This feedback report is a guest post by Ronald S. Mracký, Managing Director of Africa Consult Group.
The annual Los Angeles and the San Diego Travel & Adventure Shows in Southern California just ended recently – these two shows service the largest long-haul leisure travel market concentration and provide the largest percentage of US leisure travellers to Africa.
The Los Angeles show floor had an excellent showing of Africa operators, 20 Africa tour companies in total – Tanzania was especially well represented with five operators, Rovos Rail was present and South African Tourism had a major, front-row booth at the show. Two highlights for the travel trade were the hosted breakfast by South African Tourism, with a theme of ‘Meet South Africa’, and the industry presentation of West and ‘Safari’ Africa by the Southern California Africa Tourism Association (SoCalATA). The latter was attended by over two dozen front-line travel sellers and several outbound operators, as well as several consortium executives.
SoCalATA always has a floor booth within the Africa section of the two shows, where they serve as an information booth for Africa travel planning and the consumer meeting place to learn more of Africa. SoCalATA utilises these two-day weekend shows primarily to interact with the show consumer attendees and serves as a market research opportunity to judge the market as well as register any concerns Africa travel planners, as well as sellers might have.
This year, interviews brought out two very important points repeatedly. With the increased awareness of female safety issues, the women attending the show seemed to feel at ease relating and freely discussing two important aspects for Africa tourism – the woman solo traveller and the associated concerns with personal safety and the persistent single supplement issue. This is the major ‘take-away’ for this year’s planners on both sides of the Atlantic.
For whatever it is worth, we always learn what the market is basing its travel destination decisions on. Interestingly it does change from year to year, and gives our members the insights of today’s travelling public’s views and planning outlook of their Africa travel plans.