SA tourism to grow online bookings

16 July 2013

South Africa’s tourism industry has plans to increase its share of online travel bookings, as well as drive this growth through the use of mobile, and will explore how best to do this at the E-Tourism Africa Summit in Cape Town in September.

The sixth annual summit, with South African Tourism as a title sponsor, will bring together online tourism experts from Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor to offer local and international solutions to improve the sector on 9 and 10 September.

“Online travel bookings continue to grow globally, with bookings expected to reach over US$400-billion this year, while 40% of total travel spending will now be online,” E-Tourism Frontiers chief executive officer, Damian Cook, said in a statement.

E-Tourism Frontiers is an online tourism conferencing and training initiative for emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

“We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the summit, we want to continue to show the tourism sector that shifting their business online is absolutely crucial,” said South African Tourism e-marketing global manager, William Price.

“We also plan to unveil a digital academy at the summit that will be specially designed for our travel trade.

“We want to make moving online accessible and practical and the summit will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn what works online and the new trends and innovations that will help build our business for the future,” Price said.

Online travel growth is predicted to boom in emerging markets, particularly Africa through its growth in mobile.

“The great news for emerging markets such as Africa is that online travel and tourism is poised to experience solid growth over the next five years, with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, according to Euromonitor,” Cook said.

“With mobile penetration across Africa expected to reach 80% later this year and smartphone ownership currently around 17% to 19% on the continent, according to the 2012 African Mobile Factbook, online mobile travel sales will be very important for domestic and regional travel bookings.”

SAinfo reporter