Nomad Africa Magazine - - Tourism Updates | Wtm Africa - Words: KRISTIE OMAR

iIn­ter­na­tional trade shows have the po­ten­tial to not only launch smaller tourism busi­nesses, but also as­sist them in grow­ing their cus­tomer base, forg­ing re­la­tions with in­ter­na­tional buy­ers, and cre­at­ing in­fi­nite em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties within the tourism and pe­riph­ery sec­tors. "World Travel Mar­ket (WTM) Africa recog­nises the im­por­tance that small tourism busi­nesses play within the African travel land­scape and as such will con­tinue to ded­i­cate ef­forts to­wards show­cas­ing these smaller busi­nesses through its pow­er­ful plat­forms," says Chardon­nay March­esi, Gen­eral Man­ager of Africa Travel Week, who fur­thered that SMME pro­grammes will once again be sup­ported through the City of Cape Town, SATSA, FEDHASA and the Depart­ment of Tourism.

Hosted pan­els dur­ing WTM Africa 2017 turned the dis­cus­sions to how smaller busi­nesses are bet­ter off than in pre­vi­ous years and cer­tain tech­nolo­gies have re­sulted in bet­ter mar­ket ac­cess.

"As the de­mand for ex­pe­ri­en­tial tourism grows in source mar­kets,, there is an in­creas­ing need for des­ti­na­tions to pro­vide a rich diver­sity of prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences. Dis­in­ter­me­di­a­tion with the growth of sites like TripAd­vi­sor, Airbnb and Vi­a­tor has eased mar­ket ac­cess," re­ported Harold Good­win, WTM Re­spon­si­ble Tourism Ad­vi­sor.

Good­win lead a panel dis­cus­sion cen­tered on var­i­ous ways in which small tourism busi­nesses can mar­ket their unique ex­pe­ri­en­tial of­fer­ings, as well as the chal­lenges that cur­rently face busi­nesses just like these, in­clud­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the for­mal and emerg­ing sec­tors of tourism, should there be a level of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in place, and what role tourism of­fices play in the quest to spread busi­ness evenly be­tween large and small busi­ness.

"WTM Africa pro­vides the per­fect plat­form for emerg­ing en­ter­prises from the tourism in­dus­try to network and do

busi­ness with travel trade pro­fes­sion­als from over 70 coun­tries. We are pleased with our part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Depart­ment of Tourism, City of Cape Town and our as­so­ci­a­tion part­ners who have pri­ori­tised the need for sup­port­ing emerg­ing tourism en­ter­prises to ben­e­fit from WTM Africa," says Su­gen Pil­lay, Com­mer­cial Direc­tor for Reed Ex­hi­bi­tions.

Septi Bukula, Network Founder of SEEZA Des­ti­na­tion Network - a full-ser­vice des­ti­na­tion man­age­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion (DMC) that utilises SMMEs, says of the ini­tia­tives laid out: "This part­ner­ship with WTM Africa, an es­tab­lished and glob­ally re­spected brand in the travel in­dus­try, is of sig­nif­i­cant strate­gic im­por­tance to SEEZA Des­ti­na­tion Network and its mem­bers. It speaks to the Network's high­est as­pi­ra­tion, namely, to po­si­tion its mem­bers as recog­nised play­ers in the tourism in­dus­try both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally."

"This re­la­tion­ship will open up the all-im­por­tant and highly in­valu­able ac­cess to key in­dus­try play­ers across the globe, which will un­doubt­edly un­lock sig­nif­i­cant busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for Network mem­bers," fur­thers Bukula.

Through con­tin­ued col­lab­o­ra­tion such as this one be­tween WTM Africa and its part­ners, WTM Africa will main­tain fo­cus on al­low­ing small busi­nesses to be showcased to the in­ter­na­tional travel trade. Work­shops dur­ing the run-up, ded­i­cated events at next year’s WTM Africa, and post-show train­ing will en­able these small busi­nesses to cre­ate and main­tain rich, last­ing re­la­tion­ships with key buy­ers in at­ten­dance at next year’s WTM Africa.

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