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My preparation for WTM Africa as a blogger

Posted by Zaid April 30, 2014 0 Comment 4020 views

The World Travel Market 2014 expo takes place in Cape Town later this week (2 – 3 May 2014). I have been wanting to go to this event since I learned about in 2013. I have registered and been granted a press / blogger badge to the event.

This post details why I am attending, what I can offer, what I plan to achieve and who I would like to meet.

My purpose for visiting WTM Africa.

  1. Learn about how I can improve the reach of my blog,
  2. Learn about new destinations and adventure offerings (for myself, and to get new content for my blog),
  3. Meet and network with bloggers,
  4. Meet with industry representatives, tourism associations and Destination Marketing Organizations (to learn about press trips and ways I can work with them),
  5. Learn about the latest trends in the industry,
  6. Leverage the most I can with the #WTMAfricaPassport for bloggers,
  7. Establish contacts for other entrepreneurial ventures that I would like to embark on
  8. Share my knowledge of South Africa and other destinations with others
  9. And have fun at an event about a field that I am really passionate about.

What can I offer?

My voice and exposure of conference content, exhibitor products and services to my blog and social media audience.

While I generally write about budget backpacking and adventure travel my niche is the halal / Muslim travel market. There are millions of people looking for destinations where they can be assured of access to prayer facilities, halal food or vegetarian / seafood that has not been contaminated with alcohol or non halal substances.

While I am happy to travel to places where halal meat is not available (I can survive extended periods on bread, fish and veggies), I can communicate to my audience what options are available for them.

My agenda

These are the sessions, press conferences and periods during which I would like to meet with exhibitors:

01-May-14 18:30 + Travel Bloggers Unite meet-up for bloggers
02-May-14 10:00 – 11.00 Conference: The Travel Industry Forecast Review 2014 The conference will open with a regional trends report brought to you by Euromonitor
10:45 – 11:30 Press: Launch of Cape Town Tourism’s Mobile Visitor Information Vehicle and the Official WTM Africa Opening event Stand A30; Exhibitors Hall
11:30-12:30 Exhibitors
12:30 – 13:15 WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme: Good Business This panel discussion will focus on the business case for responsible tourism and will bring together key industry figures who will share case studies and best practice advice.
14:00- 14:45 Press: Turkey Tourism [K70 Hall 3]
15:00 – 15:45 How Travel Bloggers Impact the Booking Funnel This session will involve a panel discussion on how they currently utilise travel bloggers to generate awareness, sales and the opportunities for future growth.
16:00 – 16:45 Exhibitors
03-May-14 10:00 – 11:00 Exhibitors
11.05 – 11.50 Travel Technology – Digital Trends and Challenges in Focus This digital debate will look at the Trends and Challenges of Digital Marketing for the tourism industry. Together with an experienced panel of technology experts and industry professionals, it will discuss burning questions that are currently colouring the tourism industry.
12:00 – 12:45 WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme: Environmental Responsibility Looking after the environment can benefit the bottom line and ensure that the destination is maintained for long term business benefits. This part of the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme will focus on Environmental Responsibility.
13.00 – 13:45 Exhibitors
14.00 – 14.45 Travel Technology – The Mobile Revolution in Tourism We will look at how Mobile is revolutionising the tourism space with regards to usage, behaviour and content. Best practice case studies of tourism businesses will help to understand the opportunities of mobile.
15.00 – 15.45 WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme: Child Protection The industry is addressing issues of neglect and abuse of children travelling with their friends and relatives, child labour, trafficking, orphanages and the sexual exploitation of children. This session discusses issues surrounding Child Protection.
16.00 – 16.45 Is It Possible To Effectively Measure Travel Blogger ROI? This session will feature a panel of leading experts involved in high profile campaigns for travel blogger driven initiatives, to discuss how these are able to measure blogger ROI.

Which exhibitors do I want to meet?

I’d love to meet with many of the exhibitors but there isn’t enough time. I have already reached out to certain exhibitors on Twitter or Facebook if I managed to find their social media presence and had the time.

I’ve messaged:

On Twitter:

Khiri Travel @KhiriTravel

Marine Dynamics @Marine_Dynamics

@DirtyBootsGuide (adventure activities in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho)

@TravelTroll (DMC in SA for Africa)

@ZarTravel (Southern African DMC)

@DigitalNexa online marketing solutions

@VentureForthSA – mountain guide service, accredited mountaineering school, outdoor education and team building provider

@LionRoarsGroup – Eastern Province of South Africa with 3 Game and 5 Guest Lodges

On Facebook:

ZambiaTourism.com

Definitely Dubai Southern Africa

Reunion Island Tourism Board

Landtours Ghana

Wildlife and Exotic Resorts Collection

Encounter Madagascar

The exhibitors I would like to meet (ranked in order of preference and grouped by proximity to each other / by co-sharing of stands):

