World Travel Market (WTM) Africa will go ahead April 7-9 in the format of a hybrid event, delivering a much-needed platform for live and virtual connection between tourism industry stakeholders engaged in bringing business to Africa.
Carol Weaving, managing director at Reed Exhibitions, unpacked the decision to go live, citing a robust study amongst exhibitors and buyers that indicated strong support for holding a live event.
"We are delighted to be able to inform our industry partners that we will be going ahead with WTM Africa as a hybrid event, incorporating the best characteristics of a live and virtual showcase of Africa.
"Our sentiment survey revealed that 88% of buyers confirmed they wanted to attend WTM Africa in 2021, and within this, a further 96% confirmed they would travel provided the regulations allowed them to do so. I'm pleased to say our buyers have also confirmed their attendance, so it's full steam ahead as far as we are concerned," Weaving said.
Currently, two scenarios for WTM Africa are on the table.
Plan A will see meetings take place face-to-face over three days at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with a fourth day dedicated to virtual meetings, said Megan Oberholzer, travel, tourism and sports portfolio director for Reed Exhibitions.
"With an extra virtual event day, we will cater to any international buyers who may not be able to attend the physical element of the show. More meetings will be set to take place," Oberholzer said.
In the event of a Covid spike, the Reed Exhibitions team will turn to Plan B, which will see the event go fully virtual over the same dates, with an adjusted offer of various tailor-made event packages for exhibitors.
Thorough research and preparation has been made to ensure that the hybrid event adheres to stringent safety protocols and regulations. For example, the venue will accommodate 5,000 visitors per day in order to allow the necessary physical distancing.
"The live/hybrid WTM Africa will be the first of its kind in Africa," Oberholzer said. "We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the show after a tough year. The time is ripe for us to make travel happen together, and WTM Africa is just the platform to reignite it."