KATA holds its Kisumu Industry Meeting

On Wednesday, 13th September 2023 the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) held a pivotal Industry Meeting in the picturesque city of Kisumu. This gathering, proudly sponsored by Sabre, a global leader in travel technology, brought together travel agents, industry stakeholders, and KATA leadership for a day filled with insights, dialogue, and a vision for the future.

One of the pivotal aspects of this gathering was the opportunity for Kisumu agents to directly interact with KATA’s leadership team. This engagement allowed them to gain deeper insights into the Association’s role, objectives, and the myriad benefits that come with KATA membership.

The meeting delved into a comprehensive discussion of industry-related issues, challenges, and opportunities specifically relevant to travel agents. Through open and constructive dialogue, participants had the chance to voice their concerns and seek solutions, fostering a collaborative spirit among all attendees.

Strengthening Airlines-Agents Collaboration:

Another critical aspect of the meeting was the focus on enhancing collaboration between airlines and travel agents. In a rapidly evolving industry, it’s imperative for these two key players to work hand in hand. The meeting facilitated an open exchange of ideas and concerns, with the goal of establishing mutually beneficial partnerships.

KATA: The Voice of the Industry:

A highlight of the event was a presentation outlining KATA’s vital role as the voice of the travel industry in Kenya. This emphasized the association’s commitment to advocating for the interests of its members and the industry as a whole.

Exploring Sabre’s Offerings:

Sabre, the event’s sponsor, also had a dedicated session to showcase its cutting-edge product offerings. This presentation highlighted the importance of embracing technology to streamline operations and improve customer experiences.

In summary, the KATA Industry Meeting in Kisumu was a resounding success. It served as a platform for knowledge exchange, problem-solving, and strengthening relationships within the travel industry. The event exemplified KATA’s dedication to its members, providing them with valuable insights and resources to thrive in an ever-evolving sector.

As we move forward, KATA remains steadfast in its commitment to shaping the future of the travel industry in Kenya, and this event in Kisumu was a significant step in that direction.

Source: KATA Media Desk

Africa TravelTech Summit & Expo 2023: Accelerating Africa’s Travel Industry

In a digital era, innovation is the engine driving the travel industry forward, and KATA in partnership with SNG Events are leading the charge!

Join us at the Africa TravelTech Summit & Expo 2023 on September 26th and 27th in Nairobi, at Emaara Ole Sereni Hotel, where the travel industry’s sharpest minds will converge.

We’re excited to announce that our very own KATA Chairperson, Dr. Joseph Kithitu, will be among the distinguished speakers at this prestigious event.

With a focus on enhancing efficiency in service delivery and embracing technology to transform travel, this summit is a must-attend for travel agents looking to level up their businesses in the digital age!

Don’t miss this opportunity to network with industry experts, explore cutting-edge technology trends, and discover new strategies to remain competitive in the market. It’s time to take your travel business to new heights!

Stay tuned for more details as we gear up for Africa’s leading travel event with a focus on technology. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media platforms for real-time updates –Keep soaring with KATA!

#KATAEvents #AfricaTravelTechSummit #InnovationInTravel

Source: KATA Media Desk

KATA and TAAZ Set to Transform Travel

The Chairperson of TAAZ, Hamida Malik, paid a courtesy visit to KATA offices for a follow up meeting, setting the stage for a new chapter in travel collaboration. Joined by KATA’s Vice-Chairman, Mr. Hamisi Hassan, and the CEO, Agnes Mucuha, this meeting was more than a mere meeting – it was a catalyst for transformation.

Forging a Bridge Beyond Boundaries

The discussions that unfolded encapsulated the essence of unity and shared aspirations. With a shared goal to enhance travel experiences, the collaboration between KATA and TAAZ is poised to traverse beyond geographical borders. The vision is clear: to offer travelers unprecedented access to the hidden gems of Zambia, a land brimming with cultural richness and awe-inspiring landscapes.

