With match sticks holding our eyelids open, we made it to CTIA at 05h30 for our early morning flight to Durban, Indaba 2012 had finally arrived!

Henk, Vashti, Christina, Miriam and myself all checked into our flights (hearts stopping briefly as my suitcase topped the scales with 28kg’s – not due to the 6 pairs of shoes but the extra show items that didn’t make it onto the truck in time). The aeroplane was abuzz with chatter, considering every person on the flight was heading to Indaba. Two hours to regroup, gather our thoughts, double check the packing list and get some much needed sleep – the next five days would be a good test that only the fittest survive!

Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar. It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.

The Nomad troupe descended on Durban, jerseys and sweaters a thing of the past. We arrived at the ICC to find Shadwell already on the move. The tent was already unpacked, extra hands and help had been organized and the banner had already been hung. Without any delay, we got stuck into erecting the tent – good thing we had a dry-run at the office and labelled the corners, within one hour the tent was up. After placing the bits and bobs in and around our stand, we were ready for action! And if I may say so myself, we definitely had the most adventurous stand – done and dusted! I think the record time set for the completion of our stand this year can be pinned on our GM Henk who was inspired by his Blue Bulls (who were playing in their shocking pink gear) Rugby team – playing concurrently at the time of the stand construction. Well done to the Pink Bulls for their win. Umhlanga Rocks provided the perfect setting for lunch – good trusty Spur burgers all round.

Anna, Miriam, Jono and Henk erecting THE TENT

The traditional Tekweni Backpackers & Baz Bus party provided some good entertainment for the evening, this was Shadwell’s introduction to networking at Indaba, although he knew many faces at the party from his travels and time spent on the road.

Saturday morning – it somehow felt that the previous night’s party was huge, heavy heads and bags under the eyes – oh my, not a good way to start Day 1 of Indaba. Luckily our hosts at the Sandringham Guest House, Sheila and Alan, looked after uswith a scrumptious cooked breakfast and the best coffee ever. With that sorted, we headed to the ICC. As tradition has it, our Indaba song blaring down the Ruth First Highway, from Umhlanga to the city centre “Jai Ho”..!

Prior to Indaba, we had contact with our agents and set up numerous appointments. Indaba is the platform for us to launch our 2013 product offering, negotiate with our agents and network with new prospective agents. The first two days of Indaba are set aside for the International delegates, so these are by far the busiest days. The day’s meetings started at 0900 and ran throughout the day until closing at 1800. Unfortunately due to mismanagement by the Indaba organisers, we did not attend the official Welcome party but instead opted for a relaxing night at our guest house and an early night in, we were all fast asleep by 22h00. Indaba is tough, shoe-malfunction #1 (down to 5 pairs).

Miriam, Christina and Anna “wo-manning” the tent at Indaba 2012

Another successful and full day’s meetings were held on Sunday. Although many exhibitors were heard complaining about attendance being at an all time low, we were constantly visited at our stands with suppliers, agents and other interested parties wanting to find out more about what we do. This evening we hosted a small braai at our guest house, at 18h00 when the day’s proceedings were concluded, we piled the agents into Ella (our beautiful truck) and whisked them off to Umhlanga Rocks. This turned into the perfect evening, so much fun was had by all. We eventually dropped everyone off at their various hotels just after midnight. Indaba is really tough, shoe-malfunction #2 (down to 4 pairs).

Beautiful Indaba Truck, Ella

Monday morning saw the arrival of the local trade – unfortunately not a very good turn out. Here are some great reasons to attend the annual Travel and Tourism Indaba in Durban (From www.indaba-southafrica.co.za) :

– Indaba is Africa’s top travel and tourism exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere
– You get to keep abreast with global trends and new developments within the tourism and travel industry
– Meet industry stakeholders and decision makers face to face
– Conduct business with new and existing clients
– Gain competitive advantage with a view to becoming market leaders
– Meet with over 1800 exhibitors from a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors
– Opportunity to network with key decision makers and stateholders on an exciting and informative platform

Coming back to the disappointing local trade turn out – local trade are only allowed to attend on the Monday and Tuesday – the registration fee for the local trade is R400 for the 2 days, which is a hefty fee to charge for the locals. From lunchtime on Monday, we opted to pack our full A4 brochures away and rather display the summary flyers – the brochure snatchers were creeping out – brochure snatchers are the types of people who walk around shows with their trolley suitcases and just pile in every single brochure they set their eyes on – with no intention of looking through the materials collected.

Monday night we opted for a quiet night at our Guest House – although the remaining 4 pairs of shoes survived the day, our dear Miriam had a major glass-door malfunction. Let me put you in the picture, Shadwelll, Henk, Miriam and myself, sipping our after work drinks and munching away on our trusty Spur burgers, the gate bell rings, and knowing Christina is home, Miriam enthusiastically jumps up to let her in, safely in, Miriam returns to the call of her chicken burger – BAM-GUFF-CRASH ^@^$@#@$*( Miriam connects with the glass door, what an impact – everyone saw that happen in slow motion, looking more like a crash test dummy than our colleague! Needless to say, all was well besides a swollen eye-brow and bruised eye. One thing we can say we learnt from this, pink eye-shadow really suites Miriam.

The image of Miriam’s face left imprinted on the glass door

Tuesday was slow, the attendance was poor and even some exhibitors opted not to come to the show and left their stands deserted. Nomad stood strong, handing out flyers and entertaining the students who came to ask questions for their projects and assignments. By the time 16h00 came, most of our smaller stand items were packed away, leaving only the tent standing. It took us about 10 minutes to bring the tent down, rushing to make sure that Shadwell was only left with a couple of bigger items to pack on the truck. We said our goodbye’s and rushed to the airport, speeding at 100km per hour to make sure we made the flight home.

Some statistics about Indaba (Provided by Indaba)

Attendance

Exhibitors

Numbers below reflect the total exhibiting companies, including main exhibitors and sharing exhibitors. The exhibitor base is from the Southern African region.

Year  Number of Exhibiting Companies

2011  1,612

2010  1,820

2009  1,578

2008  1,725

Visitors

The figures detailed below only include the international visitor representation as this is the primary target market for INDABA. The media figures below form part of the international total.

Year

No. of International Visitors

From no. of Countries

Media Representation

2011

2,545

88

658

2010

2,308

88

642

2009

2,557

109

680

2008

2,656

119

559

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