The environment, visitor expectations, trends and developments – all these are contributing to dramatic long-term changes in the tourism sector. That's what Cape Town Tourism will reveal in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal at INDABA 2017.

Building onto a multifaceted narrative to be shared by participants at the event, one of the largest tourism marketing events in Africa, the organisation highlights three areas that will dramatically alter the face of tourism in the years to come:

Halaal-friendly tourism

According to Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index, Muslim visitor arrivals at destinations (globally) were estimated to be 117 million in 2015, and are projected to grow to 168 million by 2020. South Africa is ideally positioned to attract a higher share of this segment. Cape Town Tourism is engaging with CrescentRating and HalalTrip to tap into this lucrative market, given that Cape Town, with its substantial Muslim community is well-placed to encourage this.

The rise of the SMME

It is estimated that within 20 years, 90 percent of all companies in SA will be SMMEs. Within the tourism sector, this is encouraging for emerging entrepreneurs, particularly those from an informal business environment. Smaller operators are able to act in agile response to niche demands, providing a fresh take on tourism for visitors. More than tourism, these SMMEs are often community-driven, so the benefits are direct rather than tickling down. This will revolutionise how visitors encounter destinations all year round, helping to counteract seasonality, a rapidly diminishing concept in a country where the gap between winter and summer seems to be narrowing.

Large developments and investor confidence

The opening of Zeitz MOCAA in the Silo District of the V&A Waterfront in the latter part of 2017 gives a hint of things to come: the grand vision that has resulted in this development has shown that great ideas, vision and investor confidence will all aid in driving tourism, through the creation of attractions and experiences that add value to an already-rich foundation. The snowball of investment: as the demand increases, so hotels are developed and infrastructure is improved, allowing for greater capacity for more visitors, over and over.