Reunion Island

Encounter Madagascar
Just Madagascar
Madagascar Discovery Agency (shared with Just Madagascar)
Boogie Pilgrim (shared with Just Madagascar)

Seychelles Tourism Board
Seychelles – 7° South Ltd – Virtuoso…(shared with Seychelles Tourism Board)
Eden Island (shared with Seychelles Tourism Board)

Durban Tourism

Dirty Boots
Blackwater Tubing and Garden Route…(shared with Dirty Boots)
African Travel Gateway (shared with Dirty Boots)
Ocean Blue Adventures and Garden Route (shared with Dirty Boots)
Ultimate Whale and Dolphin Watching – (shared with Dirty Boots)
SA Youth Travel (shared with Dirty Boots)
Cape Xtreme Adventure Tours (shared with Dirty Boots)

Mozambique
Mozaic Travel Mozambique (shared with Mozambique)
Dana Tours Mozambique (shared with Mozambique)

Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism
Al – Rashed Travel (shared with Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism)

Kamili
Great Lakes Safaris (shared with Kamili)
Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour (shared with Kamili)

Botswana Tourism Organisation
Lansmore Masa Square Gaborone Botswana (shared with Botswana Tourism Organisation)
Mizmundo Adventure and Leisure Booking …(shared with Botswana Tourism Organisation)
Gondwana Travel & Tours Botswana (shared with Botswana Tourism Organisation)
Endeavour Safaris Botswana (shared with Botswana Tourism Organisation)
Desert & Delta Safaris Botswana (shared with Botswana Tourism Organisation)

Dubai – Department of Tourism & Commerce
ATS Arabian Holidays (shared with Dubai – Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing)
Sharaf Tours (with Dubai Tourism)
Danat al Khaleej Tourism (shared with Dubai – Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing)
Desert Adventures Tourism L.L.C (shared with Dubai – Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing)
Desert Gate Tourism L.L.C (shared with Dubai – Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing)

Africa Complete
AFRICA JOURNEYS ESCAPES
African Travel Concept (Pty)

Namibia Tourism Board
Naturally Namibia (shared with Namibia Tourism Board)

Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation
Northern Cape Tourism Authority

Bushtracks Africa (shared with Zambia Tourism Board)
Cango Caves (shared with Big Tree Marketing)
Cape Point (shared with Thebe Tourism Group)

Dawsons Game and Trout Lodge (shared with Somewhere SOUTH)

Discover Zanzibar

Ghana Tourism Authority
LANDTOURS GHANA LTD. (shared with Ghana Tourism Authority)

Indaba Explorations

Africa Travel & Tourism Association
Encounter Madagascar / Ocean Aventures shared with Atta (Africa Travel & Tourism Association)
Pack Safari (shared with Atta (Africa Travel & Tourism Association))

Kenzan Wildlife Safaris Ltd Tanzania
Khiri Travel

PEAK DMC
Recreation Africa Leisure Industries

Elements Travel (inbound SA tour operator)

Destination Knysna
TripAdvisor
Thompsons Africa
Waterfront Adventures
Mossel Bay Tourism
LIME (shared with Unicab Travel and Tours)
Lion Roars (SA game and guest lodges)

Dreams 4 Africa
Leshiba Wilderness (shared with Dreams 4 Africa)

Explore SA Publication
Fair Trade Tourism
Choice Getaways (in SA and Africa)
City Sightseeing South Africa

Some generic questions I would like to ask these exhibitors :

  1. What sort of travelers does their country best attract (e.g.luxury, backpacking, self-drive, business)?
  2. Ease of obtaining a visa?
  3. Safety / Security in the country?
  4. Food and accommodation costs and quality?
  5. Top 5 attractions?
  6. Best time to visit?
  7. Ease of getting around?
  8. Language barriers?

I also have some specific questions to ask some of the exhibitors.

Exhibitors that I would have liked to meet (but I did not see them in the exhibitor directory).

  1. Morocco – such a beautiful North African country but South Africans may find a little difficulty getting a visa easily. I’m not sure if it’s related to the “Western Sahara” issue. I’m hoping that the situation is going to improve.
  2. Egypt / Algeria / Tunisia – other beautiful North African “Maghreb” countries. What’s the situation for travel to Egypt?
  3. Chile and Argentina – SAA may have cancelled direct flights to Buenos Aires but we can still get there via Sao Paulo and on other airlines. Patagonia is such a beautiful malaria-free area that really appeals to outdoor lovers, yet there is limited marketing in SA for this region. How can we strengthen ties with Latin America?

This is just a rough plan for now – I’ll go with the flow and adapt the plan during the course of the event as things change and if I see other people/exhibitors/programs of interest.

I just need to sort out my business cards, charge my camera and pack my bags (with an extra empty backpack for the event).

Hotel, flights and car rental are sorted!

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