Africa Showcase, the renowned global roadshow promoting African tourism, has marked a historic milestone with its inaugural launch in Latin America from 16 – 24 October 2023. The roadshow opened to a warm reception in Brazil followed by successful events in Argentina and Mexico. The dynamic Latin American trade embraced an unprecedented array of African companies seeking to establish a presence in this burgeoning market.
Jacqui Reynolds, co-owner of On Show Solutions, expressed her enthusiasm about the response from the trade: “It’s inspiring to receive such positive feedback on the rising appetite for African travel on this side of the world. A massive thank you to all of the passionate buyers who met with our exhibitors across Latin America.”
Since its establishment in 2009, Africa Showcase has nurtured business connections across North America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe. These events provide a unique blend of networking opportunities, valuable insights into destinations and meaningful business interactions. Africa Showcase gathers a diverse range of African operators, safari lodges, hotels, and experiences, all carefully curated to meet the unique needs of the source market. Buyers are pre-qualified as Africa specialists, or top-producing agents and operators capable of promoting Africa to their long-haul clients.
To cater to the growing demand from the Latin American market and to nurture relationships with the travel trade, On Show Solutions invited a range of exhibitors who could provide offers from Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This sentiment was reinforced by Mohanjeet Brar of Gamewatchers Safaris: ‘Talking to agents, one thing I’ve heard over and over is how happy they are that for the first time they have Africa here; and not just South Africa but having East Africa and so many countries exhibiting here.’
From final consumers to retail sales, from agencies to tour operators, all indicators suggest that interest in Africa is on the rise from Latin America. This demand is expected to grow, making it crucial for the market to prepare for this unprecedented wave of interest.
The topic of airlift is a major point of discussion between Africa and South America. Direct flights are once again in operation with airlines like TAAG, and recent launches by LATAM and South African Airways have set the industry abuzz with excitement. In East Africa, travellers have multiple options with airlines like Ethiopian Airways and carriers from the Middle East, further enhancing connectivity. Ryan Roach of Newmark Hotels & Reserves elaborated on this significance: ‘The Latin American market is very important for Newmark and has always been a good market for us. As the flights return, specifically from Brazil to Cape Town and Johannesburg, we just see this market continuing to grow and adding value to the wonderful properties in our portfolio.’
Across the three cities, exhibitors engaged with 185 top leisure operators and agents, who immersed themselves in the African ambience and hospitality to discover more opportunities for their clients.
Latin American travellers increasingly seek unique experiences, particularly in areas such as honeymoons, family holidays, gastronomic adventures, cultural immersion and photographic expeditions. African companies focusing on such experiences are poised to capture the interest of these markets.
Sustainability and environmental concerns are becoming critical factors in travel decisions. Travellers are increasingly conscious of the impacts of over-tourism and climate change. They are seeking sustainable and purposeful travel experiences.
While Latin American travellers can be price-conscious, they are willing to increase their budget for a better travel experience. Africa excels in offering some of the world’s finest accommodation and gastronomic experiences, often in remote and unique settings. With continuous education and increasing awareness, there are also promising opportunities for the development of Africa’s 4-star market. Travellers can immerse themselves in nature and disconnect from the everyday, making Africa a top choice for discerning Latin American travellers.
This is Africa’s moment to shine in Latin America.