This collaboration serves as a natural extension of KATA’s earlier dialogue with Zambia’s Minister for Tourism, further solidifying the commitment to unlocking the immense potential of cross-border travel.

This partnership promises to transform these visions into tangible, unforgettable realities. Underlying this collaboration is a profound synergy between KATA and TAAZ – an alliance that speaks of shared values, mutual respect, and a relentless passion for redefining the travel landscape.

Keep the wanderlust alive and let’s journey together toward boundless horizons. #KATAxTAAZ #KATACollaborations #KATACaters

KATA Members Empowerment at Africa Business Tourism and MICE Masterclass2023

We are thrilled to share the remarkable experience of KATA members at the Africa Business Tourism and MICE Masterclass 2023, a transformative event that resonates deeply with our association’s vision for growth and excellence. Spearheaded by our Chairman, Dr. Joseph Kithitu, this engagement showcased KATA’s commitment to empowering members and driving innovation within the tourism industry.

Why the Event Mattered

The Africa Business Tourism and MICE Masterclass has become an indispensable platform for KATA members to thrive amidst industry challenges. KATA’s presence at this year’s sixth edition of the event was a testament to our dedication to advocating for our members’ interests and fostering their professional development.

Impactful Training Sessions

Africa Tourism Partners enlisted seasoned experts like Nkululeko Ndumiso Nkosi, an influential entrepreneur and technology innovator, and Mamello Mofokeng, a qualified data scientist and cybersecurity professional, to deliver engaging training sessions. These experts covered crucial topics, including artificial intelligence integration, data analytics, and event management platforms.

The masterclass empowers MICE professionals and practitioners to analyze clients’ preferences and behavior, customize event content, and make targeted marketing and sales recommendations, all while building meaningful connections.

Collaborating for Success

During the event, Dr. Joseph Kithitu held side meeting the Africa Tourism Partners CEO Mr. Donkor Kwakye to discuss closer collaboartion in promotion of MICE Tourism training for KATA members. These meaningful encounters further strengthened KATA’s network, opening doors for potential collaborations that benefit our members.

Networking and Building Relationships

Beyond the enriching training, the masterclass provided KATA members with invaluable networking opportunities. Our delegates fostered meaningful connections with industry leaders, facilitating future collaborations and partnerships that will shape the future of the travel and tourism landscape in Kenya and beyond.


KATA’s involvement in the Africa Business Tourism and MICE Masterclass 2023 underscores our commitment to empowering our members. By offering training spaces, advocating for their interests, and facilitating networking opportunities, we ensure that our members stay at the forefront of the dynamic travel industry.

At KATA, we are dedicated to promoting growth and excellence within the travel sector, and the participation of our esteemed members in this masterclass reinforces our commitment to their success. Let us continue to soar together as we embrace digital transformation and innovation in the tourism industry.

#KATA #AfricaBusinessTourism #MICE #Masterclass2023 #Empowerment #DigitalInnovation #NetworkingOpportunities #TravelIndustry #InnovateWithKATA

Source: KATA Media Desk.

New Report: Why Travel Advisors Are More Relevant Than Ever

As travel demand continues to rise post-pandemic, the role of travel advisors is evolving due to emerging technological innovations and shifting traveler expectations. Voyagu’s latest report provides valuable insights into current travel advisor sentiment, highlighting the key challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

With the growing popularity of online booking tools and direct-to-consumer travel options, some may question the relevance of travel advisors. Yet a recent study by Travel Daily News found that more than a third of affluent U.S. travelers prefer utilizing advisor services when flying internationally. With travel demand resurging post-pandemic, travel advisors have become more important than ever in helping people navigate the complexities of international tourism.

“Despite their value, travel advisors face significant challenges in competing with the affordability and convenience offered by technology companies. However, there are signs of a gradual acceptance of this transformative shift, as agents are starting to recognize the potential of merging human capabilities with technology. Implementing technological tools can help travel advisors enhance the human touch where it matters the most, and with its help, be more fluent at developing a niche market that is capable and willing to pay for their services,” said Ivan Saprov, founder and CEO of Voyagu.

