The e-Tourism Africa Summit

SHARE   |   Sunday, 31 August 2014   |   By Staff Writer
Cook Cook

Johannesburg and Cape Town will this year both play host to the E-Tourism Africa Summit. The 7th Summit will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 4-5 September 2014 and at the Museum of African Design in Maboneng, Johannesburg from 8-9 September 2014.

The world’s leading online tourism and travel forum, the platform will see experts gather to share the latest tools and trends in the online travel arena. In addition, the Summit will explore how members of the travel and tourism sector can best leverage off social media to grow their businesses.

According to Damian Cook, CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers and creator of the E-Tourism Africa Summit, more than 59% of travel is now being researched, booked and paid for online. This contributes to more than US$400-billion to global travel sales. Cook notes that a Nielsen report has revealed that in 2012 more than 200 000 travellers to South Africa booked their travel online generating more than R790-million for the South African economy. “Ensuring the African tourism sector is partaking and benefiting from this fast growing space, is essential for the sector’s growth and survival,” he commented.

Amongst one of the key topics this year is that of the ever-increasing use of mobile technologies in the travel space. Confirmed speakers at this year’s summit include experts from Facebook, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Twitter, Google, Tripbod, Instagram, One Fine Stay and South African Tourism (SAT). A number of local and international speakers and travel bloggers who have not previously been a part of the Summit are also expected to participate this year. Delegates at this year's summit can also look forward to more hands-on workshops, seminars and training sessions.

“According to a recent PhoCusWright study, seven percent of total hotel bookings in 2013 were made via tablet and mobile phones. That’s 12 times more than in 2010, and this figure is expected to rise to 20% by the end of 2014,” said Mr. Cook. He further noted that one in five consumers booking with Expedia, book their travel via mobile (apps or mobile website), while the majority of Expedia’s customers use mobile devices to research elements of their booking.

SAT is the title sponsor of the summit in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with the Gauteng Tourism Authority supporting the summit in Johannesburg. Said Jan Hutton, “The event offers a unique networking space for our tourism industry to reconnect, share and learn about the latest online tourism and travel developments and technologies. The role of digital marketing platforms is exciting, and essential for the long-term sustainability and growth of the tourism sector. The E-Tourism Africa Summit provides an invaluable opportunity to showcase local and global online solutions, partnerships and new innovations from the South African tech trade, from SAT and international providers.”