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December 20, 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa: Preparing for Launch - Africa Travel Week

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In April, 2014 Thebe Reed Exhibitions will launch the new Africa Travel Week in Cape Town, South Africa.  It will include the World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa), IBTM (Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings) Africa and International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Africa.  The Event spoke exclusively with Carol Weaving, Managing Director Thebe Reed Exhibitions about what attendees can expect. 

Q: Why has Reed decided that now is the time to launch Africa Travel Week?

A: Following the successful launch of ILTM Africa earlier this year, the decision to launch an all-encompassing travel week was based on several factors. Firstly, the African continent has one of the highest growth rates in the world, surpassing even Asia. Secondly, Africa holds enormous potential for the global travel industry both inbound and outbound, and finally we believe the time is right for Africa to take a bigger role on the global stage.

The event will comprise three co-located shows – WTM Africa, IBTM Africa and ILTM Africa - encompassing Africa’s inbound and outbound markets for general leisure travel, luxury tourism, and the MICE/business travel sector under RTE’s established portfolios of WTM (World Travel Market), ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) and IBTM (Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings).

Because of the sheer size of the continent and diversity of its travel offering, all three brands will together bring the world to Africa and promote Africa to the world’s leading source markets. The WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) predicts growth of 4.8 percent over the next 10 years for Africa, growing at practically the same rate as the overall African economy and making tourism the fourth fastest growing sector on the continent. The UNWTO has also reported growth in both inbound and outbound tourism – some African nations they say, are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.7 percent, the highest of any world region.  I think all these numbers speak for themselves – Africa deserves to have an event of this magnitude. 
Q: Why was South Africa chosen as the venue?

A: Cape Town is an ideal location for both local and international customers, with great infrastructure, a wonderful venue and a planned expansion matching our own growth plans. The events will serve not just South Africa, but the continent as a whole with a global buyer base; we intend to make South Africa the hub of our events for the foreseeable future.

Q: What is the economic benefit that can be expected to result from this event based on results that have been witnessed after launching Reed’s other exhibitions?

A: Exhibitions have a huge impact on a city and destination.  Not only because of the sheer number of attendees together in one place, but also because of the impact these individuals whilst onsite, but also from the potential to bring business in the future.   

For example, another event in the Reed Travel Exhibitions global meetings portfolio – EIBTM - www.eibtm.com which takes place annually in Barcelona hosts some 14,000 professionals from over 100 countries over 4 days. The economic impact of this exhibition is valued at around €40m in direct expenditure and is said to generate the same again in future meetings in Spain!

So with three events during Africa Travel Week in Cape Town, we expect the City to benefit hugely from not just the promotion it will get through leisure, luxury travel and the meetings sector for future business, but it will also benefit through its restaurants, shopping, cultural attractions and nightlife whilst everyone is there for the week. 

Q: It was recently announced that Reed Exhibitions, part of the FTSE listed Reed Elsevier Group, has signed a joint venture agreement with Thebe Tourism Group Pty Limited to acquire a majority share in Thebe Exhibitions & Projects Group (TEPG) based in South Africa.  What are the benefits of this agreement expected to be?

A: Thebe Reed Exhibitions, through its vast experience and extensive resources, is likely to become an important player in Africa’s future economy as a result of this partnership. Our involvement will be invaluable in ensuring Reed Exhibitions delivers on all the aspects of its events in Africa, building on Thebe’s expertise and experience in providing logistics, operations and local sales, marketing and PR services.

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