The pandemic has reshaped the way people approach trip planning. With travel becoming increasingly commoditized, people are looking for more than just a booking engine — they want personalized, curated experiences that reflect their unique interests. This shift has created new opportunities for travel advisors. By leveraging technological innovations to provide hands-on trip-planning services and comprehensive support, advisors can offer a new level of service that goes beyond simply booking a trip. Looking at these trends, it’s clear that the relationship between travel advisors and their clients has changed, but how exactly has this dynamic evolved?

A new Voyagu survey of U.S.-based travel advisors sheds light on how digitization in the post-pandemic era has impacted the travel industry and changed how travel advisors interact with their clients. From navigating new regulations to embracing emerging technologies, travel advisors have had to adapt to new realities and offer innovative solutions to meet client needs.

“Travel advisors acknowledge the necessity to demonstrate their relevance and competence in an industry undergoing rapid change. Our research highlights a growing trend among advisors to embrace technology, with 69 percent acknowledging its potential positive impact, while 53 percent see it as a potential driver for increased revenues. We delve into the ways advisors are adapting and striving to remain relevant, shedding light on their efforts to meet the evolving needs of travelers,” said Saprov.

This report from Voyagu offers a detailed analysis of the condition of the travel advisory sector before and after the pandemic, providing a window of understanding into the current state of the industry and the challenges that travel advisors are facing. It provides decision-makers with actionable insights and data-driven analysis to support them in their process of improving the productivity and competitiveness of their travel advisory business. It also offers industry players the relevant information to support and invest in the necessary tools so that they can drive up their income while simplifying and reducing their workload.

The findings in the report will be helpful for key stakeholders in the travel sector to identify mechanisms through which they can build strategic partnerships and provide solid value to their customers.

Download the Full Report Here

Source: Skift

Top Travel Industry Leaders To Converge in Naivasha in June for the KATA 2023 Convention

Are you a part of the travel industry in Kenya? Are you seeking an unparalleled opportunity to learn, network, and foster new business connections? If so, mark your calendar for 16th June 2023 and join us at the 2023 Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) Travel Convention and AGM in Naivasha. This exclusive event is the pinnacle of travel industry gatherings in Kenya, and it is one that you absolutely cannot afford to miss.

The KATA Travel Convention is meticulously designed to promote collaborative efforts and partnerships among the most prominent stakeholders in the travel industry. With a well-crafted program that facilitates open dialogue, constructive critique, and self-reflection, attendees can partake in a variety of sessions that cover critical issues affecting the industry. If you’re someone who wants to ensure the future prosperity and sustainability of Kenya’s travel sector, then this event is a must-attend for you.

What can you anticipate from the KATA Travel Convention?

Expect to build valuable networks and form vital alliances with fellow industry players, forging new business connections and partnerships along the way. The program areas will focus on critical topics like the future of travel, making big moves in the travel industry, bouncing back stronger, among other immersive business sessions. With such a diverse array of themes, this event is truly an all-encompassing one, catering to everyone in the industry.

The event’s theme, “New Normal. New Thinking. New Rules,” is aligned with the emerging trends across Africa’s aviation industry to improve both domestic and international air connectivity, thereby increasing air traffic within Kenya and its neighboring regions. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism and aviation in Africa are two sides of the same coin. Despite the limitations of fragmented airspace and policies that restrict the free movement of air travel passengers from one country to another, tourism has played a crucial role in driving air traffic to, from, and within Africa for over three decades.

Attending the KATA Convention and AGM presents a unique opportunity to discuss strategies for building a strong and resilient travel industry in the face of an ever-changing business environment. You can gain valuable insights into the emerging trends in Africa’s aviation industry and how they are aligning with the event’s theme to drive tourism in and out of the continent, consequently influencing the aviation industry over the next two decades.

