Africa, a continent known for its vivid tourism prospects is yet to hold a firm position on the global tourism map like Europe, Asia, North America or Latin America. Apart from the countries like Egypt, Morocco and South Africa most of the African countries are yet to grow as a contributor to the exponential rise of the tourism industry. Despite the recent immigration regulations and the fear concerning the Ebola virus, the travel industry in Africa is expecting a colossal surge in visitor numbers to Cape Town from April 2015.
The reason is quite obvious! The leisure travel industry in Africa is grooming itself with invigorated enthusiasm as the second edition of WTM Africa awaits a gala opening. The first edition launched in 2014 was an imposing success as the event emerged as the only tourism trade show of its kind to cater to the inbound and outbound travel partners. WTM Africa paves the way for unrivalled business opportunities for its exhibitors. The African episode like the other WTM portfolio events creates an atmosphere where travel professionals can breathe in the aroma of the destination and inspire others to share the same experiences. No wonder why, the travel business deals flourished in the first edition clocking a massive figure of $314 million (£189 million). WTM Africa thus acts as a valve that releases the pressure on the not so developed African countries like Tanzania, Algeria, and Burundi. Even the countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Mauritius experienced a huge boost after the first edition in 2014.
Travelling is a lot about experiences and sharing the joy together. Every different continent is known for its indigenous experiences and Africa is not an exception. In 2014, Thebe Reed Exhibitions promised a bigger and better event for 2015 allowing more mutual travel between continents and WTM Africa 2015 looks really enterprising. The travel event takes pleasure in educating, promoting and accelerating tourism to Africa. So, why would one consider re-scheduling the event venue to any other continent? If there is a possibility of spreading the happiness of Africa, it should originate from Africa. I would like to thank and congratulate the entire team of WTM Africa for their continuous efforts despite all the short comings; this particular event is truly a driver of tourism economy in the continent. There are concerns about Ebola and probably some rough immigration rules that might bother the event organizers. However, the retarding interest of various buyers and sellers will automatically take the back seat once the African travel industry comes together and puts up a strong fight to uphold their tourism, culture and destinations to the world travel industry.
How will you judge the interest of the global travel industry as far as the success of WTM Africa is concerned? The numbers will rather speak in favor of this African travel chapter. The three day event scheduled to open its doors in April next year is already expecting to welcome 3091 industry professionals and 105 media houses. There will be these very useful sessions called the speed networking sessions for the participants on all the three days. The number of pre-scheduled appointments has already clocked a massive figure of 5353 in 2015. Will you still doubt the competence of the event? It is the only event in Africa that can assist your company to generate sales leads, launch new products, raise brand awareness, conduct market research, enter new markets, estimate competition and easily grab the attention of the press for further development of strategies and promotion. Building relationships and nurturing them as a quintessential traveler happens to be the USP of this major African travel fair.
If you consider the participating countries from Africa, be it the host nation South Africa or the likes of Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya or even Algeria or Tunisia, you will always find something innovative in their approach and they have a vast selection of travel products and tourism opportunities. Indigenous in their form and stimulating in their disposition, the countries in Africa awaits the curtain raising ceremony of WTM AFRICA as it promises to bring tides of joy and prosperity for the ‘still-struggling’ continent.
By Sudipto Roy, Travel Journalist, Travel And Tour World