HomeSmart LivingDiscover the continent -Africa Travel Indaba 2023

Discover the continent -Africa Travel Indaba 2023

Speaker and businessman, Vusi Thembekwayo, laid a solid foundation as he put forward the question if people of the African continent are really taking the responsibility and ownership of telling their own African stories.  And, how the fullness of the African story would be responsibly ‘packaged’ if we travelled the continent more to simply connect with its beauty and magnificence.  He concluded with a direct message to business owners that they ought to see themselves as a vehicle and/or messenger of something greater than themselves as they deliver services and products to their respective markets.

With that, the 2023 edition of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 began its colourfully curated Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay).  This year’s Indaba theme is ‘unlimited Africa’ with a sub-theme Discover-Connect-Grow, BONDay kicked off on an inspired note, packed with plenary sessions as well as focused stream discussions.

Lifestyle and Tech attended a stream that shed light into the topic – Enabling SME’s through Innovation & Marketing Intelligence. 

Moderated by Septi Bukula founder of Seeza Tourism SME Network, the panel included Air BnB’s Head of Policy for Middle East and Africa, Gwen Ngwenya; Digital Council Africa’s Chief Executive, Juanita Clark; founder-tour operator of ABCD Travel, Buntu Matole and Bronwn Auret of Tourism Grading Counsel of South Africa.

Juanita highlighted the importance of adopting digital tools for SME’s as the 600% increase in e-commerce purchases since 2020 is an indicator that consumers are on board – despite trust factors around online purchases; specifically the issue of entering banking details on digital platforms.

A question was posed about how big players like AirBnB impact under-served areas such as townships and rural communities, to which Ms Ngwenya responded, “We’ve ensured that our system is simple and lowers barrier to entry – giving entrepreneurs of all sizes immediate access to market; giving opportunity to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to actively participate in this sector.”

Mr Matole shared a testimony of how being part of the AirBnB Academy since 2016 has helped his business scale to a point that his customers can book tours seamlessly without him being personally involved.

The stream ended with a reminder to entrepreneurs to be the customer of their own product by becoming active travellers in South Africa and the rest of the continent.