Africa Travel Week (ATW) is set to reignite travel and tourism in Africa in 2021 with a year-round roadmap incorporating a digital content platform, virtual show, online webinars and masterclasses, and a live event.

Traditionally held in Cape Town each April, Africa Travel Week comprises a suite of events, conferences and awards including WTM Africa, ILTM Africa, ibtm Africa, Equal Africa, Travel Forward, the Sports & Events Tourism Exchange, Africa Tourism and Investment Summit, and the African Travel and Tourism Awards.

The postponement of African Travel Week’s live shows in 2020 propelled the team to find new ways of reaching and engaging with their customers and partners. Phase 1 of their strategy, launched in May 2020 was Africa Travel Week Connect, a digital content platform offering an array of innovative approaches to delivering much needed content to the travel and tourism industry. These include:

  • #INTHEKNOW webinars – providing short and sharp guidelines for travel businesses. Developed as a solution to help fight webinar fatigue each 40 minute episode is packed with practical tips and actionable advice.
  • #UnlockAfrica campaign – this campaign to share 50 positive news stories over 50 days, started in November 2020. It was designed to inspire Africans to rediscover their roots and explore the beauty of the continent, while creating a sense of ‘belonging’ within the travel industry during uncertain times.
  • Travel with Me – a series of online presentations in which thought leaders share their experiences and tips during COVID-19 and their plans on how to bounce back.
  • Armchair Travel – a platform for exhibitors to showcase through video, text and images, the beauty of Africa and their incredible destination and products.

In September 2020, to co-incide with Tourism Month, the digital platform was reinforced with the launch of African Travel Week’s virtual Meetings & Masterclasses. Led by 18 industry experts and experienced travellers, and focused on engaging the post-COVID traveller in key sectors including luxury, LGBTQ+ and the African Diaspora, the masterclasses attracted over 1,000 registrants. An interactive format enabled two way conversations between the experts and attendees.

The 2021 roadmap

In 2021, in response to continued uncertainty in the hospitality sector, the team has announced a roadmap which combines both digital and live events, underpinned with 365 value-added support from African Travel Week’s Connect to keep the ATW community informed and connected.

“The plan for ATW Africa has always been about offering value beyond the show floor. This year, we’re focussing heavily on that, with a robust plan that offers significant ROI across 365 days, instead of three,” says Megan Oberholzer, Portfolio Director: Travel, Tourism and Creative Industries at RX Global Africa.

Running from 7-9 April, ATW Virtual will consist of 1-to-1 meetings, content sessions and speed networking. This will be followed by a collection of additional events throughout the year, which include:

  • Educational #Intheknow webinars from May through to August.
  • Africa Travel Week: Connect in the City Live, from 1-3 September to co-incide with Tourism Month, including on-site experiences in the official Host City of Cape Town. This will include familiarisation tours for buyers and the media; destination training sessions; a dedicated travel and tourism conference; speed networking sessions; a networking evening; and the African Travel and Tourism Awards, honouring industry pioneers.
  • A new series of Virtual Masterclasses from September to November.

 “Our plan takes on a blended approach where travel trade professionals benefit from connecting with their industry peers at face-to-face meetings later on in the year” explains Megan. “Safety and wellbeing remain our number one priority and we will adjust this element of our offering accordingly. But we are also determined to keep the momentum going and ensure travel to Africa, and ATW, remain top of mind, which is why we have worked so hard to create a 365-day initiative.”