International travel and hospitality heavyweight brands such as TripAdvisor, Hilton Worldwide, Starwood and the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group are among the many exhibitors signing up for the inaugural WTM Africa.
TripAdvisor, one of the world’s largest travel sites, which boasts more than 125 million reviews, is excited about participating in the show. "WTM Africa’s inaugural event this year in Cape Town gives us a great opportunity to connect with a growing market," said Doros Theodorou, Commercial Director, EMEA, TripAdvisor for Business.
"We hope to explain the value that TripAdvisor can bring to hospitality businesses in Africa that want to connect with our 260 million unique users globally, and how they can benefit from using TripAdvisor’s online marketing services," explained Theodorou.
Also amongst the confirmed exhibitors are Hilton Worldwide, featuring ten brands and 4,000 hotels across 90 countries and The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group - one of the fastest growing chains in the world which offers brands such as Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson and Hotel Missoni.
WTM Africa, which takes place on 2-3 May in Cape Town, will also feature tourist office exhibitors from across the world, including Turkey, Dubai and France.
Bailey Gorst, Account Manager, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing DTCM Southern Africa said, “Africa and Southern Africa in particular, are an important source market for DTCM, but until now we have sorely lacked the type of international travel trade exhibition opportunities. So we are delighted that the inaugural WTM Africa provides a platform for us to bring our key suppliers to exhibit alongside us and we are excited about reaching key selected buyers from all over Africa and beyond.”
Travel agents signing up include Travel Spirit of India and Portugal’s Viagens Abreu, which claims to be the world’s oldest travel agency.
Major Asian destinations will be present on the exhibition floor such as Malaysia, Singapore’s Changi Airport Group, Thailand and tour operator Asia King from Vietnam.
Regional tour operator, Khiri Travel, who specialise in in-bound tours to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will also be exhibiting at WTM Africa.
Els Van Veelen, Product & Marketing Manager for the operator said, “The direct THAI flight connecting Johannesburg with Bangkok and frequent services by Gulf-based airlines puts the Khiri offers of authentic encounters - stays in intimate boutique lodges and adventures beyond the ordinary - in easy reach of South Africans. For years we have had a great experience with WTM London, so it was a very easy decision for us to exhibit.”
A number of South African based ANTOR members (Association of National Tourist Office Representatives) will be showcased on the WTM Africa exhibition floor. President of ANTOR and Director of Atout France in South Africa, Helene Bezuidenhoudt said, “WTM Africa will benefit from the Reed knowledge, expertise and standing. WTM Africa will ensure that ANTOR needs will be met and that we will have all the necessary tools to promote the show to potential exhibitors and principals in our respective countries. This outbound travel show will highlight the amazing growth of Africa in the tourism sector, whether inbound or outbound and we are looking forward to the exchanges that will take place.”
Exhibitors will hold business discussions with leading pan African travel industry buyers, and will include a 300 strong hosted buyer programme. WTM Africa, Event Manager, Polly Magraw, said, “Africa is the next key region for international travel brands, meaning that global hotel groups, airlines, operators, agents and global technology firms are all keen to make their mark on the continent by participating at WTM Africa.”
“Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors on the African continent and it is set to continue to grow significantly over the next five years. The time is right for Africa to take a greater presence on the global stage and WTM Africa offers the perfect platform for this. Many international travel brands recognise the potential the region has and are keen to show their support for the event from the beginning. WTM Africa also offers an event programme designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of travel professionals, offering best insight into the industry and the exciting future prospects for this emerging region,” continues Polly.
World Travel Market Africa is part of South African based Thebe Reed Exhibition’s Africa Travel Week, which also includes IBTM Africa and ILTM Africa at The Cape Town International Convention Centre from 28th April – 3rd May 2014. Africa Travel Week encompasses Africa's inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel and the MICE/business travel sector. Three travel industry events in one week, under one roof.
· ILTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014
· IBTM Africa 28 – 30 April 2014
· WTM Africa 2 – 3 May 2014