One of Africa’s leading travel and trade shows, the World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) was held in Cape Town on 11-13 April 2022. This is one of six shows in the WTM portfolio, with the Africa show being launched in 2014 under the Africa Travel Week umbrella. WTM Africa is a business-to-business exhibition for both the inbound and outbound African travel and tourism markets. About 500 hosted buyers met with more than 400 exhibitors over the three days of the exhibition.

Tourism specialist and consultant, Roland Vorwerk, represented The African Nature-Based Tourism Platform in the Conference Programme on two panels on 12 April 2022. A Platform presentation was made during both panel sessions providing a project and partner overview, a slide on the data clearing house and a slide outlining the unique value proposition of the Platform.

The panel topics:

African Tourism Investment Summit – Supporting resilience initiatives through adequate funding to ensure the viable future of Africa’s tourism businesses, with the following panelists:

WTM Responsible Tourism – How can the travel and tourism industry contribute more to conservation and nature recovery? With the following panelists:

A video of this panel discussion can be accessed here:

A YouTube playlist for the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Day programme can be accessed on the following link:

The Africa Travel Week Trends Report release that week articulated three broad themes:

  • Available travel and tourism data indicates that tourism will recover – the ForwardKeys Traveller Statistics indicates that there is high demand and interest for countries such as South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya, while issued tickets for travel to sub Saharan Africa are currently at 70% of 2019 levels. Improved flight schedules and seat capacity have been the main drivers for these destinations.
  • Great potential exists for Africa in expanding air connectivity with key source markets, as well as new and emerging source markets. Besides increased air connectivity, the African continent will also need to look at simplifying entry requirements as this will be key to attracting visitors.
  • The key enabling factor of the travel industry and governments of various countries working together to consolidate their attractions, creating marketing strategies and making intra continental travel much easier was highlighted.

The Trends Report further outlined the 10 most important trends that will determine travel and tourism to Africa in a post-pandemic world:

  1. Greenwashing won’t cut it anymore: Greater transparency. More accountability
  2. African cuisine will take its place at the global table: Mouth-watering African cuisine speaks for itself, but the African tourism industry must do its part to prepare potential tourists for African gastronomy and to create excitement around it.
  3. Diversity: ‘The diversity traveller’ emerges — people with needs beyond the nuclear couple or family, such as single women travelling alone, single-parent families, etc.
  4. Accessibility will be a game changer for tourism: Tourism environments and services will need to be designed with different access requirements in mind.
  5. Luxury is no longer about money: It’s about time and wellness. Travelling with purpose, meaningful experiences, bucket-list destinations and itineraries, and exclusive escapes (travel bubbles and remote locations away from the crowds) are the main luxury travel trends we’ll see in Africa.
  6. Travel Bubbles: The pandemic may be largely behind us, but ‘travel bubbles’ are here to stay with a marked increase in demand for multigenerational trips. Africa is ideally positioned to tap into this exciting trend.
  7. From over-tourism to impact tourism: Restorative safaris that make a positive impact on conservation and communities will become more popular, as will intimate and authentic experiences.
  8. Slow tourism is coming of age: People are taking longer trips with fewer stops, the coming of age of what has been coined ‘slow tourism’.
  9. Flexcation, leisure, workcation − the workforce of tomorrow: Employees are now insisting on a more flexible workplace with a renewed focus on work-life balance. This new trend is creating incredible opportunities for destinations in Africa.
  10. Tech and human connection go hand-in-hand: Most of us have forgotten how to live – and travel – without technology. The pandemic has accelerated our adoption of technology even further.