Africa, Middle East
Africa’s Travel Indaba was held last week with a call for the continent to work collaboratively to drive tourism growth, so as to accelerate the sector’s recovery.
The event was at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, with over 634 exhibitors and 625 buyers attending.
World Journeys travel designer and Africa expert Tony O’Callaghan is currently in Botswana checking out luxury camps and lodges, prior to attending the Indaba trade show in Durban, South Africa. First on the agenda was andBeyond Savute Under Canvas, a mobile camp in a wild and remote setting, followed by a luxury chalet at Savute Safari Lodge, both in wildlife-rich Chobe National Park. Next up is the famed Okavango Delta.
Adventure World general manager Caryn Young is back in Africa to reconnect face to face with suppliers and source new sustainable product that reflects the company’s new positioning statement of ‘Travel with Purpose’. Young is attending Africa’s Travel Indaba trade show in Durban, South Africa.
After a two-year pause due to Covid-19, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022 will take place in Durban from 2 to 5 May 2022 with the theme, Africa’s stories, your success.
South African Tourism’s acting chief executive officer, Themba Khumalo, says the show is specifically tailored to advancing the continent’s tourism sector needs, with a clear outlook towards recovery. ‘Buyers from across the globe will have access to only the best and uniquely African products and experiences,’ he says.
A Walker’s World is promoting its Highlights of Morocco, a guided tour with departures each Sunday for a minimum of two people.
Managing director, Jill Grant says there’s an option to spend the night in a tented Berber camp in the Sahara Desert, getting there by camel. Nights are in traditional Moroccan guesthouses – riads – while the days are spent visiting souks, bazaars, mosques and the ancient cities of Fes and Marrakech. Prices start at around $3,135 per person.
World Journeys’ Africa specialist travel designer Tony O’Callaghan says PCR tests prior to arrival are no longer required by fully vaccinated travellers for entry to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles and Mauritius.
Travellers must have proof of vaccination and there will be some Covid screening on arrival, but no quarantine is required.
‘We have all the up-to-date information for each destination, and can guide agents through the specific requirements for their clients’ bookings,’ says O’Callaghan.
World Journeys reports that families travelling with teens have a new option for safaris in Africa.
Luxury safari operator andBeyond has introduced a new series of WILDchild Eco-Guide Challenges, immersing young people in Africa’s natural wonders and cultures.
Innovative Travel has released a new 24-day tour combining traditional destination favourites Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan for 2022.
Managing Director Robyn Galloway says the tour is also being released internationally to cater for markets seeking a small group tour experience, who are ready and able to travel.
High-end enquiries for bespoke FIT and inter-generational holidays is the fastest growing trend following the Government announcement that the New Zealand border will re-open for longer haul travel in 2022, according to Innovative Travel managing director, Robyn Galloway.
‘Families and individuals with generous budgets are seeking bespoke arrangements and peace of mind travel, with local in-country 24/7 backup,’ Galloway says.
After the cancellation of two signature global trade shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic, South African Tourism will host both Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2022.
Meetings Africa will be at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 28 February to 2 March while Africa’s Travel Indaba will be at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 2 to 5 May. Both shows will be physical events with limited virtual components.
Innovative Travel has details on its rescheduled Jordan, Holyland and Oberammergau Passion Play tour, hosted by Rev. Mike and Patsy Hawke.
The 25-day tour will depart New Zealand on 22 May 2022 and has just a few spaces left, says Innovative travel’s managing director, Robyn Galloway.
Innovative Travel advises that The Safari Company founder, Kiwi born Andy Kibby, has returned to Nairobi in preparation for the 2022 safari season. All postponed safaris from 2020 will operate in 2022.
The company’s specially converted high deck safari truck has an additional viewing platform and spacious seating with roll up canvas windows. Whilst on safari, groups are at a maximum of 18, so all clients have the opportunity to view the wild and bird life with a clear view
at all times.
Innovative Travel has released packages for the Dubai World Expo which will operate from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022.
‘With NZ looking to reconnect to the world, we hope that there will be the opportunity for New Zealanders to visit the long awaited Dubai World Expo, along with expats offshore,’ says Innovative Travel MD, Robyn Galloway.
The expo will be the largest event held in the Arab world with 192 countries exhibiting and 25 million visitors expected.
South African Tourism acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini says the country’s tourism sector still has the potential to create jobs and its importance to the economy has not relinquished.
Speaking at the media launch for Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit (ATTS) last week, Dlamini said governments are committed to supporting the tourism industry’s revival.
Excluded, boutique style lodges in the wide open spaces of Africa will provide agents with revenue opportunities post Covid while ticking the boxes for many clients seeking safe travel, says Norman Harper, sales manager Australia and
New Zealand for &Beyond.
