Durban - Almost 13 000 people from Africa and the rest of the world are expected to visit this year's Tourism Indaba, which will have 1 700 exhibitors.
Indaba 2011, which will be held at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, will include the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (ETEYA), the Global Media Face Off and Welcome Awards.
Indaba 2011 will also start to address the 2020 goals set out by the National Department of Tourism in the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).
Excitement around the Indaba is palatable as seen on social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter.
South African Tourism, whose primary objective is to showcase the diversity of experiences in South Africa to international trade, is encouraged by the instant communication of the event.
Chief Marketing Officer at South African Tourism, Roshene Singh, said: "Social media is very much part of our marketing drive and we use Twitter, Facebook and our website extensively to engage consumers and trade to keep the information flowing. We understand the immediacy of communication and the need to remain cutting edge and competitive as a destination."
Singh added that while the Indaba will provide plenty networking trade opportunities, new creative direction and a global marketing campaign will also be unveiled.
Africa is a very important market for South African Tourism and this year, South African Tourism will share some of the findings from research that has been done in this area.
"We will also look at the work being done in the continent in order to share some insight into this market and how South Africa trade can best serve the African continent to further boost arrivals," said Singh.
The theme for this year's Indaba is "Playing globally, winning locally" and is focused around the celebration of the huge tourism successes achieved in 2010, while looking closely at the opportunities that have arisen from it.
"Indaba provides us with the perfect opportunity to look at the factors that have led to South Africa outperforming the global rate of tourism growth by over eight percent, and ensure that these opportunities are effectively leveraged to sustain growth going forward," said Singh.
She added that Indaba 2011 was critical for the industry to come together and share in the successes of last year's record arrivals growth, as well as join in on the preparations for ensuring continued growth going forward.
This Indaba promises to have it all, music, design, architecture and an abundance of networking opportunities.
Meanwhile, Ndabo Khoza, CEO of Tourism KZN, said KwaZulu-Natal is more than ready to host the event.
"We have hosted the event many times before and have the experience and expertise. We also are looking forward to building sustainable relationships," said Khoza.