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The African sun shone brightly on WTM® Africa 2015 – the show comes to an end but the business continue

WTM® (World Travel Market) Africa 2015 boasts a phenomenal increase of over 18% on visitor attendance to the show on last year’s inaugural edition. This growth indicates that Africa’s largest inbound and outbound b2b exhibition is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate with widespread local, regional and international interest and participation, fulfilling the show’s vision of doing successful travel and tourism business in Africa.

The third and final day of WTM® Africa 2015 got off to a phenomenal start when Executive Mayor for the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, began her morning with a visit around WTM® Africa’s show floor to engage with local, regional and international exhibitors. The Kenyan Association of Tour Operators were fortunate enough to engage with the Executive Mayor. “WTM® Africa has been the most wonderful experience for all of us at KATO. It is our first show and I think we've had a really lovely experience and will definitely come back. We also got the chance to meet the Mayor of Cape Town. I was one of the few honored to meet her. We will definitely be back next year!"

Another highlight for the last day of WTM® Africa was the renowned Speed Networking Session. These sessions have become a key part of WTM® Africa, bringing together both exhibitors and senior buyers. “The Speed Networking session was mad but it was fantastic,” commented Hosted Buyer, Sandra Weinacht – CEO of Incantato Performance Tours.

“What a fantastic experience. The 2 minute mini-meetings allowed me to engage with a variety of African exhibitors, it was well organized. WTM® Africa this year has been perfectly arranged and all my prescheduled appointments covered everything I needed in order to make many potential leads,” says Hosted Buyer, S. Kumar – Tariff Officer of Dnata World Travel.

Apart from the exceptionally successful Hosted Buyer Speed Networking Session, was day three’s program of events. Key industry stakeholders signaled their support of The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct, (The CODE), signing their name to signify the game-changing approach to protecting children from the worst forms of exploitation.

“The Code represents one of the first initiatives to define the role and obligations of tourism companies with regard to the issue. The goal of The Code is to work with travel and tourism companies to combat this crime. WTM® Africa, Thebe Reed Exhibitions and Reed Travel Exhibitions are proud to be associated with Fair Trade Tourism and The Code by supplying the stand and the opportunity to host this event for 2 years in a row,” commented WTM® Africa’s General Manager, Chardonnay Marchesi.

Forming part of WTM® Responsible Tourism was a panel discussion on how in many source markets, there is an increasing premium being placed by consumers on EFM, experience for money. It was discussed that the quality of the tourism experience is central to maintaining the perceived value of a tour, attraction, destination, restaurant or accommodation. The viability of resource efficiency was also on the agenda, focusing on how it is good for the environment and the bottom line, reducing the carbon and water intensity of business.

Professor Kamilla Swart, Associate Professor in Tourism and Event Management also presented a panel discussion on how fostering research collaboration and knowledge sharing can enhance the performance of the tourism industry in Africa. Finally, facilitating on behalf the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), CEO David Frost opened a panel discussion on how to leverage both the direct buying market as well as working more effectively with the trade.

Congratulations must also be made to the winner of the WTM® Africa 2015 Go-Pro 4, Irene Kisaakye, who preregistered for this year’s exhibition.

WTM® Africa 2015 may be finished for the year but the feedback received from exhibitors, visitors and buyers was nothing short of exceptional. “My experience of WTM Africa has been very productive, there has been some fantastic networking opportunities. I’d say overall very good for business, and a lot of the contacts that have been made and the discussions that have been had I think are now going to lead to some promising business going forward,” said Justin Glanville of Fastjet.

West Coast Way, celebrating the Biodiversity Corridor of the West Coast, found the exhibition to be extremely fruitful for them in terms of the quality of industry professionals and buyers and connections made. “West Coast Way was able to connect with a substantial amount of affluent connections and we look forward to all the business to be done as a result,” commented CEO of West Coast Way, Carmen Lerm.

Jennifer Seif, Executive Director of Fairtrade Tourism really enjoyed her experience at WTM® Africa. “This is my first WTM-Africa” experience and now I know what all the buzz is about: fantastic product, engaged buyers and such a strong focus on responsible tourism. Fair Trade Tourism is proud to be part of the event and looks forward to following up on all the amazing contacts we’ve made.”

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