Following its success in Asia and the Middle East, WiT (Web in Travel) will host its debut WiT Africa conference in Cape Town, drawing focus on the growth and potential of the African travel market and its connection with Asia.
The first WiT Africa, to be held on May 28 at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, will explore the opportunities and dynamism of a region that echoes what has been seen in Asia’s emerging markets – fragmented, diverse, online and full of promise.
According to the Jumia Hospitality Report Africa 2019, Africa is the second-fastest growing tourism region in the world after APAC. Inbound travel grew 5.6% in 2018 with 67m international arrivals that same year, an increase of 7% from 2017. Ethiopia is ranked as Africa’s fastest growing travel market, growing by 48.6% in 2018, and worth $7.4bn.
Meanwhile, South Africa plans to double tourist arrivals to 21m by 2030.
Outbound travel is also growing at scale with a population that is young, urban, and highly mobile and social.
The mobile industry is estimated to contribute $185bn to Africa’s economy (9.1% of total GDP) by 2023. Africa is the second largest internet population after China, with smartphone adoption predicted to rise from 36% in 2018 to 66% by 2025.
“It is a natural next step for WiT to look beyond the rapid growth in Asia and see which markets are chasing its tail with respect to travel, digital and mobile. While each market undoubtedly bears its own unique qualities, WiT will connect the dots and see what lessons can be applied on both sides,” said WiT founder, Yeoh Siew Hoon.
At WiT Africa, players across all travel verticals and markets will come together to share their insights on how technology is changing customer behaviour and how global and local brands must evolve and adapt to stay relevant. Bringing together online travel agencies, aviation, hospitality, tours & activities and destination marketing, WiT will uncover how they are harnessing technology to change the game in online travel.
The one-day conference will also explore the inbound and outbound opportunities in the region. Drawing on its Asia expertise and network, WiT will share insights into how African travel brands can capture the hearts and tourism dollars of APAC travellers.
The programme will also emphasise Africa’s start-up ecosystem and how it is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, as well as highlighting new businesses that have caught the eye of prominent investors.
Powered by foundation sponsors, Travelstart, Wego and Cleartrip, WiT Africa 2020 is also supported by Destination Partner, Singapore Tourism Board (STB). It is expected to attract up to 200 delegates interested in harnessing the travel markets of Africa and Asia.
“As one of the most developed economies in Africa, South Africa is a growing market in the Singapore Tourism Board’s market portfolio,” said Chang Chee Pey, assistant chief executive, International Group, Singapore Tourism Board.
Visitor arrivals from South Africa to Singapore registered 5.5% and 10.9% growth in 2017 and 2018 respectively. “Increased flight connectivity between the two countries presents us the opportunity to develop South Africa as a source market, and for Singapore to serve as a gateway for South Africans to explore South-east Asia.”