This year’s WTM was a hive of activities within and outside the SA Tourism stand. Although the SAT stand was smaller this year, taking a lesser space compared to Botswana, which occupied the prime front space at the show. Nevertheless, it was pleasing to note that product owners who are essential for showcasing South Africa at the show mostly occupied the stand. In total, the SAT stand carried a broad range of product owners including amongst them, tour operators, DMOs, individual accommodation establishments and airlines. The South Africa contingent at WTM included some SMMEs that were selected and supported through the NDT’s Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP).  This year’s show was attended by the National Minister of Tourism, Ms. Tokozile Xasa; Minister Alan Winde of the Western Cape Provincial Government; and the Director General, Mr. Victor Tharage. 
 Some of the key highlights of the show are as follows:

  • An interesting observation was the coming together of the East African countries when they decided to combine their exhibition stands though they still displayed their individual names. This venture included Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. This follows their collaboration at ITB 2016.
  • The World Tourism Awards recognizing the leadership of Rwanda’s President by bestowing him with an award during the ceremony at WTM
  • The UNWTO Tourism Minister’s session at WTM, which focused amongst other issues on the challenge of what is termed “over tourism” and discussing ways to address it in view of growing backlash from communities in the affected destination; and the effect of the Sharing Economy and Technology as a disruptor in the sector

Global Trends Report 2016 – Africa leads the growth in wellness travel
As always, a highlight from WTM London is the release of the WTM Global Trends Report. The report highlights the emerging trends in the global travel and tourism industry. This week we focus on Africa and share notable findings from the report:

  • Africa continues to see solid growth in travel and tourism. However, airlines and accommodation establishments are now seeing stronger growth than ever before, with South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria the biggest performers.
  • Intermediaries remain the most trusted source for booking travel services throughout Africa, returning to prominence after a decline in previous years.
  • Travellers’ are increasingly considering health and wellness, while seeking unique and authentic experiences. The Global Wellness Summit found that in 2014, wellness travel (travel with a purpose of improving health and wellbeing) was growing 74% more than regular global travel. In Africa this has been seen in a rise in the concept of “wellness in the wilderness”, where a traditional safari break is accompanied by meditation, yoga and spa services. Typically, consumers of these types of breaks are relatively older and wealthy, often female, and looking for more than just a typical African getaway.
  • Time is becoming crucial in a world where everything moves fast, so a safari in the middle of nowhere with loved ones is the ultimate form of wellness travel. The mindfulness trend also combines well with travellers’ increasing interest in sustainable and reduced-footprint holidays, and helps accommodation providers offer a luxury service to their guests. Resorts such as Karkloof, situated within a 3,500-hectare game reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal, combines therapeutic spa treatments with a true safari experience.
  • The vast majority of mindful safaris are in South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania.

Click Here to download the full Global Trends Report revealed at WTM 2017

WTM 2017 Top 100 City Ranking reveals Africa embraces the idea of open borders
A key discussion item at this year’s trade show was how African countries are prioritising visa-free travel around the continent for Africans and foreign visitors. This was then also revealed at the launch of the Top 100 City Destination Ranking WTM London 2017 Edition.  The report reveals that in stark contrast to the US and Europe, where there are increasing calls for stronger border controls and barring certain travellers from entry, African leaders are seeing travel and tourism as a way to boost the economic prosperity of the continent. The report identifies Ghana as one of the African countries giving its full backing to the Agenda 2063 (which advocates for visa-free intra-African travel for Africans). Perhaps South Africa should be doing more to learn on Ghana’s visa free model?  Click here to download your FREE report and read more.

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