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April 10, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa: WTM Africa: Bringing the Travel Industry to You

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Mirrored on World Travel Market flagship events WTM London and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Beyond the event, the WTM team continues to help professionals in the African travel industry to drive commercial success with all year-round access to make connections, industry news and developments, trends and technologies from around the world. Through its industry networks, global reach and regional focus, WTM Africa creates personal and business opportunities - providing its customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

Not to be Missed

Apart from the bustling show floor, there is a diverse and innovative conference stream that caters to all professions within travel and hospitality.

On the 10th, Mozambique, a country that stands at the tipping point of becoming a true business-events destination, will take centre stage at WTM Africa. This session will explore what it will take to overcome the country’s past and current challenges, and will involve the various tourism stakeholders involved in creating seismic changes to how the world experiences this beautiful and inspiring country. The speaker is Cordelia Masher, Managing Director, White Pearl Resorts.

Africa The Brand: Turning A Continent Into a Profitable, Hyperlocal, Luxury Experience’ is a talk exploring a travel products’ role in shaping the international consumer’s ideas of “Africa” through hyper-localized, unique experiences, opportunities and offerings. It will give specific examples, on how to turn your travel brand into a fully-realized “emotional travel moment” that consumers will pay for. This session will be moderated by Anthony Berklich, Founder, Inspired Citizen.

On the 11th, Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor, will facilitate a two-day session called The Business Case for Responsible Tourism. It will focus on how Responsible Tourism is not about charity, it is about doing better business. A range of African businesses have been invited to explain why they have taken a responsible business approach and what it has contributed to their business.

On the 12th, the African Tourism Investment Summit: Parallel Master Class Session will feature interactive learning modules with two expert co-presenters offering experiences, models, good practice and how-to advice related to developing, implementing and financing tourism activities/ projects in the respective market segments. For the full conference programme, visit https://africa.wtm.com

Leveraging Film for Tourism

Lance Gibbons, Publishing Editor of the Callsheet and the Filmmaker’s Guide to Africa, has decades of experience in the film, TV, and commercials industries. He is considered one of the leading voices in film sustainability and cross-industry collaboration in South Africa. He will be moderating a session on Film Tourism at WTM Africa 2019. The panel discussion, called Lights, Camera, Action: Cape Town, waving the flag for Film Tourism, takes place on Friday, 12 April. Panellists are Lisa Mini, Film and Media Promotion Officer at Wesgro, Vlokkie Gordon, Producer at Advantage Entertainment, Leonora De Souza-Zilwa, City of Cape Town’s Manager for Events and Film, and Beccy Kellond, Marketing manager and Partner at Moonlighting Commercials. The Event Africa chats with Lance to find out more.

When one thinks of film tourism, the massive tourism boost to Dubrovnik thanks to Game of Thrones, and the influx of tourists to New Zealand courtesy of Lord of the Rings, come to mind. Is this possible for South Africa?

It is certainly possible; it’s actually highly likely. South Africa has already played host to a number of TV series with a massive global following (Outlander, Doctor Who, etc.). Fans are willing to travel the world to see where their favourite episodes or most iconic scenes were shot, and this is where there is huge potential for film-tourism growth. It’s been 20 years since the release of the film Gladiator, and fans are still flocking to Ouarzazate in Morocco to view the set. Tourist arrivals in Dubrovnik increased by almost 40% between 2011 and 2015, all thanks to Game of Thrones.

Now all we need is the next mega series or Academy Award-winning blockbuster to film here!

How are government departments and film commissions collaborating to make this happen?

South Africa has excellent film commissions and government departments whose sole aim is to attract film production to our country, and to make that production process as hassle-free as possible. They take delegations of SA’s best filmmaking talent to international film festivals to show what we can do. They realise that there is more to film production than finding a suitable location, and that is why it is imperative that our post-production capabilities, our creatives and artists, our hospitality offerings, and everything else along the value chain is showcased to the international client. South Africa offers a one-stop-shop solution, with the added benefits of no language barriers, and being in roughly the same time zone as the UK. These things add up to make a formidable offering.

Apart from leisure tourists interested in film, what is the impact of film-business on South Africa’s GDP? I’m referring to the dozens of internationals that come to our shores to produce films, series and commercials.

Yes, this is a key economic contributor that is often overlooked. A single season of a TV show can take months to shoot, and all the while crew and cast need to be fed, accommodated and entertained – these are all vital contributors to the tourism economy. Hotels and tour operators should seriously consider marketing themselves to this niche segment.

How can the exhibitors at WTM capitalise on film tourism?

I feel it’s imperative that we showcase the diversity of our country to the filmmaking world. We’re not just a safari destination. We offer historical, cultural, culinary, entertainment and environmentally-focused experiences for any budget. Not to mention our existing infrastructure! Imagine the possibilities for your hotel if it becomes the shooting location for the next The Shining. Think about the apartment in Friends, the seafront mansion in Iron Man, or the grounds from Downton Abbey. They are still huge drawcards for film tourists.

What is the key message you would like to impart at WTM?

South Africa is more than Table Mountain and other easily recognisable features. Our chameleon-like ability to transform our land and cityscapes into whatever the client requires is becoming our trademark. If exhibitors at WTM Africa 2019 are marketing hotels with fascinating architectural features, or bush lodges with endless vistas, or buildings with cavernous ballrooms that can be dressed to replicate a scene from any century – then the film world is ready to hear from you. Filmmaking requires flexibility, access, and people that are willing to partner with them to get that perfect shot.

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