To ensure that the ongoing interest in travel to Africa from the 250 buyers attending Africa Travel Week 2021 this week is converted to bookings, tourism suppliers need to be adapt to the changing needs of the key source markets.
“ATW 2021 provides the platform for the tourism sector to move from tourism recovery to tourism readiness,” said City of Cape Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities, James Vos, speaking at the opening of the three-day ATW 2021 which kicked off in Cape Town this morning (April 7).
Carol Weaving, MD of Reed Exhibitions Africa – which organises ATW – agreed, noting that the value of the tourism deals signed during ATW 2019 was over US$350 million. “The interest shown in travel to Africa by buyers this year has been incredible and we’re excited to provide a platform to help sell travel to the continent,” she said.
Vos noted that the City of Cape Town was leveraging the lessons learnt during the drought to focus on recovery and readiness.
“We have already seen good forward bookings from domestic, regional and international tourists as the vaccine roll-out has started in earnest in the Western Cape and nationally,” he said.
The City’s plan of action is to market to both business and leisure tourists and to provide the kind of packages that entice business travellers to extend their stay. “We are also working with the private sector on a campaign to promote remote working in the City, to especially draw the younger traveller and digital nomads.”
According to Vos, pricing is also a key point for destinations looking to attract the “new normal” traveller. “I’m not saying a destination has to be cheap but it does have to offer real value.”
He emphasised that the value offered also had to be focused on responsibility to the health and safety of the traveller. “South Africa, and many other African countries, have developed world-class health and safety protocols and these need to be emphasised while marketing to our source markets,” he said.
Weaving said many new products and services, which met the latest needs and demands of the post-COVID traveller, would be showcased at ATW over the next three days.