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By Jana-Mari Smith
Six Namibian Tourism companies have already signed up to take part in the first ever World Travel Market – Africa (WTM Africa).
This two-day event, taking place in Cape Town at the beginning of May, is aimed at providing a single platform for the leisure travel industry – in order to “bring the world to Africa and promoting Africa to the world’s leading source markets”.
WTM Africa will attract exhibitors from all categories of the leisure travel industry within sub-Sahara Africa as well as North African destinations, aligning itself with sister events; WTM, WTM Latin America, Arabian Travel Market and International French Travel Market Top Resa.
Africa’s tourism industry was 8.7% of the continent’s GDP in 2011 at $164 billion, making it the fourth largest sector and employing 19 million people (8% of total jobs), according to research by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
According to the organizer of WTM Africa, Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), the rate of tourism growth in Africa is one of the highest in the world, higher than that in Asia. “We believe the time is right now for Africa to take a bigger role on the global tourism stage”, the organizers say.
WTM Africa will host a mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited trade visitors from all over Africa and the globe. They aim to host 700 exhibiting companies, including tourist offices, airlines and transport providers, hotels and lodges, tour operators, wholesalers and destination management companies. Overall, they hope to attract 4 500 travel trade professionals as visitors.
WTM Africa will take place as part of the new World Travel Market Africa, which starts on April 28 alongside fellow RTE events IBTM Africa and ILTM Africa.