This event is essential for tour operators, travel agents, airline representatives, GDS partners, government officials, and other industry players looking to establish a robust and resilient travel industry amidst the evolving business landscape. With a program designed to promote collaboration and partnerships among key stakeholders in the travel industry, attendees can expect to learn, connect, and generate new business opportunities.

Don’t miss out on the chance to be a part of the discussion; register now to secure your spot at Kenya’s premier business event for travel industry leaders. Contact info@katakenya.org or call +254-792 000 835

Bryan Obala – For Membership, Marketing and Communications Desk

KATA Agents Explore Turkiye’s Cappadocia and Istanbul Regions During Turkish Airlines Fam Trip

By Agnes Mucuha

Turkish Airlines Kenya office led by its country manager Mr. Oguzcan, collaborated with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) to host a familiarization trip to Turkey for travel agents last week beginning Monday April 24 to April 28, 2023. The trip exposed us to Turkish Airlines products and services, and it all began at the Turkish Visa Center located at the Two Rivers Mall, Southern Wing, Ground floor in Nairobi. The visa application process was seamless, and the documentation required was standard. Within ten days, our single tourist visas were issued, and we received an sms notification for visa collection.

Departure, NBO

Upon checking in, our group was hosted at the Turkish Airlines lounge located at the JKIA – Unit 1C. The lounge provided comfort and refreshments for us, and the highly reliable Wi-Fi connectivity combined with the warm hospitality from the concierge team made this a good experience.

Turkish Airlines operates either the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A330 on the Nairobi route. On this day, we boarded an A330, which is equipped with modern inflight entertainment with a large selection of movies and music. The legroom on the aircraft was very generous, and the reclining seats enabled us to take a restful nap while on the flight. The inflight meals were inspired by Turkish cuisine, rich in flavor and nutritionally balanced, with plenty of refreshments being served during the flight for hydration and wellness.

Arrival, IST

As we arrived at the world’s 7th busiest airport, the Istanbul International airport (IST), we were awed by its sheer size and modern facilities. Orderly ground handlers provided us with clear directions to the transit counters for our onward connecting flight. We learned that the airport has the capacity to handle over 200 million passengers annually with its state-of-the-art facilities, escalators to facilitate ease of movement between terminals, clear signage providing directions, and very friendly ground crew who were always at hand to assist with any requests. The washrooms at the airport facility were very clean and well-maintained by a permanently stationed steward who ensures the washrooms are hygienic and clean.

The airport immigration process was very seamless. Immigration officers scanned our passports and verified our visa documents. Following that, a photo was taken, and we were cleared to proceed into Turkiye seamlessly. The immigration officers were highly professional and attentive to travelers, and they served with a smile.


Our transit to Cappadocia went smoothly since we had checked our luggage through from Nairobi. While waiting for our connecting flight, we relaxed at the domestic departure lounge, enjoyed refreshments, and caught up on work using the high-speed Wi-Fi. Our departure to Cappadocia was on time, and we flew via an A320 aircraft optimized for Economy class seating capacity with three rows. Upon landing, we smoothly claimed our luggage and exited the neat and well-organized Cappadocia airport.

On Tuesday 25th April 2023 at 0400hrs, we departed for the hot air balloon trip and experienced the spectacular landscape and sunrise in Cappadocia. It was an unforgettable experience as large hot air balloons took to the sky, adding color and vibrancy to the surroundings. It was a major tourist attraction and even drew wedding groups who held their ceremonies inside the balloons. Watching the sun rise from the horizon into the city of Cappadocia was a heavenly experience, connecting us to Mother Nature. Cappadocia is a region rich in culture, heritage, and history with 365 ancient churches in Goreme. The geological valleys resembling objects or features are known as fairy chimneys.

Our visit to Cappadocia also included a tour of the Avanos town, famous for pottery making from the Hittite civilization. We had a great practical experience of pottery making and appreciated the patience and special skills required in crafting the pottery. Traditionally, the pottery was used as a measure of a groom’s skills before he could be given the hand in marriage of a bride.

