Understanding the diverse needs of African diaspora travellers presents African operators with a US$63bn tourism spend opportunity.
This is according to industry experts discussing the need to fully understand the African American market, during a recent Africa Travel Week webinar.
“The diaspora is a key target audience that presents a significant opportunity to further realise Africa’s core potential,” said CEO of the AfricaTourism Association, Naledi Khabo.
According to Mandala Research, African American travellers spent US$63bn on travel in 2018 and the market is growing exponentially.
“If you walk away from this webinar with nothing else, please understand that the diaspora is not a monolith. We are all things. We are cultural travellers, luxury travellers, adventure travellers, we have accessibility needs, we are members of the LGBTQ+ community, we are baby boomers, we are millennials, and the list goes on and on,” said Khabo.
She asked the panellists what factors they took into account when choosing a destination on the African continent.
“One of the main issues as an African American travelling is that I’m going to look for a place where I’m going to be received without being perceived as a problem or as someone who’s unwelcome,” said Producer and Host of travel docu-series, Fly Brother, Ernest White.
Reflecting the diversity of the diaspora market that Khabo highlighted, other panellists added that they considered whether or not a destination was family friendly and if they would be getting an authentic African experience rather than a curated tour.
Founder of UK-based travel collective, Baba’s Fight Club, David Elikwu, offered a perspective on what diaspora travellers from the UK were looking for. “I think, particularly safety. Only because there are a lot of negative perceptions about travelling around the continent,” he said, explaining that his experience on the continent did not resemble these perceptions, and he encouraged the challenging of African stereotypes.