Record-breaking WTM Africa 2024 signals surging interest in African tourism

World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa) wrapped up its 2024 edition with record-breaking numbers, demonstrating a significant surge in global interest towards African travel and tourism. This year saw a 40% jump in buyers compared to 2023, solidifying the event’s status as the continent’s leading travel trade show.

WTM Africa 2024 hosted 705 exhibitors and 5,752 industry professionals from 99 countries. The buyer attendance was notably diverse, featuring strong representation from emerging markets like Greece, Philippines, Switzerland, Singapore, Lithuania, New Zealand, Ghana, China, Japan, and Argentina. This influx of new buyers contributed to the impressive 10,505 pre-scheduled meetings conducted during the event. This expanded reach promises increased investment and awareness for African destinations worldwide.

“The enormous increase in buyers highlights the growing confidence and investment in Africa as a compelling travel destination,” said Carol Weaving, Managing Director, RX Africa. “WTM Africa is a serious business event, and our goal is to facilitate connections that lead to tangible growth for the African tourism sector. This year’s success underscores that commitment, and we are thrilled to see such a positive response.”

A highlight of WTM Africa 2024 was the inaugural African Media Awards, recognising exceptional reporting on tourism, travel, and hospitality in Africa. The awards celebrated the crucial role journalists play in promoting the continent’s destinations and experiences.

The renowned Responsible Tourism Awards, sponsored by the V&A Waterfront, also returned, honouring businesses and initiatives that prioritise sustainable and ethical practices within the travel sector. These long-standing awards align with WTM Africa’s commitment to driving positive change and promoting responsible tourism across the continent. The trophies for the Responsible Tourism winners were provided by Ngwenya Glass.

Additionally, WTM Africa 2024 featured the highly-anticipated Trends Report, providing invaluable insights into the latest industry developments. The event’s speaking programme was a resounding success and brought together the who’s who of the African tourism industry including among others representatives from Cape Town Tourism, Weeva, Singita, the TBCSA and many more. The speaking programme was sponsored by LIFT, who provided flights for speakers and hosted buyers.

New this year was the Brain Box, offering interactive sessions and hands-on learning opportunities for attendees. This innovative addition allowed industry professionals to engage with material in a more immersive and practical manner.

“We are incredibly proud to have launched the African Journalism Awards and introduced exciting new elements like the Brain Box,” added Weaving. “These initiatives, combined with our established programmes, demonstrate our commitment to driving innovation and elevating the African travel industry.”

As WTM Africa looks ahead to 2025, the event remains steadfast in its mission to facilitate business opportunities, foster meaningful connections, and showcase the diverse and captivating travel experiences that Africa has to offer.

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