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Top trends in tourism sector unpacked at The Hotel & Hospitality Show 2022

The Hotel & Hospitality Show 2022 is on at the Sandton Convention Centre until May 21. Pictures: Supplied

The Hotel & Hospitality Show 2022 is on at the Sandton Convention Centre until May 21. Pictures: Supplied

Published May 19, 2022

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The Hotel & Hospitality Show is back for its fifth run and this year’s theme is “Redefining Hospitality – Recovering for Future Growth”.

With the tourism industry being among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic since 2020, the hospitality sector had to adapt to uncertain times.

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That said, the industry is steadily galvanising support from local and international tourists.

In the press release issued, it was confirmed the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) noted a 12% rise in tourism arrivals in Africa in 2021 compared with 2020.

The latest UNWTO panel of experts also revealed a more optimistic outlook and a stronger pace of recovery for 2022 and beyond, with international tourism expected to reach pre-Covid levels on the continent by 2024.

At the event, which takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from May 19 to 21, buyers and brands from sub-Saharan Africa will be discussing the latest trends and innovations driving the continent’s tourism revival.

In an interview with IOL Travel, Evan Schiff, portfolio director of Food, Hospitality and Trade at dmg events, shed light on what can be expected from the event this year.

Evan Schiff oversees The Hotel & Hospitality Show.

He said: “We will have 55 exhibitors showcasing a variety of products and services for the sector. This includes our new Enterprise Development Pavilion, where we are providing a platform for market access to 13 curated SMME black- and women-owned companies in the sector.”

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Expanding on the theme, he commented: “The hospitality and tourism sector has been one of the worst-hit during the course of the Covid pandemic and especially the lockdowns and travel restrictions.

“This has forced a level of innovation on the sector where hotels, restaurants and all other operators have been forced to reimagine their businesses to survive.

“Together with our advisory board we have identified some of the best strategies from around the world and will be bringing top speakers to talk on what has worked for other establishments and what South African operators need to know.

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“This includes the use of technology and online marketing as well as ensuring the most efficient use of assets and identifying new revenue streams from already owned assets.

“As a platform for the industry, we want to bring together the opportunity to learn, network and take their businesses forward.”

There is also a fair amount of focus on experiential tourism in townships.

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“The township economy represents some 5% of GDP, so this is a simply massive sector throughout South Africa, with millions reliant on this sector for their livelihoods.

“As such, we want to provide opportunities for operators to access new markets in the formal economy, as well as to expose hospitality property owners in the townships to the latest trends in the sector,” Schiff added.

“By strengthening the businesses within the township economy we can make sure this sector grows. A stronger sector equals more jobs which in turn supports the whole of the country. We are proud to do our small part to contribute to its development and success.”

An exhibition at The Hotel & Hospitality Show 2022

On the subject of responsive restaurant planning, Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen will lead a fireside chat on the evolution of dining, the future of restaurant design as well as how to anticipate future consumer eating behaviour, preferences and spending changes.

Other prominent industry speakers include Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, chief operating officer, City Lodge Hotel Group; Lee-Anne Bac, director, BDO South Africa; and Fabio Nava, vice-president: Hotels & Hospitality Sub-Saharan Africa, JLL.

Schiff said: “We have over 30 incredible speakers on a range of topics that will allow for learnings on systems, techniques and technologies that can help hospitality operators – from restaurants to guest houses to international hotel groups – to identify opportunities to maximise their revenues and provide improving levels of service.”

Like so many industries, Covid-19 challenged the hospitality sector to pivot as well.

He elaborated: “It is no doubt that Covid-19 has been extremely disruptive to the sector, with travel bans and lockdowns forcing customers to stay home and therefore hospitality businesses with empty properties.

“But disruption can also lead to opportunity – the trick is being able to identify and act on that opportunity.

“The pivot in question is an almost complete reassessment of the hospitality business model – if you have no guests, what else can you do with the assets you have to earn revenue?

There will be several panel discussions at the event.

“This has led to innovations such as hotels catering for the digital nomad – international workers who work remotely and need somewhere comfortable and beautiful to do it from.”

He continued: “Renting a hotel room in Cape Town for a month while being able to work and be paid in dollars is a very enticing proposition.

“It has been crucial for hotels and restaurants to identify these new types of customers and new demands in the market to be able to pivot their service offering to take advantage of this.

“Other avenues include the use of technology for online booking, check-in, in-room ordering and check-out. The sector has needed to look at integrating technology more into its offering, so Covid-19 has also forced their hand to bring these systems online.”

This event is insightful to anyone in the hospitality sector or interested in it.

Please log on to www.thehotelshowafrica.com for a full listing of the workshops, speakers and featured side events – from the Global Pizza Challenge to the Southern African Housekeepers League of Champions.

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