Thursday, May 15, 2014

There’s no denying the huge opportunities for travel and tourism in Africa. Yet, surprisingly, the continent currently sees less than 5% of the world’s tourism arrivals. Moreover, luxury travel is the fastest-growing segment of the travel market worldwide. And, with international buyers and suppliers in the high-end experiential travel market inundated with so many travel and trade shows, they are, as a business imperative, becoming increasingly selective.

“We Are Africa” inaugural exhibition

By invitation only, exclusive African and Indian Ocean travel brands came together last week (5 – 8 May 2014) to connect with various top international buyers. Hot on the heels of other, more established events, this four-day newcomer promised, and delivered on, what could be the most exciting new trade show for the luxury travel market on the African continent.

This year’s programme

We Are Africa is all about taking the trade show genre to the next level by offering a distinctive business experience. In addition to the expected trade show, pre-scheduled appointments, buyers did more than discover Africa’s products. They also learned about the continent’s unique challenges, innovations, and untapped opportunities. The programme included pre-tours, a conference and workshops, appointments, networking lunches and parties, and an awards evening.

“Innovation Awards” Night

The first We Are Africa Innovation Awards ceremony was held last Wednesday night at GOLD Restaurant. Guests were welcomed with a glass of bubbly containing 24 carat gold and proceeded to the multi-level restaurant and function areas. Beautifully attired African hosts and hostesses served tasty African cuisine from all over the continent. The menu included, among others, Moroccan prawn briouates, Zambian Imfino patties, Namibian Springbok potjie, Tanzanian Fried Fish, and Cape Malva pudding. African drummers “called” guests into the awards area between the main course and dessert and the nominees and winners in six categories were honoured.

And the winners are…

Contemporary Design: Babylonstoren
Original Itinerary: Wilderness Safaris
Community Engagement: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Conservation Project: &Beyond
Campaign Strategy: Passage to Africa
Rebranding African Travel: Roar Africa

Looking ahead

Few would disagree that travellers from all over the world are looking for real adventure experiences. And, Africa is, by all accounts one of the most beautiful and exciting, relatively untapped continents in the world. Serge Dive, CEO and Founder of Beyond Luxury Media Ltd, the driving force behind We Are Africa explains his vision: * “… we want to unlock Africa from the tired old tropes that obscure its true potential. We passionately want to generate a movement that will promote a more modern, dynamic and positive image outwards of Africa and bring a plethora of new business in. (We Are Africa) is a travel trade show that understands the vital importance of defying the existing clichés … to allow Africa to compete on a global scale”.

 * From an article by Alice Merin

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