Cappadocia is also famous for its precious stones, and we toured the gemstone factory to learn about the three popular stones: Onyx, Zultanite, and Turquoise. The stones are cleaned, cut, and polished into beautiful jewelry. The Zultanite stone was particularly breathtaking as it changes color by the light source between yellowish green, light gold, and purplish pink!

On Wednesday, we flew back to Istanbul city through the Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport on a TK A320 flight. The airport was busy with tourist groups visiting Cappadocia, making it a lively place. We arrived in Istanbul on time and transferred to our hotel effortlessly. During this season, there were heavy rains, and we took the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely afternoon experiencing the buzz of Istanbul city, its people, and culture.


On Thursday 27th April 2023, we visited the famous Bosphorus Bridge, which was built in 1973 to connect Turkey with Europe and Asia. It is the world’s fourth-longest suspension bridge that crosses the Bosphorous strait and is also known as the 15th July Martyrs Bridge, or the First Bridge. After that, we went to Istanbul’s spice bazaar, which is located within the New Mosque complex and offers a wide variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, and jewelry.

TURSAB – The Association of Turkish Travel Agents

Friday was our last day of this eye-opening trip, which expanded our worldview and inspired a new perspective and energy to promote travel to Turkey and expose our fellow Kenyans to its rich culture, heritage, and business linkages. We were hosted by TURSAB, The Association of Turkish Travel Agents, for a courtesy visit led by KATA CEO to discuss potential areas of collaboration and partnership in promoting reciprocal travel between Kenya and Turkey. Ms Nergis Buyukkinaci, the Group Head of Corporate Communications, and Ms Aysila Sildir, the Corporate Communications Manager, hosted us at their TURSAB offices, and they shared their insightful vision for promoting travel to Turkey through KATA Travel Agents by offering training workshops to promote growth and educational trips to build confidence in promoting travel and MICE tourism to Turkey.

Turkish Airline Academy

Our final stop was at the Turkish Airlines Aviation Academy, where we were given a tour of the flight simulators, and we appreciated Turkish Airlines’ commitment to passenger safety. The crew is extensively trained on various emergency scenarios that could arise onboard a flight, giving them practical experience. Turkish Airlines has invested heavily in their flight training center, and we were awed by the professionalism and dedication of the crew to learn and follow through on instructions while upholding high-performance standards. Our highlight was the tour of the Turkish Airlines Museum, which showcased the journey of the airline since 1933, followed by an immersive experience of the Boeing 737 Aircraft Simulator. Turkish Airlines is a grounded carrier, upholding very high standards of safety and professionalism and deep values of honesty, respect, and teamwork.

We celebrate the Turkish Airlines leadership team based in Kenya, led by their Country Manager Mr. Oguzcan, our fam trip companion Mr. Bashir, who speaks Turkish fluently and made it easy for us to communicate with our hosts, and Ms. Priscilla, who coordinated the travel logistics and the entire TK team that made this trip a memorable experience for the agents. KATA works collaboratively with airlines to promote travel to key business and leisure destinations, and we celebrate this great partnership with Turkish Airlines. We look forward to growing together as one team and one spirit.

Solo Travel: A New Behaviour or Preferred Approach?

Traveling alone could allow access to more thoughts and sensations.

Just because you have a partner doesn’t mean your trip will be improved by taking him or her along. Why? Traveling alone allows you to have access to many more thoughts and sensations that may be blocked when distracted by a second person or group. It also allows you to focus your energy. The advantages of going with a travel companion are obvious: you’re seldom alone and you don’t need to make all of the decisions by yourself. These may also become some of the downsides.

Understanding the local culture, or the way people relate to each other, requires the kind of attention that’s difficult to arrange in a duo or crowd. Alone, you can immerse yourself in your surroundings, find a niche, and maybe blend into the environment. And people watching at its best tends to be primarily a solo sport. Sitting at an outdoor café for hours and alternating reading and writing with intermittent watching is best done unaccompanied. Why? Chances are that any companion would not have that exact scenario in mind at precisely the same time, and it might be perceived as rude.

