A group of SMMEs engaged in inbound tourism are eagerly anticipating their participation at World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2015, and the opportunity it affords for exposure to a wide range of international travel markets.
The group are all members of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), which recently signed a Supporting Association Agreement with the organisers of WTM Africa 2015, Thebe Reed Exhibitions. The trade show takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from April 15-17.
“As part of this partnership, SATSA is facilitating the complimentary participation of selected SMME members,” says David Frost, Chief Executive Officer of SATSA. “This is a great opportunity for our smaller members to access quality overseas buyers. We are excited about it and would like to thank WTM Africa for their vision in working with SATSA to make this happen.” Tsogo Sun is generously assisting with accommodation for these participants.
Port Elizabeth-based Calabash Tours is one of the participants that will journey to Cape Town to tempt international buyers with its niche product that introduces travellers to Eastern Cape communities. Comments Director and Co-owner Paul Miedema: “Our products range from township experiences to rural villages, to academic travel for student and school groups and an individual volunteer programme. Our products are not main stream, but are designed to benefit the visitor and the visited. They are aligned with what the market seems to want more of – products that create an emotional connection to South Africa. We hope to meet a few more like-minded operators with whom we can begin to collaborate, to network with other SMMEs and to attend some of the learning sessions focusing on Responsible Tourism at WTM Africa.”
Joe Motsogi of JMT Tours is a veteran of the Soweto tour, specialises in excursions in an around Jozi and also offers packaged tours of up to 28 days in length. He hopes WTM Africa will assist him in growing his company beyond its 18 years, to reach even more markets than it currently serves.
It’s a goal echoed by Faiz Noordien, Managing Director of Legend Tours, who states: “As an SMME that never had the opportunity to exhibit our product offering to the international market, this exhibition will afford Legend Tours a breakthrough by exposing our brand to all hosted and Buyers Club delegates [international buyers with potential to generate genuine business leads].” The Legend Tours portfolio offers products suited to leisure travellers, honeymooners, golfers, shoppers and incentive groups. Noordien hopes to pursue business from the UK, Middle East and Africa.
Siyabulela Siyaka of Ubizo Events and Tours, a tour operator specialising in the vibrant Cape Town townships of Langa, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha, has had the benefit of international WTM exposure, having attended the 2011 event in London. At WTM Africa 2015 he will be re-launching a cycling tour as an eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle alternative and seeking to leverage strategic relationships with mutual value-adds.
He states: “We hope to secure relationships with key industry players to facilitate a consistent end-user flow to our business across our product ranges, so that we can re-allocate resources spent on marketing towards assets-base building and broad internal investment.”
Other SMMEs attending the show are Ntandokazi Tours; Ntwanano Tours & Travel; Tsheola Dinare Tours & Transport; Buja Tours; Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers and Main Street Walks and Curiocity Backpackers.
“WTM® Africa is proud to support small business enterprises within the travel industry in helping them realise their potential for growth when engaging with international buyers. We look forward to providing the platform for these businesses to further contribute to the growth of the African economy,” says Carol Weaving, CEO of Thebe Reed Exhibitions.
SATSA will also man a stand at WTM Africa 2015, performing the crucial function of offering destination knowledge to travel buyers. “The absence of South African Tourism at the show has left a ‘knowledge gap’, and SATSA has stepped into the breach,” comments David Frost. SATSA’s Western Cape chapter will also host a panel discussion at WTM Africa on Friday, April 17 at 15h30.
Open to all members of the travel trade, panellists will discuss means of achieving a wider spread of tourists throughout the province.