Johannesburg: The 2013 convention of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) to be hosted in Durban from February 24 to 26 is expected to give a big economic boost to the entire region, according to the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
    
"This important travel meeting for the travel industry in India comes at a particularly significant time, just before the BRICS Forum, to be held in Durban in March," SATSA said in a statement.
    
"With India as the dominant partner in IBSA, the importance of this convention cannot be overstressed," the statement added.
    
Durban is geographically ideally situated to become a hub in the developing trade relationships, particularly between the IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa) group, that dates back many years, long before BRICS.

"This is a major event in the tourism calendar in India and we are delighted to host it in South Africa for the first time," said SATSA CEO Michael Tatalias.
    
"In India, travel agents prefer to sell products of which they have had personal experience. Therefore, the opportunity to see and experience South African product will give all those who participate in this convention a significant marketing edge in this growing market," he said.
    
The Tourism Association of the province of KwaZulu-Natal is the main sponsor of the event with SATSA as the hosts. Tourism KwaZulu Natal has previously indicated that investing into a crucial developing market such as India was very high on the list of priorities of the province where the first Indian settlers arrived as indentured labourers for the sugar cane plantations in 1860.
    
The province shares a long colonial and cultural history with India, and is regarded by many in that country as the place where Mahatma Gandhi, then a young Indian lawyer, went through his formative experiences.

(Agencies)

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