World Travel Market Africa, the leading B2B exhibition for Africa’s leisure travel industry, took place this weekend at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and attracted exhibitors from all categories of the leisure travel industry within sub-Saharan Africa as well as North African destinations.
Africa’s tourism industry is already at 8.7% of the continent’s GDP at $164 billion, making it the fourth largest sector and employing 19 million people (8% of total jobs), according to research by the World Travel and Tourism Council. The WTTC predicts a growth of 4.8% over the next 10 years, growing at practically the same rate as the overall African economy and making it the fourth fastest growing sector in the continent.
Much discussion at WTM Africa surrounded this impressive growth outlook – and attendees were reminded that the key to selling travel online in Africa is having a great payment process. Credit card transactions are not enough in the African market as some people use mobile wallets such as MPESA. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for global and local businesses to make sure they get this right and increase online payments for travel across the continent.
Another point of discussion was how travellers are not just using products like TripAdvisor for leisure purposes – rather more and more corporate travel policies take advantage of user generated content like this as a trusted source to verify and justify travel booked for business purposes.
I had the opportunity to speak about mobile travel technology, and found that this hot topic drew significant interest. With more mobile phones in Africa than people – adoption of this technology is crucial across the travel industry. WTM Africa made it clear that success in Africa hinged on understanding what is important to people – and mobile is clearly tops on that list.
In fact, it was clear that the key trend acknowledged at WTM was definitely that of mobility and technology, and how they influence and impact travel across the globe.
Social Media at WTM Africa
We kept track of Twitter during the event – have a look at a few of our favourite tweets below:
— Nazii siddiqui (@NaziiSiddiqui) May 2, 2014
The travel industry is a dynamic and exciting landscape. WTM Africa has brought a new wealth of knowledge and resources for the industry to think about and we look forward to seeing the growth that next year’s event will undoubtedly see.
Let us know what you thought about the event – please feel free to comment and ask us questions – we’d love to hear from you!