Seeing a place, hearing its sounds, noticing its smells, its textures, or the feelings evoked requires sensitivity to your own internal processes. Impressions form as you observe and then percolate as your experience unfolds. Your ongoing internal dialogue, known as your stream of consciousness, takes your observations and sensations and assembles them into stories. Alone, there’s no one else to affect or taint your creation—whether a visual image, a series of sounds, or an emotion. It’s all yours.

Once I spent months traveling alone through Western Europe, which included a summer session teaching job at a university in Switzerland. The following year I taught in the same Swiss city, Lugano, a dreamy, sun-kissed, mountainside, in the Italian sector’s southern region. For the repeat journey the following year, I was joined by my husband. Beyond teaching my morning classes, we spend most of our time together. I was amazed at the difference between the two experiences.

The Benefits of Solo Travel

On my solo excursion, I was much more sensitive to everything I saw and interpreted it through my own lens in a kind of ongoing reverie or dream-like state. I didn’t interact with others too much while traveling, but enjoyed being an observer. Though I was an outsider looking into others’ lives—you might even say a voyeur—it was pleasant for me to imagine myself in their experiences, playing with possible antecedents and outcomes of each scenario, with no unwanted consequences. Trying to read their body language and tone of voice, I felt that I could share their moment even when I couldn’t understand a word in their language. And then it was over. Move on to the next individual, couple, family, group, or physical setting.

If I felt social, I was able to stretch my comfort zone by talking to others, as well as language gaps permitted. But if loneliness crept in, I’d notice a heightened motivation to talk to strangers, which I would ordinarily not do—reaching a bit into my uneasiness. Even if it’s painfully uncomfortable to start a conversation, you may find that your need for contact at that moment will likely override any discomfort. And remember, contact is generally going to be limited in an accidental meeting, like two ships going in different directions. Knowing that you’ll never encounter this person again may give you the courage to interact even more candidly. Nothing to lose.

I learned through traveling solo that I really could try out new behaviors uncharacteristic of me and wouldn’t be judged by those I met. Everyone you meet is a stranger and because of this, social mistakes in one-time meetings carry fewer consequences. No one I ever encountered along the way knew about my anxieties or self-perceived social limitations. I could be anyone I pleased, which gave me permission to try on new ways of being, including greater assertiveness. As I became more comfortable, my comfort in social situations increased. Though mostly I watched—people interacting, landscapes, architectural scenes, and weather patterns, all of which I enjoyed immensely. Of course, this is most pleasurable if you’re an introverted type, which I am.

But even extraverts, who are most comfortable in the company of others, can find ways to travel solo—in tour groups, for example. If this is your temperament, you can arrange a trip so that your days are spent alone but dinner is spent with others. Cruises, spas, language schools, dude ranches, tennis camps, adult music, writing or art camp, as well as spiritual retreats, are some venues that allow for solo travel but shared moments for parts of the day or when you’re in the mood.

Sharing the Journey

The subsequent journey with my husband, a shared experience, colored all that I encountered entirely differently, though not better or worse. I sometimes wished I were alone to fully immerse my attention as I had done the year before. His presence kept me from being fully immersed in whatever I encountered. But at other times I was grateful for the company and the opportunity to communicate about something noticed and shared, which did enrich the takeaway. It’s a mixed bag.

Getting Started: Solo

Experiment with solo travel by starting small. Plan a day trip when your usual companions aren’t available. Try a museum, art exhibit opening in a gallery, daytime movie, solo lunch, or dinner. Notice your feelings and observations. Going solo in a paired-up culture may lead to some self-critical judgments that feel painful. Like the time I presented myself solo for dinner in a Paris restaurant many years ago. The maître d would not seat me because I lacked a companion. He finally placed me at a table with a single Frenchman, which drew curious attention from surrounding diners. And while we failed to find a common language in which to communicate, it was an interesting, humorous, if awkward, experience.

