Wrapping up its first virtual trade show, Africa Travel Week 2021, which took place from 7-9 April, featured a content programme with over 40-panel discussions and presentations by 170 international and Africa speakers on tourism-related trends in Africa and beyond, from LGBTQ+ travel and responsible tourism to business tourism and travel technology.
Included headline shows, World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) and International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa) saw buyers and tourism destinations and products connect online to reignite tourism to the continent.
"The feedback received from buyers, travel trade visitors, exhibitors and panellists have been overwhelmingly positive," said Megan Oberholzer, Reed Exhibitions South Africa portfolio director: travel, tourism and sports.
"Recognising that face-to-face meetings remain important, but balancing this with the need for our industry to connect at this time, we took a blended approach starting with a virtual event in April and live meetings later on in the year," said Oberholzer.
"The organisation and format are great," said Christophe Bazille, managing director at Hospitality Web Services attending the show. "It´s not replacing the face-to-face meetings happening during the travel fairs, but it´s great to connect again and see the positiveness of all the people we can e-meet. Tourism in Africa will definitely be back soon with such spirit and amazing destinations."
LoAnn Halden, VP Communications International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA) said: "Thank you for always supporting IGLTA and celebrating partnership and collaboration! We are proud to be part of this program and to promote welcoming Africa travel for all."
"I want to say a profound thank you for showcasing Seeza SMEs. They are so excited about the engagements they are having with buyers. We are receiving phenomenal feedback from them," said Septi Bukula, SEEZA Tourism SME Network.
"Further, the insights that the international panellists and presenters shared with delegates provided a captivating lens on the challenges our industry faces during Covid, but more than this the opportunities that exist for tourism within the constraints," said Martin Hiller, Reed Exhibitions - South Africa creative and content director: travel, tourism and creative industries.Topics of interest shared during the event included
• What does the future hold for group travel?
• Exclusive-Use Travel – the real deal or hype?
• The changing landscape of Africa’s source markets
• The New Normal: Where to go from the pandemic?
• Domestic tourism to the rescue
• Can Gen Z save the travel industry?
All the content sessions will be available on Africa Travel Week’s virtual portal until 9 May with selected sessions available from mid-May on ATW Connect. To access ATW Virtual, register here
Later in the year, Africa Travel Week will host Connect in the City Live, exclusive to ATW virtual exhibitors and a selection of hosted buyers, and comprising:
• Familiarisation tours. ATW Virtual exhibitors will benefit from the opportunity to invite international buyers to experience their products first hand.
• During this time, exhibitors will be given an opportunity to educate buyers about their products and destination during a dedicated 15-minute time slot.
• A dedicated travel and tourism conference with a top-notch speaker programme of industry thought leaders and experts.
• Our ever-popular speed networking sessions where buyers are split according to region and product interests.
• The African Travel & Tourism Awards, with a special category recognising Covid-19 campaigns that focus on reigniting travel.
Attendees and industry professionals may also remain connected and informed throughout 2021 via atwconnect.com, ATW’s dedicated resource hub jam-packed with free digital tools, industry news and updates.