The trends predicted to shape African Tourism beyond 2022

On the back of a very successful WTM Africa Trade Show, the recently published Africa Travel Week Trend Report predicted some trends that will influence tourism in Africa in the months ahead. To capitalise on these trends you’ll need to think about how to reach out to potential guests around the world, to share what makes your property, and a trip to Africa, unique.

The continent’s tourism and travel sector had been hard hit by a 64% drop in tourism arrivals due to COVID-19. It’s imperative to shift the narrative to promote more positive, powerful and emotional stories as a unique selling point to help improve market confidence and trust for the tourism sector to recover.” — UNWTO Director in the Department for Africa, Elcia Grandcourt

Let’s take a look at some of the insights along with ways in which you can make the most of each of them, to help get more direct bookings at your property.

Greenwashing won’t ‘cut it’ anymore.

Future travellers to Africa will want to know what you are doing to lessen your property’s impact on the planet. Sustainability plans were quickly put in place by several companies trying to ride on this wave, sometimes without any serious commitment (so-called ‘greenwashing’). But industry experts agree that there is no quick fix. Your story should never seem staged or forced. It should be authentic and share your true dedication to the cause.

Are you able to educate visitors about the local natural environment? Can they participate in cultural or conservation activities when they are your guests? If so, let them know!

Making the most of this trend:

Share, share, share!

  • Tell the world about community or rural projects running in your area. The visitors of tomorrow want to get their hands dirty.
  • Focus on stories around the things you do to make a difference in the environment you operate in. Share posts about your investment in solar power, how you recycle rainwater or what you do with your waste. Perhaps you’re using local furnishings or artwork made by the community. Show your potential guests the effort you’re putting in.

Take a look at how NightsBridge property, Eendracht Hotel, uses its website to spread the word about how they minimise its footprint on the environment. And how Teniqua Treetops used Facebook to announce their Green Tourism Active certification.

African cuisine will take its place at the global table.

Food tourism in Africa has been fighting to get recognised for many years now, and the experts feel that now is its time to shine. The food and drinks of Africa are so diverse, and many have traditions and rituals in their preparation or serving.

That’s the unique offering we should aim to share with guests.

Travellers are increasingly excited to visit destinations where they can taste food they’ve never tried before. In Africa, there is a strong connection between food and culture, which is highly appealing to visitors. Our food is also closely linked to our history. It tells a story that ties into the spirit of tourism, which is largely based on learning about other people and their way of life.” — Chef Fatima Binta (Ghana)

Making the most of this trend:

  • Encourage your guests to step outside their comfort zone if they ask for referrals on where to eat. Make sure you know about restaurants or eateries that offer authentic experiences.
  • Host a traditional braai to introduce your visitors to our culture. Make sure you offer different meat or veg options, enough carbs (braaibroodjies, potato bake or pap and chakalaka!) and have some of our beautiful wine on standby. The adventurous can also try out a brandy and Coke or some local beer or craft gin.
  • NightsBridge properties can easily create and market creative foodie packages on their own booking engine, website or social media platforms.

Diversity: The same but different.

The conversation around diversity in travel is growing. Not all your guests will be the cookie-cut standard male/female couple. Single women are boarding flights to foreign countries, and the LGBTQ+ and disability markets are on the lookout for places that celebrate their differences. Do diverse travellers know that they can expect a warm welcome at your property, no matter their skin colour, physical ability, marital status or orientation?

Making the most of this trend:

  • Combine your accommodation with local cultural experiences in a deal that will speak to the hearts of the various cultures in your target market.
  • Ensure that your website mirrors your welcoming attitude towards diverse groups. Take a look at the photography and content you use — is it representative of all the types of travellers you’re happy to host?

Conclusion

What do all these trends mean for small accommodation businesses? Opportunity. And here at NightsBridge we’re still on a mission to make sure properties have all the tools they need to connect their own unique African accommodation offerings to the world.

You can download the full Trends Report by RX Africa here.

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