Growth trends in the African travel market

Adventure travel is fast becoming the most popular kind of travel, as consumers all over the world demand “physical experiences in authentic places”, with tailored travel adventures being more highly sought after than ever; in general, people are seeking not only to enjoy new and diverse experiences, but they are also becoming more interested in supporting and protecting the environment and local communities.

Developing countries, like Africa, are often the most popular of adventure travel destinations due to the simple authenticity of organic experience that travelers are still able to experience there. Africa is at the top of that list despite, or perhaps because of, the exponential growth and development surrounding education and technology, as well as a deepening financial sector in the urban areas of the continent. The African travel market, as a result, has seen an increase in revenues during recent years and experts agree that this trend will only continue to move forward.

East Africa Focus 

When seeking a “richer, more experiential form of tourism”, Africa and adventure travel are often synonymous in the minds of would-be vacationers.  East Africa, especially, is home to some of Africa’s most popular, and diverse, travel destinations; of those, Tanzania, Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, and Kenya most quickly come to mind, but many consider Tanzania to be the most important country with respect to African travel in general.

Tanzania, boasting Africa’s biggest game reserve, highest mountain, and three biggest lakes is usually touted as the favorite of all East African countries, and very often the overall favorite in the entire African continent; as a result, it is regularly the go-to search term that vacation planners type into their web browsers when they get online to research, book and pay for their travel, tour, and accommodation needs in Africa.

  • photo – Bradley Wells

Engage in business 

Hospitality service providers have long struggled with the limitations of technology in a developing nation, but as fiber optic cables snake their way through the African jungle, and set down the foundation for a new technological era, Africa is quickly seeing a fantastic “tech-hub boom”.

Global IT Giants the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Sony and Samsung are beginning to establish presence in Africa, and as a multitude of tech hubs, service providers, incubators and labs spring up around the continent, the area is fast becoming an international center for those seeking to engage in business; hospitality industry companies, along with others, are taking note and have been quick to take advantage of the technological innovations that are finally available to the area.

As the travel industry grows, and the infrastructure does come into place, Africa’s famous luxury-tent safaris, hotels, resorts, vacation property management companies, restaurants, tour operators, transport services and other hospitality industry businesses have developed a strong need for business to business service providers that are able to supply them with software applications that can enable them to conduct business and secure payment transactions in a faster, more efficient manor, regardless of the oceans of distance that may be between them and their clients who are booking their dream adventure vacations from across the globe; to that end, savvy B to B service providers all over the world are stepping up to the plate to fill that demand.

Despite the obvious attraction of adventure travel in Africa, studies show that the main factors to influence travel in the African market in 2013 are the same as with any travel destination: consumer focus on the value of holiday pricing and packages, the ease of booking travel arrangements, and the image, safety, and stability of the destination.

As the Internet and its technology become an ever-expanding, integral part of planning and trip enjoyment, travel experts agree that modern technology will be increasingly influential and that travel consumers will depend more heavily on it to arrange for and purchase services, products and accommodations. Not only that, it is also suggested that modern technology will continue to become a stronger influence on travel behavior, with an increasing reliance on smart phones and tablets for on-site language translation, reservation booking, purchases, destination research, correspondence with family and friends in other parts of the world, social networking, and personal as well as business communications.

  • Eran Feinstein is the founder of 3G Direct Pay Limited.  3G provides global e-commerce and online payments solutions for the travel and related industries. He is a leading authority in the fields of e-commerce, travel and payments, having acquired extensive experience from various parts of the world.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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