Over the past decade, we witnessed the rise of new tourist destinations. Technologies that didn’t exist then are now dictating where, why and how we travel. With the rest of the world, Africa realized the full impact of tourism and how it could be used to empower local communities and foster development. Tourism arrivals on the continent have increased exponentially over the past years and are expected to keep growing in the future: in South Africa alone, it is predicted arrivals will exceed the 17 million bar in 2020. Here are the five key trends tourism consulting agency Creative And Moving identified for the upcoming year.
- Technology and value for money: Technology will keep driving the way trips are planned, with more travellers opting for platforms offering “best deals” and tailored options based on customers’ preferences. It will no longer be an option: travel brands will have to showcase their products on user-friendly, responsive platforms that visitors of all ages can access. They will also need to market themselves in a way that their customers will feel they are saving time on planning and spending money on fulfilling experiences.
- Intra Africa Travel: More and more countries are opening their borders and amending their visa regulations to encourage trade and tourist activity. Panafrican events like Afrochella attract visitors from all over the world and Africans themselves are not lagging behind. However crossing borders within our continent is not as easy as it should be, as costly airfares and visa restrictions remain big issues. We need more initiatives that will focus on easing the travel process for Africans within Africa and this is a huge market to tap in.
- More authentic and responsible tourism: from the recent global climate strike to countries like Rwanda putting green initiatives like banning plastic bags in place, protecting the environment has become a priority. Today people want to deal with brands who REALLY care and are overtly taking a stand. It is also important that such brands’ actions benefit the local communities and the environment. They should also be able to offer unique, genuine experiences that will make their clients connect wholly with the destination they are visiting.
- Multi-generational travel & modern families: Taking a trip as a family with three or more generations will remain a growing trend. With its abundance of wildlife, beautiful landscapes, sandy beaches and varied gastronomy, Africa is definitely the best place to reunite and bond. However, it is also important for travel brands to notice and adapt to the “modern family” model. For instance Kamaroutes launched guided tours focusing specifically on single-parent families, as they make up almost 50% of the agency’s group tours. It was important for us to service such a growing market and we understand how stressful a trip to an unknown destination could be for a single parent, especially when travelling with young children.
- Solo and Bleisure for sure: These trends are here to stay. The boundary between business and leisure travel has become even thinner and it is now common practice for most business travellers to incorporate elements of leisure within their work trip. Similarly, demand from solo trips is growing to such an extent that some operators are now offering more incentives and waving requirements like single supplements for solo travellers.
Taking these trends into consideration could help travel brands to position their products better and take advantage of the growing demand for African destinations .