Give solo a chance. It offers great potential for self-growth, problem-solving, and deepened experience. You may find that you actually like going it alone.

Source: Psychology Today

Can technology rejuvenate Africa’s tourism industry?

The tourism industry in Africa is slowly healing from the slump brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the global lockdown, 68.8 million people came to Africa as tourists in 2019. These tourists and their spending power contributed 6.8% of Africa’s GDP and 25.48 million jobs to the continent. 

However, by the time the pandemic hit, almost 6 million jobs and $86 billion had been wiped out in Africa. Last year, in what has been a steady recovery since travel restrictions were eased, 45 million tourists came to Africa, representing 65% of the pre-pandemic level.

This growth is only expected to continue. According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, Africa’s tourism sector is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 6.8% between 2022 and 2032. The sector is also expected to create 14 million new jobs within this timeframe. 

To achieve these lofty expectations, a lot of players would need to pitch in. However, it seems that the African tourism industry has not experienced the same level of innovation as other African industries. Despite its potential and significance, tourism lags behind other industries like agriculture, finance, energy, health, and education, which have all seen several tech-enabled solutions to their problems. 

Ben Peterson, the co-founder and CEO of Purple Elephant, a tourism-focused venture studio, told TechCabal that his studio decided to focus on tourism because of this issue. “When you try to find the websites of some of the most famous safari lodges in Kenya, many of them don’t even have websites. Those that do have websites are super out of date. Most of the time, you can’t even book a safari experience directly on the website of the camp; you have to go through a phone number or email,” he said. 

This is where Travel Afrique comes into play. Founded in 2019 by Tracy Kuelo and Calvino Miguel, the company acts as a platform for travel agencies to offer their services online. Prospective tourists can connect with agencies and request tailored journeys to their desired destinations. “Our clients have the flexibility to request tailored journeys to their desired destinations, and our partner agencies will respond with a quote, free of charge. Our clients are then able to request modifications to the quote until they are entirely satisfied and subsequently proceed with the booking,” Miguel explained.

According to Miguel, the platform brought in over $250,000 in revenue last year from bookings made through its platform, with 80% of that amount going to local agencies. The platform only offers trips to Tanzania, Senegal, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Benin, and Namibia. He shared that demand, safety and security, the political stability of the country, and the quality of local tour operators dictate which country the platform operates in.

He also shared that Tanzania accounted for 20% of the 1,000 requests that the platform received last year, while Senegal accounted for 17%, and Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire accounted for 13% of all requests. Tanzania’s share of requests can be attributed to the country not requiring international tourists to present a negative COVID-19 vaccine certificate or a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. 

When asked how Travel Afrique curates the tourist experience, Miguel told TechCabal that the company relies on local agency partners to provide the required customised itineraries and information based on the specific needs and requests of its clients. He also added that to make sure that agencies meet standards, they must undergo a thorough and demanding evaluation of key factors.

“To confirm the agency’s legitimacy and reputation, we start by conducting a thorough background check on it. Then, we confirm that the company complies with all applicable national and international travel standards and laws. The agency’s infrastructure, including the standard of its lodging, transportation, and tour guides, is also taken into account,” he said.

“Furthermore, we evaluate the diversity of the travel activities offered, as it is of the utmost importance to us that our clients have an authentic experience. Finally, to understand how satisfied overall clients are with the agency, we take into account their comments and reviews.”

The African continent boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. It offers an array of options – from savannas, rainforests, deserts, breathtaking waterfalls, and even snow-capped mountains for skiing, to unique wildlife such as penguins and species found nowhere else, like shoebills, okapi, and blackbucks. However, we are still far off from what we can achieve in the tourism sector. Miguel attributes this to the image that the world has of the continent. “To tap into Africa’s tourism potential, it is crucial to improve the continent’s image by sharing positive stories and showcasing its strengths,” he said. 