Harper was in New Zealand late May, working closely with niche wholesaler World Journeys and catching up with key retailers.
Interest in Egypt as a river cruise destination continues to climb as Viking sees a 25% jump in sales weeks after announcing a new addition to its fleet.
‘The expansion to our Egypt fleet with the debut of Viking Aton in September 2022 has generated a significant surge in interest and bookings from New Zealanders and Australians,’ says Michelle Black, Viking ANZ managing director. ‘The addition of Viking Aton takes our Egypt river fleet to three, alongside Viking Osiris and Viking Ra. We have also secured exclusive docking rights near Karnak Temple in Luxor, one of the region’s highlights, meaning no double docking for our ships on the Nile.’
Jordan has announced it is opening for partial tourism, with safety measures to allow for the recommencement of international transfer passengers, via Amman Airport, reports Innovative Travel. To transit Amman Airport all clients must provide proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, with a maximum transit time not exceeding 10 hours.
For visitors entering Jordan, pre boarding proof of a negative PCR Test within 72 hours of departure and health insurance are required. A further negative PCR test is paid for upon arrival at a cost of 28JOD (approximately US$40) per person.
New Zealand travel agents and brokers, as well as product managers and others in the wholesale sector, can register now for OurAfrica.
The format is a two-week show with two time-zones and 123 exhibitors have already registered from around Africa. The platform is free and was tested successfully when used in 2020.
Botswana’s borders began progressively opening this week. The country’s President has announced a phased approach that will see air travel resume at Botswana’s three key airports: Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone, Kasane and Maun.
International air travel will then follow, resuming from 1 December at Phillip Gaonwe Matante International Airport in Francistown, as well as the opening of ground crossings at the commercial
South Africa will be opening its international borders amid further easing of restrictions as announced in a statement by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa this week.
Travel into and out of South Africa will be allowed for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020. This is subject to various measures.
As the world starts to adjust to new ways of travelling and countries around the world have begun opening up, World Journeys says that there can be no easier 'distancing' than in the African wilderness on safari.
The company has a wide range of options as clients look for comfort, security and exclusive experiences away from big crowds. ‘From trekking gorillas in Uganda staying at the small, comfortable Buhoma Lodge to perhaps a sole-use stay for a family at Wilderness Safaris' Jao Villa in Botswana's
A Walker’s World is promoting fly-in safaris to luxury tented camps on a private concession in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and 2020 rates are being held for 2021.
The small intimate camps of no more than 20 guests are set in thousands of hectares of African wilderness.
Jill Grant, managing director of A Walker’s World says the emphasis is on viewing game close-up in its natural environment , unaffected by too many landrovers and tourists. There are a variety of game-
The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi will be hosting online training webinars for travel agents so they can upskill during Covid-19. Afterwards, a fun Kahoot quiz will be held and three prizes will be given away following each webinar, sourced from the winners’ local area.
The webinars will be hosted every Tuesday at 12:30pm (NZ time) covering the topics: Culture and Tradition, Action and Adventure and Family Fun.
The latest in the World Journeys series of ‘armchair training’ topics is the phenomena of the Great Migration of wildlife across the plains of East Africa.
Director Ange Pirie says the company is trying to keep the inspiration levels up, and keep travel dreams alive.
Wilderness and wildlife are under increased threat as global Covid-19 travel restrictions impact wildlife tourism operators.
Large increases in New Zealand travellers to South Africa following the removal of visa requirements to the country indicate that the time is perfect for Kiwi agents to refresh their knowledge of the destination, says South African Tourism.
African safari specialist Jenman Safaris, predicts 2020 will see a spike in ‘slow and mindful travel’, where travellers can enjoy deeper and more meaningful connections with nature and locals.
An opportunity exists for an agent or broker to join the Gorilla’s, Gameparks and Beaches Safari departing Kampala on 8 September 2019, with The Safari Company. The 32-day safari, personally hosted by kiwi born/Nairobi-based Andy Kibby and his Kenyan chef Nico Kamanga, has a special one-off agent AD50 deal. Normally $13,500pp, it is reduced to $6750 per person, share twin from Kampala to Zanzibar for a travel agent and companion.
A public private collaboration between South Africa’s National Department of Tourism, tourism industry stakeholders and Amadeus will bring much-needed technology across the country’s tourism sector.
The ‘Jurni’ platform will use different modules to capture, curate and analyse data that can be fed back to tourism operators. It will be particularly useful for rural businesses and SMEs which will be able to access a booking system and business app.
The importance of tourism to Africa’s economy was emphasised from the ‘top’ last week when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed delegates at Africa’s Travel Indaba expo in Durban.
