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    Photo credit by Sabi Sabi Game Reseve, Kruger National Park, South Africa

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Changing mindsets key to boosting travel in Africa, WTM Vision Conference hears


Mobile technology, easier ways to pay, more low-cost flights, and cheaper accommodation are fueling more travel within Africa – but the key to increasing the pace of change is through changing mindsets, delegates at the WTM (World Travel Market) Vision Conference – Cape Town will hear today, Wednesday, April 15 2015.

Exclusive research from Euromonitor International will reveal that although prices are coming down and it’s now easier to research and book, the biggest barrier to travel is perception among Africans.

Ronald Tinashe, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International, who will present the findings, said: “It’s much cheaper for someone to fly from South Africa to the UK as opposed to going to other countries around Southern Africa. In addition, travel costs are a high percentage of people’s disposable income.

“Although this is slowly changing, most Africans assume travelling is for high net-worth individuals – they have limited knowledge about the availability of affordable accommodation options, such as B&Bs and motels.

“But it’s not just about income – it comes down to development and culture. Many Africans believe travelling is the last thing money should be spent on and the culture is not one in which people save money to travel.

“Travel is simply not a priority for people and because of this we are not really seeing the potential of local people contributing to their economies through tourism.”

Tinashe says one key to accelerating change is mobile internet.

“Laptops have always been expensive, but smart phones are relatively cheap and as a result, more people are using them,” he said.

“Smart phones make it easier for airlines and other companies to interact, with apps that can allow users to quickly find out the cost of travel and realise it is more affordable than they may have thought.

“It’s proving a preferred method of enquiry, rather than going to a travel agent and leaving the shop because the price is too expensive. Searching on a smart phone can save the embarrassment if the price is too high.”

In his presentation, Tinashe will also discuss other movements in Africa that are breaking down the barriers to travel, such as more low-cost carriers entering the market; lower air taxes (for example, in Kenya); unlimited access to certain attractions for local people in South Africa – which Euromonitor believes will be followed in other markets – and the introduction of alternative payment methods, such as mobile phone payment.

“Until recently, the majority of travel has been booked and paid for using a credit card – which most Africans don’t possess. The introduction of alternative payment methods is a boost,” Tinashe explained.

World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “The research unveils the huge importance tourism plays not only in South Africa but across the continent. Yet currently, local people are unable or unlikely to contribute because of several key factors. The availability of affordable travel options is one factor, but the barriers to travel in Africa are much more deep-rooted. As the Euromonitor International report shows, Africans have other priorities and the culture of saving up to travel simply isn’t there.

“Yet things are very slowly starting to change. The advent of smart phones, low-cost carriers, government initiatives and easier payment options means that people are travelling – and are contributing to the economy.”

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

WTM, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.

World Travel Market is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s WTM portfolio, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com

WTM is owned by the worldʼs leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which also organises other portfolios of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.

In 2014, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

 Source: eTN Global Travel Industry News

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