AviaDev Africa 2024: Elevating Aviation and Tourism


Between 19th and 21st June 2024, Namibia is set to host AviaDev Africa 2024, the premier aviation conference for African air route development, marking a significant milestone for the country’s burgeoning aviation and tourism industries.
2024 will be the 8th edition of the event, that began life in Kigali and has since been hosted in Cape Town and Nairobi. It is a business centric forum, connecting airports, airlines, tourism boards through formal pre-arranged meetings, quality conference sessions and informal networking opportunities.

Over 40 airlines, represented by 85 registered senior delegates will be present. These airlines range from start-up to some of the globe’s largest airlines. What they all have in common is that they want to develop connectivity to, from, or within Africa.

AviaDev was not designed as an event to debate or create policy. It is a platform that looks pragmatically at what can be done in the existing environment in terms of developing connectivity. The aim is to support the industry to develop, which may drive policy change from the ground up?

Namibia: A Strategic Choice
Namibia’s selection as the host for AviaDev Africa 2024 is both strategic and symbolic. Known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, Namibia is increasingly recognized as a top tourist destination. The country’s commitment to sustainable tourism and its modern aviation infrastructure make it an ideal host country.

Windhoek, the capital city, serves as the hub of Namibia’s aviation sector, housing Hosea Kutako International Airport, which has seen significant upgrades in recent years. These improvements aim to enhance capacity and efficiency, aligning with the country’s vision of becoming a central aviation hub in Southern Africa.

The Role of Tourism Authorities
Tourism authorities in Africa play a pivotal role in supporting new air route developments. I have consistently argued in previous articles that airlines are a destination’s most important customer, and that destinations should support their airport teams and airline partners to launch, expand and maintain services.

To underline this, an air route development masterclass is being offered for all attending tourism delegates. The masterclass will feature a variety of experts from airlines, airports, tourism authorities and more that will practically explore strategies for creating strong partnerships between airlines and DMOs to open new air routes, data sharing, digital marketing and overcoming administrative hurdles.

The Masterclass is hosted in partnership with the SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance, led by Natalia Rosa, who represent the interests of SADC’s private sector

The masterclass will feature the following industry heavyweights:

Tim Harris, former CEO of WESGRO, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Tim was the architect of the Cape Town Air Access project, which has proved itself to be a world leader in stakeholder collaboration that has attracted airlines to serve the destination.

Sylvain Bosc, who has worked for both South African Airways and Fastjet as Chief Commercial Officer. Sylvain has dealt with many tourism agencies over the years as he has developed route networks.

Gavin Eccles is Consulting Partner at AirlinePros International and has decades of experience advising airlines, airports and destinations on their route development strategies.

Jillian Blackbeard is the Chief Executive Officer of Africa’s Eden, who is working with private sector to drive responsible travel and tourism to the KAZA region (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe)

Last but not least, we have Kojo Bentum Williams, African tourism advocate and someone who has been visionary and has supported AviaDev to drive the partnership between tourism and aviation

Strengthening Partnerships:
AviaDev Africa provides a platform for networking and establishing partnerships, both between tourism authorities and their existing airline partners, but also stakeholder partnerships with local partners. It is only when a destination is aligned with its aviation stakeholders that we can deliver active route development, attracting much-needed tourists and the associated economic benefits.

Tourism authorities attending AviaDev in Namibia have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this event, propelling Africa towards a brighter and more connected future.

AviaDev Africa 2024 will take place in Windhoek, Namibia 19-21 June 2024.

Find out more at https://www.aviationdevelop.com

Jon Howell, is the CEO and Founder of AviaDev, a division of The Bench. Jon has dedicated the last 12 years to supporting the development of air connectivity to, from, and within the African continent by delivering live and virtual events and providing year-round content and insight into the industry. The annual AviaDev Africa event was established in 2016 and is now regarded as the premier platform dedicated to supporting African Aviation development, having delivered 7 editions.

Jon established AviaDev Insight Africa, the only podcast dedicated to African aviation in 2018. To date, the podcast has over 100,000 listeners in 185 countries globally and over 290 episodes to its name.

Jon is passionate about empowering the next generation of aviators. He became a Visiting Professor at Coventry University in March 2022 and regularly delivers lectures to Undergraduate and postgraduate aviation management students.Jon was also appointed a Global Ambassador for Gorilla Conservation for his fundraising efforts which include climbing the three largest mountains in the UK in a single weekend wearing a gorilla suit.


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