World Travel Market Africa 2018 sets positive tone for tourism sector

The World Travel Market recently brought its annual gathering back to Africa with a focus on luxury and business travel. Bolstered by ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market and IBTM (Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings), WTM Africa 2018 is the biggest tourism trade event on the continent. Understandably, there’d be criticism about hosting such an event in Cape Town, when considering the city’s current water crisis and the country’s troubled economy. However, when the value of the tourism industry to the economy is considered – it contributes around 8% to South Africa’s GDP – it’s clear why these trade events are vital.


Big events, big business
The focus at WTM Africa, which had around 7500 visitors this year, showcases African businesses and provides huge networking opportunities for industry players.


Tourism – a broad perspective
It’s also worth digging into the details of the long and short term effects of WTM Africa: 7 500 attendees to this one event is substantial when considering that they’ll likely make use of local businesses and visit tourist hotspots. The knock-on effect of the show is that business partnerships are formed and South Africa will further be able to showcase its capabilities and opportunities for business and trade development, as well as seeking opportunities to extend current operations further afield across the continent.

As we look at these opportunities and how they can help us reach our goal of adding five million travellers to South Africa, it can be easy to overlook the importance of these visitors. They’re not just leisure tourists in flip flops and sun hats, they’re movers and shakers holding the future of our economy in their hands and minds, innovators who, ultimately, will be behind sustainability in tourism.

Travel and tourism players should not miss the opportunity to capitalize on the doors opened by WTM Africa. Let’s work hard at building on the connections made so we can realise our goals.


By Scott Dunlop, Irvine Partners Account Director