By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
Eswatini continues to attract international interest from potential tourists around the globe due to its unique positioning, rich cultural heritage, and picturesque landscape.
Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA) is fresh from attending the World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town, which saw over 600 exhibitors from around the globe attending from 3-5 April. This is after the industry sustained serious damage due to Covid-19.
The Kingdom was represented by several industry players, including Eswatini Air, Happy Valley, Royal Villas, Pigg’s Peak Hotel, Emafini Conference Centre, Big Game Parks, Mantenga Cultural Village, Nkonyeni Estates, and Foresters Arms.
“This year we have 577 exhibitors which is a 35 per cent growth and what is really exciting is that we are the only inbound show on the African continent and it goes to show that a lot of intra-Africa trade is happening,” said the organisers.
ETA Marketing Manager Siboniso Madlopha said the experience was worthwhile and he was confident it would yield the desired results.
“There is a lot that makes us unique as a Kingdom – from our amazing cultural activities to our food, music, breathtaking views, and great hospitality. Many people from around the world expressed a keen interest in visiting our kingdom and now that travel has been made easier through Eswatini Air, we have no doubt that interesting times lie ahead,” he said.
He added that the platform featured offers from the biggest travel destinations, accommodation suppliers, airlines, and tour operators.
“The show offered the perfect place for members of the global travel trade to gain insight into how the industry will look in the future, discover innovations, and share endless business opportunities. Not only was it an excellent platform for brand positioning and promotion, but it also offered an extensive support programme. Seminars, educational events, award ceremonies, destination briefings, and more bring professionals up to speed and help shape the next 12 months for the travel and tourism industry,” said Madlopha.
He implored more local tourism establishments to take advantage of these opportunities in the future by reaching out to the ETA for more information. He explained that visiting a trade show is an investment.
“Such shows are a terrific opportunity to raise destination awareness (for Brand Eswatini) among industry professionals and the key decision-makers that matter. It can be difficult for start-ups to get a foothold in the industry in which they operate. Raising brand awareness at a trade show is an equally important opportunity. These shows also present a great platform for forging alliances with other industry-related companies and potential visitors to the kingdom,” he said.
Read More: Eswatini’s tourism industry set for boost
The UN’s World Tourism Organisation’s latest data shows that more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022. These businesses are some of the foot soldiers behind the promotion of the continent and driving growth in Africa’s travel and tourism market.
The 2023 WTM Africa edition was officially opened by the Minister of Tourism Hon. Patricia De Lille and the Acting Mayor of Cape Town Eddie Andrews. In her remarks, the minister welcomed all attendees from around the world and acknowledged that the higher numbers of exhibitors, buyers and attendees signify that tourism is indeed bouncing back.