South Africa’s National Minister for Tourism Mr Van Schalkwyk made his first INDABA opening address and took time to meet with many representatives and exhibitors at INDABA 2014. Later in the ICC auditorium, which was filled to capacity to enjoy the opening ceremony, the Minister outlined his vision for the future of tourism in South Africa. Earlier in the day, MICExchange’s editor (Mr Greg Winn) asked Mr Van Schalkwyk how he saw the prospects for business tourism in South Africa and for his impressions of INDABA 2014. He stated that, “…South Africa was very attractive to certain parts of the world such as Europe, … and that business tourism was a key sector for the future.”
Mr Van Schalkwyk said during his opening speech, that while South African is celebrating 20 years of democracy and freedom this year, millions of South Africans are participating in one way or another to achieve that success. He added, that South Africa has hosted some of the biggest tourism mega-events in the world, all of which have contributed to redefining the country’s image, building social cohesion and creating new economic opportunities.
The minister thought that while it was hard to envisage how the tourism industry may evolve, it was safe to say that the tourism economy’s fundamentals are in place.
Mr Van Schalkwyk also noted that the revamped INDABA, “.. has forced all on the African continent, product owners included, to improve standards and up their game, and if you [look at the products on show], it has certainly achieved that … it is good for South Africa and it is good for Africa.”
Editors Note : Watch the Ministers interview here.