Cape Town Time:


Hosting Africa’s biggest travel show

28 May 2019

Every year scores of travel trade professionals from across the globe descend on Cape Town for World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, the continent’s leading B2B exhibition for inbound and outbound African travel and tourism markets.

The event is part of Africa Travel Week, a series of co-located shows hosted by the City of Cape Town.

Bolt-on events in 2019 (the 6th consecutive year of the show) included WTM Africa Festivals, a social experience after the traditional working hours at WTM Africa; an African Tourism Investment Summit focused on unlocking the tourism potential of Africa; and a Sports & Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) conference.

Says Sugen Pillay, commercial director for Reed Exhibitions, organisers of Africa Travel Week: “The feedback from international buyers and attendees is absolutely positive. The buyers are always impressed with what Cape Town has to offer. Many of them haven’t been to the continent before. When they come here they sample the destination, and then the business happens. We bring in new buyers every year. The products have been amazing, the service levels excellent and the hospitality world-class.”

Choosing Cape Town was an easy decision, says Pillay, because it’s what the international buyers wanted. “We do a lot of research before a show. When we started off, over 90% of buyers requested for the show to be in Cape Town. It would be foolish of us to move it to another destination. Every year we ask the same question and get the same response. The city is doing something right to attract these buyers.”

Cape Town is known as a premier tourism destination globally. The city is the positioning factor for South Africa globally.

International buyers and media from key source markets will this year get a first-hand experience of the city’s local tourism offering. They will be taken on tours of the city’s tourism gems in Khayelitsha, Muizenberg and Atlantis.

“The buyers tours into the communities is a great initiative by the City of Cape Town,” says Pillay. “WTM Africa provides the platform for the City to promote these emerging businesses. Buyers are always looking for new offerings, the traditional offerings are known. We are now attracting millennials – they are not interested in wildlife, they want authentic, cultural, rhythmic experiences which Cape Town is starting to showcase.”

Africa Travel Week has experienced phenomenal growth, between 6 – 10%, over the past five years. “Last year, over ZAR40bn of deals came out of Africa Travel Week,” says Pillay. “That is astronomical. The bulk of that business has come into the Western Cape. We are bringing buyers that are serious about doing business and investing in Africa.”