Recently we commented at some length of the value of the travel industry to South Africa’s economic status. With close to 750 000 people employed in the tourism industry, and over 11 million tourists expected this year, this value becomes clear: we need to encourage and support all tourism opportunities, research international trends and ensure that our country’s manifold attractions are presented for the world to read about, admire and desire to visit. Here in the V&A Waterfront we have a constant flow and wonderful cross-section of this tourist market, and at Waterfront Charters we have been providing Atlantic adventures to guests local and international for over twenty-six years. Even if we say so ourselves, we are pretty darned good at it.
When it comes to promoting tourism, there are three letters that say it all: WTM. An acronym that represents the finest platform for tourism, not only here in Africa, but around the world, it is the extremely aptly named World Travel Market. WTM hosts six annual business-to-business conferences in four continents every year, and these events attract virtually every serious participant in the global travel industry. In their own words: Through many years of experience and by embracing innovation we are shaping the future of travel and the way business is done. By making it easier for the right people to connect and by bring our global experience to local markets, we annually facilitate the generation of over $7bn of industry deals.
You read that right: $7 billion dollars. That’s about R102 605 300 000, give or take a couple of cents, at today’s exchange rate. Each year WTM host the African conference here in Cape Town (where else?), and this year they anticipate that around 5880 travel professional will attend proceedings at the Cape Town Conference Centre. We can do no better than quote them again on their process and intent: Mirrored on WTM 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. It goes beyond the three days of the conference: WTM continue to facilitate connections, and provide year-round industry news and developments, trends and technologies from around the world for conference attendees.
Waterfront Charters have been attending these events for several years and can pay testimony to the advantages of excellent business-to-business networking. We have made good friends and excellent connections during these gatherings, and the seminars have provided food for thought as we look to continually improve our already exceptional experiences for guests to the V&A Waterfront. The list of exhibitors on the WTM website gives a number of 663, of which 507 are African. The balance is from all corners of our planet, so networking will be global. And as can be expected, the categories are all-embracing – over 30 different aspects of tourism, both local and international.
If you are in the travel industry, Waterfront Charters highly recommend that you sign up to visit this exposition: we look forward to meeting with you all and chatting about just how we can create mutual benefits. It is all happening in a fortnight, so don’t delay: the dates at the CTCC are from the 10th to the 12th of April. All details are at www.africa.wtm.com – whether you are in accommodation, adventure travelling, group travel, insurance or any of the other widely representative categories, there will be something for you to benefit from.
And while you are there, book yourself a Waterfront Charters cruise: from laid-back sunset trips to eco-adventures, we offer every cruise that a guest to Cape Town might desire. They are pure happiness, no matter who you are or where you come from.