“A unique, quality way of doing business” Gary Burns from Hynds Travel
WTM® Africa 2016 kicked off today with a bang, and already the praise has come flooding in.
“A unique, quality way of doing business”. “The calibre of people I connected with today was outstanding” is how buyers, visitors and exhibitors are describing their experience of the first day of World Travel Market® (WTM) Africa 2016. The first day has been buzzing with VIP guests in attendance, big business meetings conducted and intense discussions during the conference and events programmes.
The 3rd edition of WTM® Africa began with an official opening by the Host City of Cape Town’s Councillor Garreth Bloor welcoming all exhibitors, visitors and media to the show. The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Honourable Tokozile Xasa, and the Managing Director of Thebe Reed, Carol Weaving opened the show with the ribbon cutting at the Host City of Cape Town’s stand.
With over 600 inbound and outbound exhibiting companies serious about the business of promoting travel into and out of Africa, WTM® Africa has been praised for the quality of its international buyers, superb organisation and excellent conference content.
Sponsors of the Buyers’ Lounge and one of the international exhibitors, Turkish Airlines, hosted an informative session today in the press conference theatre, to discuss the 2015 Aviation Trends Index. Kenan Ince, the General Manager of Cape Town Turkish Airlines said: “We have been involved with WTM® Africa since its inception; and at the tip of Africa it is the best platform for us to reach the whole of Africa.”
Christian Boix, from Africa Geographic Travel is a member of the WTM Africa’s Buyers’ Club and he had this to say about the first day “We needed a platform for both inbound and outbound travel, and WTM® Africa is a very convenient process for us to follow. I am really looking forward to meeting with the small SMME’s taking part in this year’s show.”
The conference and events programme included stimulating topics and educational items such as: choosy traveler, online travel trends, travel blogging, current trends, selling ethical travel products, and 5 key trends for destinations. These seminars drew above-expected attendance. Allison Foat, a travel professional attended the ‘Social media and Travel in Africa session, and said: “the seminars are very informative, and I learnt about new information I had never heard before.” The line-up of events appealed to a broad spectrum of travel professionals, ensuring that everyone attending the show could learn about trending and topical news and information relevant to their business.
Damian Cook, the CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, and a speaker today showed his insights on social media and travel in Africa. His conference showed how the rest of the world were quick to take up technology in the travel industry, and although Africa has, there is still a gap. Cook will be presenting speaking again tomorrow on inspiring African travel online.
A first for WTM® Africa on the exhibition floor this year was the Travel Tech Show at WTM where leading digital, social, mobile and tech exhibitors showcased their products to key travel industry professionals. The WTM® Portfolio recognises the need to incorporate top travel technology houses in their events and the impact that they can have in shaping the future of travel and tourism, particularly for companies looking to incorporate new technology into their business strategies. The General Manager of Africa Travel Week, Chardonnay Marchesi commented on this new addition by saying; “There are three key drivers of digital transformation: changing consumer demand, changing technology and changing competition. These three are not isolated from each other but go hand in hand. Changing technology affects consumer demand which is then addressed by new competitors entering the market. We are delighted to be able showcase this element of the industry to our visiting travel professionals.”
If you were unable to attend today, WTM® Africa still has two days of a jam-packed show left. Tomorrow, visitors can look forward to conference items from Google on innovation and trends in the digital hotel industry, from Tourplan on Travel Technology – Past, Present and Future, from the eTourism on designing immersive brand experiences in tourism and loads of other interesting and relevant content. Also happening tomorrow is the highly anticipated Responsible Tourism Awards that will take place at 16h30; whereby heroes of responsible tourism in Africa will be honoured.
Catering for both inbound and outbound markets, WTM® Africa, which ends on Friday, 8 April, is open to all those involved in the travel industry to attend at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
To find out more about WTM Africa visit www.wtmafrica.com.
We also invite you to like WTM Africa’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wtmafrica and join us on twitter using: @WTM_Africa and #WTMA16.