Africa Travel Week focuses on creating opportunities for the industry this Tourism Month. Picture: Pexels
Africa Travel Week focuses on creating opportunities for the industry this Tourism Month. Picture: Pexels

WATCH: Africa Travel Week goes virtual this Tourism Month

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Sep 2, 2020

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Africa Travel Week (ATW) is celebrating Tourism Month with the launch of their Meetings & Masterclasses: a virtual offering set to keep the industry engaged and connected during the build-up to their live event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from April 7-9, 2021.

ATW comprises World Travel Market Africa (WTM), International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTMA), EQUAL Africa, ibtm Africa and Travel Forward, a string of B2B trade shows expected to generate an estimated $451-million worth of business at the 2020 edition, which was postponed until April next year.

Megan Oberholzer, Portfolio Director: Travel, Tourism and Creative Industries at Reed Exhibitions, said their efforts to reimagine the live shows is to #makingtravelhappenagain.

"In other words, giving tourism a real chance to recover, and offering stakeholders every opportunity to rebuild their business ties and networks within the sector.

"The result is our online platform, Africa Travel Week Connect, and Meetings & Masterclasses - a series of virtual sessions running from September to October. We’ve moved away from panels and PowerPoints. Instead, we’re tapping into our solid network of industry experts and experienced travellers who can share their insider tips and help businesses strike the right balance between implementing necessary safety measures and delivering authentic experiences,” she explained.

Part one will focus on how businesses can better position themselves within new or often overlooked market segments predicted to travel first to Africa as restrictions ease. It kicks off with The Luxury Traveller on September 9, led by luxury traveller and consultant, Anthony Berklich, who is currently visiting Kenya and whose travels average around 200,000 miles per year and tally to over 80 countries.

This session will be followed by The African Diaspora traveller on September 15 with Naledi Kabo, CEO of the African Tourism Association and The LGBTQ+ traveller on September 16 with Tanya Churchmunch, the founder of MuchPR, an independent PR firm focusing on travel, lifestyle and LGBTQ markets.

The Post-Covid traveller on September 17 will be hosted by Anita Mendiratta, strategic advisor to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, The World Bank Group, WTTC, IATA and ATAG in Tourism, Aviation and Development.

In addition to ATW’s Meetings & Masterclasses, the travel and tourism community can also sign-up for WTM Virtual. This two-day event organised by WTM London will run from November 2–4, 2020.

“Designed for those who can’t travel to the live show in London, this virtual show will be based on one platform, leveraging the global reach of Reed Exhibitions, and welcoming all of the WTM shows’ exhibitors and buyers,” said Oberholzer, “It is set to be one of the largest gatherings of travel professionals from around the world.”

And while the digital experience of ATW’s Meetings & Masterclasses will bring together a range of travel operators, lodge owners, media and travel marketers seeking to learn, engage and connect this Tourism Month, Oberholzer emphasises that it is not meant to replace live trade shows, but rather enhance the synergy between physical and digital events and opportunities.

“The conversations with our international buyers from South Africa and Africa’s top source markets have been ongoing, and the feedback as to their attendance at the live show is a resounding ‘yes’. It all just depends on the travel advisories in place during that time.”

The format for the 2021 trade shows is expected to change, allowing for greater distance between stands and seating areas.

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