No conflict between two large tourism conventions in SA - hotel expert

Cape Town - World Travel Market (WTM) Africa is taking place in Cape Town this week.

Danny Bryer, area director, sales, marketing and revenue management at Protea Hotels by Marriott, shares his views on the event with Fin24.

"Mirrored on WTM flagship events WTM London and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, WTM Africa delivers a mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. The event showcases the inbound and outbound travel markets of over 45 countries," said Bryer.

"Africa’s Travel Indaba (in Durban) is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar. It showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa's best tourism products and attracts international buyers and media from across the world."

In his view, there is no conflict between the two events. Attendees are free to select which one to go to (or both) according to their needs. There is some crossover of industry professionals attending both, but the content presented in terms of panel discussions and speakers is extremely varied.

"There are many tourism trade events across the world and each one provides access to different approaches to marketing tourism products and services and access to new markets and individuals with the promise of business development and collaboration," said Bryer.

"Since both events are well attended, there’s immense benefit to the host cities, who enjoy a boost to their economies as a result of attendees staying at hotels and other places of accommodation, airport arrivals, shuttles and tours and spend on related activities such as retail and in restaurants."

He said WTM Africa brings together 7 500 attendees, where it showcases the inbound and outbound travel markets from over 45 countries. The focus is placed on regional products and services to a global audience, showcasing African businesses.

"This year is said to be the biggest WTM Africa event yet – there were 5 000 attendees in 2017, for example, so it has gained momentum," said Bryer.

This is likely for a number of reasons, in his view, including an optimistic climate that exists around investing in tourism in developing nations across the continent and the need to capitalise on the buoyant tourism sector in terms of the opportunities that exist for business development and job creation. Business and leisure travel across Africa are on the rise.

Asked about the impact of the water crisis in Cape Town, Bryer said the city remains a popular host city, and that’s an encouragement, especially when the venue hosting WTM Africa has recognised the need to continue in its evergreen ethos of being "green" at shows.

In 2018 it will focus on water saving within its direct environment and encourage attendees to ensure they are responsible with their water use.
The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has expressed that water policies are in place and that there will be sufficient water available for all events over the period. They will be encouraging all delegates to "Save Like a Local" and ensure they use only their daily quota when visiting the Mother City.

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