SA Tourism discusses INDABA Hosted Buyer Program
“South African Tourism knows exactly how crucial a business platform INDABA is, not only for the trade that exhibit and attend INDABA, but also a vital showcase of the best of the tourism offering that South Africa has to offer the world.
“INDABA attracts well over 10 000 delegates each year, the vast majority of who come either as exhibitors or buyers to network, to set up meetings with each other, and write business for the year ahead.
“In 2013, just over 800 of those delegates were journalists (from South Africa as well as internationally) who came to INDABA to document our success and report on our exciting travel trade show, Africa’s only homegrown, most well established tourism exhibition, the only mass market travel trade show of its kind on our continent.
“We are therefore determined to offer maximum business value to both exhibitors and buyers at INDABA 2014. This requires well-considered criteria for participation, and careful selection to ensure the best travel brands exhibit and the best global buyers, with a genuine interest in doing business in Africa, attend INDABA.
“The fact that Africa is one of the continents experiencing the fastest inbound tourism growth in the world, is set to make the pan-African 2014 INDABA the single-most important business-focused event for the global tourism sector. In 2012, African arrivals growth was seven percent, outstripping tourism growth to every other continent on the planet.
“Quality hosted buyers are an exceptionally important key ingredient of the larger INDABA delegation. In 2014, we expect more than 3 000 buyers to participate at INDABA, with South African Tourism hosting a healthy percentage of those that meet the benchmark of adding the most value. The INDABA Hosted Buyer Program delivers an exciting opportunity for between 300 to 400 top international travel industry buyers to join us at INDABA 2014 Africa and be given unforgettable VIP treatment.
“South African Tourism identifies buyers for hosting through its extensive network of in-country offices in the various markets worldwide. The fine-tuned selection process for INDABA 2014 is already underway. The list of buyers who will be hosted will be made known as soon as the buyers have been identified, invited, accepted and been briefed on the associated terms and conditions of attending INDABA as a hosted buyer.
“South African Tourism operates within global best practice, with defined criteria for hosting, which we continue to fine-tune. The four (4) over-arching qualification criteria that buyers should meet to be considered for hosting at INDABA 2014 are as follows:
Hosted buyers should be senior individuals with purchasing responsibility for decision-making in travel products and services for leisure travel.
Hosted buyers should produce evidence of past business in South Africa (within the last 2-3 years) and/or demonstrate the ability/potential to sell South Africa in their market, either as a new emerging destination or by extending their current South African offering to encourage geographic spread and/or value for money offerings in the destination.
Hosted buyers must have potential for future South African business based on a brief statement outlining the company’s reasons for attending INDABA, noting their intentions to do future business.
Hosted buyers should have annual budget responsibility for consolidated spend in leisure travel to Africa, and ideally have a valuable distribution network that reaches consumers in their market.
“Buyers who are known to promote and sell destinations of a similar nature to South Africa will also be favourably considered, as South African Tourism deliberately attempts to encourage them to include South Africa in their inventory of destinations. Hosted buyers also need to be aware that one of South African Tourism’s qualification agents may contact potential hosted buyers, or their travel suppliers, to verify information in their INDABA application.
“Once hosted buyers have met the requirements set out in our selection criteria, they will be required to enter into a contract with South African Tourism that will bind them to attending all the appointments and activities set up for them.
“In addition, there will be clear stipulations that need to be adhered to as a hosted buyer, to ensure maximum access and value to the INDABA exhibitors. For example, a minimum number of appointments must be made, attended and co-rated by each hosted buyer.
“South African Tourism is in the process of finalising an evaluation and feedback mechanism that exhibitors will complete at the end of each meeting with a hosted buyer. This will be a digital exercise, and will take no longer than a few minutes to complete. It will give South African Tourism succinct, insightful intelligence on an almost hourly basis about the value of each buyer/exhibitor engagement.
“The feedback mechanisms will also give South African Tourism the benefit of tracking business activity almost around the clock in near real-time, so that we are able to be on-hand to offer guidance as and when it is needed, as opposed to after the event.
“The mechanism will enable South African Tourism to track the business that comes into the larger tourism system months after INDABA is over, giving the organisation a reliable gauge of the tangible value that each buyer has added.
“INDABA organisers expect hosted buyers to bring measurable value to the exhibition. Only buyers who deliver in this way will be invited to INDABA to be hosted by South African Tourism in subsequent years, as the organisation is held responsible to the South African travel and tourism trade ecosystem for the relevance and quality of INDABA buyers.
“For 2014, South African Tourism is considering partially subsidising upfront costs of buyers who are hosted at INDABA. Full settlement of their costs by South African Tourism may only be effected once information has been suitably gathered.
“As our continent grows in popularity as a destination, interest to be hosted as a buyer at INDABA grows too. As INDABA takes an exciting and positive step forward by inviting other destinations on the continent to exhibit alongside South Africa in 2014, this will be even more so.
“We look forward to INDABA 2014 with a growing sense of genuine eagerness, as INDABA has taken a decisive step forward, inviting the rest of Africa to join hands as one unified continent.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure optimal opportunities for all INDABA delegates to get an opportunity to do business with the fastest growing tourism continent in the world today, under one roof at a trade show that’s globally established as one of the biggest and best in the world calendar today.”