Three events, one week, one venue – this is what Africa Travel Week is comprised of. A nexus for travel professionals across South Africa, the continent, and the globe, this year’s events exceeded all expectations. Organized by Thebe Reed Exhibitions and Reed Travel Exhibitions in the week of April 4-8, 2016, 3 highly-sought-after industry shows – ILTM Africa, WTM® Africa, and ibtm africa – provided a comprehensive and diverse platform for leading businesses in the inbound and outbound travel sectors to do business, all under one roof at the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC).
ILTM Africa, the specialist invitation-only table-top event, was the first experience of Africa Travel Week which opened on Monday, April 4, in the host city of Cape Town. Welcoming African suppliers of luxury travel experiences, products, and services and international buyers from 28 countries over 3 days, ILTM Africa held 4,263 quality face-to-face meetings, which is a 7% increase on the previous year. This fourth annual ILTM Africa event was hailed as an “excellent value for business” by all stakeholders attending the 3-day niche event.
ibtm africa was praised by visitors as an “excellent event for business development and knowledge enhancement” in the region with global relevance. Held on the last day of Africa Travel Week, ibtm Africa evolved from a table-top event in previous years to a high quality content-driven education program. This change occurred due to a gap in market education. The conference brought together key meeting planners from some of the leading corporates in South Africa, and suppliers from the meetings industry. Throughout the last day, the conference gave visitors insights into technology, future trends, procurement and consolidation, the benefits of foreign exchange, and the convergence of the travel and meetings industry.
The third annual World Travel Market® Africa concluded on Friday, April 8, 2016, delivered another impressive show which successfully contributed to the economic impact on the continent’s tourism sector. With more than 600 exhibitors participating in more than 7,500 prescheduled appointments before the show began, as well as an increase of over 20% on 2015 visitors and an increase on overall travel professionals at the event, WTM® Africa certainly meant business this year, with remarkable results recorded. These results have reaffirmed WTM Africa as the African continent’s leading travel trade event.
Visitors and exhibitors who participated in the 3-day event have praised this third edition as an overwhelming success, providing them with excellent opportunities to enhance the development of travel and tourism into and out of Africa, and to contribute to business development in the region with the advantage of a local presence combined with a global appeal. The WTM® Africa halls at the CTICC were abuzz for all 3 days with participants taking opportunities to engage in valuable business conversations, meet new contacts, exchange ideas, and share best practices.
The South African government significantly expressed their support with Ms. Tokozile Xasa, Deputy Minister of Tourism joining Cape Town and Cllr. Garreth Bloor in the ribbon-cutting ceremony which opened WTM® Africa on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Xasa said: “As government, we play a crucial part in creating an environment that is conducive for businesses to flourish. Our mandate can be most effectively carried out by creating robust partnerships between government and business. We continue to work in partnership with product and service owners in the tourism sector to find ways in which we can strengthen the quality of our destination offering, and the ease with which you can conduct business.”
Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Thebe Reed Exhibitions, organizers of Africa Travel Week expressed her delight in the impressive participation results: “We are extremely thrilled with the results and feedback from our third Africa Travel Week events here this week at CTICC. Many of our stakeholders have reported doing real business at their events. This all bodes well for developing business in the region which will benefit the economies of SA and Africa as a whole. We would like to thank the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Derek Hanekom, for his support while attending the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards. We are looking forward to being back here next year bringing more relevant, more engaging, and more exciting topics to Africa Travel Week 2017.”
“Thanks so much for WTM Africa 2016 – it provided a wealth of information across so many platforms; I’m grateful to have been able to have been part of it all,” said travel professional and first-time attendee of Africa Travel Week, Allison Foat.
WTM® Africa 2017 will be taking place from April 19-21 at the CTICC.