More than 200 of Africa’s travel industry leaders gathered in Cape Town this week to attend a Travelport-hosted summit focused on exploring the fast growth of travel commerce which continues to take place in Africa and the key role of technology in the industry. Africa’s travel and tourism industry is forecast to grow significantly over the coming years and direct contribution to Africa’s GDP is expected to rise by almost 5% per annum to over USD 121bn by 2026. In the same year, the industry is expected to support almost 30 million jobs. 1
The summit, named “Africa Live”, was hosted by Travelport (NYSE:TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.
Now in its fourth year, the two day Africa Live event featured a comprehensive agenda based on the role of innovation and technology in improving the region’s travel businesses and the critical success factors for future travel industry leaders. Topics ranged from the future of travel payments, how brands are adopting more mobile technology to drive growth, to how airline merchandising trends are affecting how we book travel today and the significance of all of these factors in an increasingly competitive business environment. Africa has long been considered a priority region and an area of investment for Travelport, where the company has steadily expanded its presence with a regional head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Douglas Jewson, Travelport’s Managing Director for Africa commented on the event; “Travelport operates across 53 countries in Africa and our objective with this event is to provide a setting for industry leaders to convene and learn about the future of our industry. We are committed to partnering with Africa’s travel industry to support the ongoing growth we are seeing in the region; many African countries feature heavily in the list of the world’s fastest growing economies.2 Furthermore, with the recent creation of Travelport Digital- which is focused on helping travel industry players take advantage of the fast growing digital economy and new ways of accessing and booking travel- we are in a strong position to support this critical area for many companies.”
By 2035 passenger traffic to, from and within Africa is expected to reach 268 million,2 and Travelport has an increasing number of existing African airline partners now taking advantage of its unrivalled suite of merchandising products which enable them to display and sell their fares and ancillaries in exactly the same way as they do on their own website. Signings in Africa include Air Namibia, Comair, Fly Blue Crane, Kenya Airways, Mango and South African Airways. Furthermore, only this month, in further testament to the value that low cost carriers see in Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform, even those who previously only distributed via their own websites, India’s largest domestic airline, IndiGo, signed its first ever distribution agreement with Travelport.
Douglas Jewson concluded: “Demand for booking fares from low cost airlines remains high in South Africa3 and IndiGo coming onto our platform is significant and relevant for Travelport connected travel agencies here due to the high Indian expat community in the country.”4