Plans for WTM Africa 2021 are going ahead in the format of a hybrid event from April 7-9, offering both virtual and live attendance.

“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,” said MD of Reed Exhibitions Africa, Carol Weaving. She said the decision had been made following a study among exhibitors and buyers that indicated strong support for holding a live event in April.

“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 king buyers have also confirmed their attendance, so it’s full steam ahead as far we are concerned.”

The Reed Exhibitions South Africa team have provided two scenarios for WTM Africa, both relevant for the same dates.

Plan A would see meetings take place over three days, face-to-face, at the Cape Town Convention Centre, with a fourth day dedicated to virtual meetings, said Portfolio Director of Travel Tourism and Sports for Reed Exhibitions South Africa, Megan Oberholzer.

“With an extra virtual event day, we will cater for any international buyers who may not be able to attend the physical element of the show. The benefit to buyers and exhibitors is a greater ROI of connecting exhibitors and additional international buyers who would not have been able to attend the live event, meaning that even more meetings will be set to take place,” said Oberholzer.

In the event of a COVID resurgence, the Reed Exhibitions Africa team presented a Plan B. which will see the event go fully virtual over three days on the same dates, with an adjusted offer of various event packages for exhibitors.

“The live/hybrid WTM Africa will be the first of its kind in Africa. 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,” Oberholzer said.

New award category

The announcement of the hybrid event follows the addition of a new category to the WTM Africa Travel and Tourism Awards. The ‘Reigniting Africa’ category aims to acknowledge the most impactful, story-driven COVID-19 campaign.

“We are looking for a campaign that uses an authentic and creative narrative reflecting a positive image of Africa as a tourism destination,” said Oberholzer. “It must tell the many positive stories about Africa, enticing visitors back to the continent.”

Entries for the new category close on February 15, and the winner will be announced at an awards evening during Africa Travel Week at GOLD restaurant in Cape Town.

DMCs, tourism boards, marketing and communication firms and more are encouraged to enter.

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