This year’s Indaba was notably quieter than previous years, and while some exhibitors are yet to decide whether they will be back in 2015, some smaller product owners have already decided they will not be exhibiting next year.
Thulani Nzima, CEO of South African Tourism, said that this year, Indaba had brought in 245 hosted buyers, which is a slight increase on the number brought in last year – 229. Yet, while Nzima did not have the exact figures, he said that based on registrations as of Friday morning, there had been a decline in the total number of buyers attending the show.
According to Nzima, as Friday morning, the total number of buyers for Indaba 2014 was 25% less than the number of buyers that attended the show in 2013. However, Nzima emphasised that the total number for 2013 took into account late registrations and he was confident that buyers would still be registering for the show.
It is unlikely that these would be international buyers.
While a number of exhibitors said they had a busy time at Indaba meeting with quality buyers, even exhibitors that were busy said they felt the show was quieter than previous years.
Ruzandri Stoltz, Marketing Co-ordinator at African Hotels & Adventures, said the group was busy at this year’s Indaba, adding that there was a lot of interest in the group, following the announcement that the group had acquired Three Cities Hotel Group. According to Stoltz, the group would be returning to Indaba next year.
Andre Laget, MD of Akilanga, also reported a busy Indaba in terms of meetings, but emphasized that exhibitors needed to prepare for the show to ensure that they met with existing as well as new partners. Laget will also be back next year.
Penny Rice, Marketing Manager, at Isibindi said the company had a busy Indaba and would be back next year.
However, some exhibitors will not be returning. Daniella Ponter, Group Sales, Marketing and Operations Manager at The Amalinda Collection, said that while the energy and feel of the show was the same as last year, the show was quieter this year. She said the country stands in particular were not seeing the same volumes as they had last year. Ponter added that some of her colleagues in the industry were having only a few meetings a day.
According to Ponter, based on feedback the group has received from exhibitors that attended the two shows in Cape Town, the company would not be exhibiting at Indaba again, and was likely to exhibit at one of the other shows next year.
Towards the end of last year, SA Tourism announced it would be making changes to the show format. These included the shortening of the show and a shift in focus away from big stands and towards engaged meetings. Addressing a SATSA meeting last year, Jan Hutton, CMO SA Tourism, admitted that Indaba no longer owned the trade show space in SA but said she was committed to making the trade show relevant again.
However, while the trade welcomed some of the changes, it remains to be seen whether the show can still be turned around and whether exhibitors will keep returning.
The Premier Lounge is one of the new introductions to the show, but the space was almost empty for most of the show. The space was offered to exhibitors that had already booked exhibition space as a place to meet with buyers. However, some exhibitors reported no shows.
Stoltz said AHA would not be take space in the lounge again, adding that the area was empty most of the time. Laget said that while he was glad that SA Tourism was looking at way to improve the show, it was “unfortunate that the trial phase was at the exhibitors’ cost”. He said the lounge was not what was expected and that Akilanga would not return to the lounge if the format remained the same.
Lidia Martinuzzi, Director at 3Sixty, a luxury marketing company, says the show has been noticeably quieter than previous years. She said the ICC was not as busy as last year. She suggested that the number of trade shows that had taken place consecutively made it difficult for international operators to attend and some may have chosen to attend one of the newer shows.
However, Martinuzzi added that Indaba remained an important show for the trade and that an exhibitor’s success depended in part on how they prepared for the show.
Mike Richardson, Head of Tourism at Kingdom of Swaziland’s Big Game Parks, said he did not see a massive difference in the show, and that there was a dip in the number of meetings this year. However, Richardson is likely to be back next year, exhibiting under the Swaziland Tourism Authority umbrella, which makes the show more affordable, he says.
From : Tourism Update
By Tessa Reed