He spoke of the potential for the continent’s tourism to grow exponentially and how it could bring its people into the mainstream of the economy.
Visa relaxation and the work of Ethiopian Airlines to develop Ethiopia as a regional transport hub have been the catalyst for a massive 48% increase in international visitor arrivals, making it the fastest growing tourism market in the world in 2018.
Adventure World Travel’s destination expert for Africa, Ryan Kendall, has recently returned from a reconnaissance in Africa and shares his top three insights:
1. Two weeks of driving through Namibia brought new highlights such as tracking black rhinos at the Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland, star gazing over the Namib Desert, and climbing the ‘Big daddy’ sand dune in Sossusvlei. ‘Little Kualala is a luxurious desert retreat in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve and each of the 11 climate-controlled thatched kulalas there have a private plunge pool and a roof-top star bed’ Kendall tells of one of his camp stays in Namibia.
2. He also reports on a rebirth of Zimbabwe as a safari destination: ‘I noticed several new lodges and significant investment going into the tourism opportunities says Kendall about changes in the region. Ryan participated in a walking safari in Hawange National Park with Imvelo Safari Lodges. ‘Imvelo are leaders in eco-tourism and if you’re looking for a remote and exclusive destination, one that actually makes a difference to local communities and wildlife, Zimbabwe’s Bomani Tented Lodge is a great choice’ he says.
3. A third insight came from a visit to Cape Town where Kendall attended the ‘We Are Africa’ conference. ‘I was able to get a deep understanding of the diversity of product and stories coming out of Africa but also, that Cape Town is open for business. A tourist really won’t notice any changes due to the water crisis, the area and issue is being well managed so that there is no impact on a tourist’s experience.
Africa’s 5% share of global travellers (62 million of the world’s 1.2 billion tourists) could be doubled in the next decade with the right collaboration, policies and investment. That’s according to South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona who was promoting ‘Brand Africa’ at the Africa’s Travel Indaba recently in Durban.
‘Africa’s tourism sector grew 8% in 2017, 1% above the global average,’ says Ntshona. ‘The forecast is for continued growth – no other continent has as much potential to grow.’ The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports tourism is already an economic force on the continent – contributing a total of 8.1% to the GDP and employing 6.5% of the workforce in 2017. ‘Tourism can take us from poverty to prosperity, specifically women and young people in rural areas,’ says Ntshona who highlighted the number of small, local operators exhibiting at Indaba. ‘Today’s travellers want authenticity, and Africa covers that.’
South Africa itself has an ambitious growth plan for the next five years – to increase its visitors by 40% to 10 million. ‘South Africa has something for everyone, every wallet and every generation,’ says Ntshona. ‘We are seen as a five-star destination but we’ve got three- and four-star. Kruger is as big as Israel and you can observe the same lion from a backpacking tent to six-star luxury.’ Ntshona is also encouraging visitors to combine South Africa with another African country. ‘We are shining the spotlight so that everyone gets to benefit. Instead of spending 10 days in South Africa, how about 20 days in the region?’
Rovos Rail fans will have to wait until 2020 for a berth on the new Trail of Two Oceans journey from Tanzania to Angola. When the July 2019 departure was launched in January this year, it sold out in three weeks. It now has a waiting list and the 2020 trip is filling up. ‘We are surprised at how quickly it has sold out,’ says Estee Badenhorst, marketing with Rovos Rail. ‘It’s been mainly repeat clients who have booked the journey,’ explains key account manager, Alicia Taljaard. ‘For ‘country tickers’, the train travels through four countries – Tanzania, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.’ The once a year journey leaves Dar es Salaam on 19 July 2019 and, after a three-day turn around leaves Lobito for the return journey on 2 August (this leg is also booked out).
Taljaard says the changing scenery in Angola includes a vast watershed scattered with fisheries and where the railway line is built up on the water. ‘You then travel through green, lush jungle, baobab forests and dry arid dunes. In the Congo it’s remote. There’s jungle and copper mining but the thing I remember most is the warmth of the people.’ When the journey ends in Lobito, guests stay one night at the new Terminus Hotel. ‘We recommend guests then add a side trip to the capital Luanda, flying from nearby Catumbela,’ says Taljaard. In Luanda, points of interest include old forts and the trip incorporates a game drive and river cruise in nearby Kissama National Park.
– Trish Freeman
Photography isn’t the niche activity it once was, and agents should be encouraging clients to sign up for photography tours, urges one leading photographic safari operator.
According to Cape Town-based Pangolin Photo Safaris, these days everyone's a photographer and clients interested in the activity need to know photography safaris are no longer just for the pros.
‘There are two things that stop budding photographers from signing up for these kinds of tours – knowledge and equipment. If we can provide them with some training and set them up with the best equipment, everyone