“Beyond sharing positive stories, there are also other tangible challenges that hinder the growth of African tourism. These include poor air and land transportation infrastructure, limited intra-African air connectivity, and restrictive visa policies,” he continued. In proposing a solution, he advised governments to partner with private organisations and provide increased funding to their tourism offices to invest in branding and marketing efforts. 

The model of startups like Travel Afrique and Elephant Bookings, a B2B software-as-a-service product that builds booking systems for safari lodges launched by Purple Elephant, could help digitise an industry that has mostly been offline. The ease that a digital platform offers could help bring not only international tourists to the continent but also give Africans an opportunity to tour the continent. 

Source: TechCabal

Travel Trends Every Company Should Know

After taking a 52% hit in the first months of COVID, the business travel industry is experiencing an unprecedented surge. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) projects industry spending to reach 2019 levels by 2024. The corporate travel agency TripActions says it has already seen pre-pandemic levels of “hyper-growth” within the first three months of 2022.

A younger workforce, shaped by a “work from anywhere” plague, has new demands. Business as usual travel is being replaced by a more flexible, connected and sustainable experience. Think fewer 500+ person multi-day conventions and more 30-50 people gatherings with overnight stays.

Here are five trends to monitor for your upcoming team trips.

“Bleisure” travel is getting bigger

Over the last few years, more employees have mixed business and leisure in a kind of globe-hopping known as “bleisure.” Over half of international travelers plan to extend their work trips to take advantage of their destination.

As the workforce gets younger, demand for this flexibility will only increase, with 90% of millennials already incorporating leisure into their travels pre-pandemic.

Two-day business trips of the past could become a one-month sightseeing venture, complete with weekend getaways. Bleisure enthusiasts take these jaunts once every two to three months. They look for a “home” environment, workspaces with strong internet connections and local flavor.

Of note: A new survey conducted by Visit Anaheim, ahead of National Travel and Tourism Week, found that 44% of 2,000 polled bleisure travelers claimed they turned down a work trip because they wouldn’t have had time for leisure activities while at their destination.

Travel as a time to connect

In a recent Deloitte study, managers said they are “seeking events with a powerful mix of networking and content.” Flying for business as usual, which can now be conducted remotely, is being replaced by travel for bonding and training.

This can facilitate networking, skills development, and recruitment. For remote teams, purposeful in-person interaction can be a game-changer for morale.

Unconventional accommodations versus hotel chains

Companies that used to only sign contracts with large hotel chains are now giving their increasingly GenZ and Millennial workforces greater flexibility in choosing their preferred accommodations. Over 70% of millennial corporate travelers had stayed in a vacation rental during work trips.

Instead of feeling like a hotel guest, the business traveler feels closer to local experiences in a vacation rental, like a hole-in-the-wall taco joint or mid-week salsa classes. Staying further afield from city centers is also becoming more popular as travelers prioritize comfort and proximity to leisure activities.

Self-booking and flexible corporate travel policies

With an increasing demand for unconventional accommodation, business travelers need more flexible policies and the option to self-book. For this reason, 68% of employees are booking their trips outside of employer-approved channels.

Some companies are providing tools to help employees resolve issues, falling back on agents only when self-service tools fail. Companies offering a variety of travel options see higher adoption rates for their corporate travel programs. Allowing workers to make decisions based on their needs creates a culture of transparency and trust between employers and employees.

The rise in corporate travel apps

Apps like Travel Perk offer flexible booking and carbon offsets while allowing companies to track spending and ensure employees are complying with their policies. Amex’s GBT Mobile app allows employees to book their trips, create expense reports on the go, receive updates to their corporate travel program and access 24/7 support from a travel counselor.

Flipping the trip script

Enabled by technology and evolving corporate policies, business travelers are taking more extended, unconventional trips and seizing new opportunities for bleisure and in-person connection.

Employees and employers will have to work together to adapt corporate travel policies, as well as the purpose and design of trips, to meet the needs of a younger workforce demanding a new way to work and explore.

Source: Entrepreneur