South Africa Cancels Its Biggest Travel Trade Events

The tourism sector has been hard hit by the lockdown. And now two major calendar events are being pulled this year.

Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has confirmed that the 2020 Africa’s Travel Indaba and the Annual Lilizela Awards have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the tourism industry had to re-evaluate and assess a number of business events which were scheduled to take place this year.

This included Africa’s Travel Indaba 2020, which was scheduled to take place from 12 to 14 May 2020 as well as the Lilizela Awards scheduled for November 2020.

Speaking during a tourism industry webinar last Wednesday, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “When we initially postponed Africa’s Travel Indaba 2020 we were hoping that we would be able to host the event during tourism month in September. Currently it is looking very unlikely. Tourism activities and events can only start once the country moves to Level One restrictions.”

Indaba remains one of the most powerful platforms for Africa to showcase to the world our unique and warm African tourism story while profiling, among others, our cultural, heritage and artistic assets.

Kubayi-Ngubane also confirmed the cancellation of the Lilizela Awards on the webinar. The Awards recognize and celebrate tourism businesses for tourism excellence, their contribution to South Africa’s global competitiveness and for growing tourism’s contribution towards GDP and job creation.

“The risk adjusted approach that we have in South Africa gives us a framework within which we can carve our path towards recovery for the tourism sector. The involvement of all tourism stakeholders is absolutely important. Based on the Covid-19 expected trajectory, the best-case scenario is that tourism sector recovery will only begin towards the end of this year.

“With us having some time to focus on our properties and events, I do believe that next year’s Indaba, Meetings Africa and Lilizela awards will be world class events showcasing the warmth of our industry as we rebuild the industry,” concluded Kubayi-Ngubane.

The minister added that the initial phase of the recovery will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism. International tourism is likely to recover in 2021.

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