changes, screening the market, and creating new opportunities with the two new Tourvest Destination Management business units launched during COVID-19: eDMC – Your Booking Partner and TDM Franchising.