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The Kingdom of Eswatini

Eswatini shines at WTM Africa trade show in Cape Town, South Africa

The Eswatini Tourism Authority attended WTM Africa this month alongside nine Industry players such as Big Game Parks, Forester’s Arms Hotel, MTN Bushfire Festival, Mantenga Lodge, Piggs Peak Hotel, Eswatini Air, Nkonyeni Golf Estate and Lodge, The Royal Villas Hotel and Happy Valley Hotel and Casino in promoting Eswatini as a destination of choice to be visited in Africa. The highlight was on the last day when the MTN Bushfire Festival was launched at the Eswatini stand to promote and encourage the travel professionals to also make use of Eswatini Air as a means of transport to Eswatini.

World Travel Market (WTM) Africa is considered as one of the leading global events for the travel industry. Launched in 2014, WTM Africa offers the tourism industry within the Sub Sahara Africa region the benefits and opportunities of access to global industry expertise and travel professionals. Visitors can gather information about the most exciting and mind-refreshing tourist spots and can establish contacts with various travel agencies from all across the world. WTM Africa attracted over 100 exhibitors, 176 speakers, 9503 pre-scheduled meetings and had more than 80 hours of content. There were also various stages wherein content was shared across the three days such as the Global Stage, Future Theatre, Inspire Theatre, Spotlight Theatre and Brain Box.

The Eswatini destination literature was used to provide information and paint a better picture of the destination to all stand visitors. Each visitor was given Eswatini Explorer Map and Industry brochures throughout the 3 days of the show.  Eswatini Discovery QR code, Eswatini videos were also used to promote the destination during the show.

Objectives for attending WTM Africa;

  • To establish contacts with tourism service providers with the aim of capitalizing on these relationships in the future through the exchange of ideas, business and indeed moving tourists across South Africa, Mozambique and Eswatini.
  • To market Eswatini to tourism service providers, buyers, tour operators, media, travel agents and exhibitors that attended WTM – Africa.
  • To create awareness of the Eswatini Tourism Brand.

Frequently asked questions included but not limited to;

  • What is the best time to visit Eswatini?
  • What are the points of interest in Eswatini?
  • Why did the country change name?
  • Is it safe to visit Eswatini?
  • How do I get to Eswatini?
  • How many days can I spend in Eswatini?
  • Can we get assistance if we travel alone (not part of a tour group)?

Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA)

The WTM Africa Ministerial Roundtable 2024 provided a truly practical platform for tourism Ministers, sector leaders and top thinkers to share best practices and explore investment opportunities. Eswatini was represented by the Hon. Minister for Tourism and Environmental Affairs Jane Mkhonta-Simelane. TIFA aimed to promote tourism and related sectors investment, finance solutions and opportunities between African countries and the rest of the World. As the investment conference predicated on the philosophy of “a global platform for local action”, TIFA aimed to position and profile host locations and other participating African destinations as attractive investment locations and tourism destinations, thereby contributing to the achievement of their economic development and growth ambitions. By creating a platform for access to capital, networks and exchange of insights, the forum also aimed to facilitate the development of start-ups and growth of emerging and established businesses in the tourism and related sectors.

The Africa Travel Week Trend Report

The number of inbound arrival trips to Africa has increased significantly over the last 10 years. According to Euromonitor International, growth has been steadily increasing, with an average yearly rise of 7%. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on travel, the number of inbound arrivals trips in the region increased from 56 million to 76 million between 2014 and 2019.

Inbound arrivals exceeded 80% of pre-COVID levels by the end of 2023, totaling 63 million trips. According to Euromonitor, 2023 saw 2.3 million trips from China and India to Africa – a significant jump from 1.5 million a decade prior. Over 70% of inbound tourist in Africa continue to be regional tourists, according to Euromonitor. Projections indicate strong growth in inbound arrivals and spending. Between 2024 and 2027, average annual growth rates are expected to reach 8% for inbound arrivals and 6% for spending. Consequently, by 2027, inbound arrivals are anticipated to surpass 95 million trips, generating over US$90 billion in inbound receipts.

Eswatini’s continued future in tourism depends on its presence in most of the world’s tourism platforms where both trade, tourism practitioners and government agencies come together to do business in tourism. These platforms give Eswatini an opportunity to learn, cooperate and compete with other destinations to attract tourism business to Eswatini. Such platforms also enable Eswatini to raise its profile both as a stand-alone destination and also as part of the Southern African destinations that deserve placing in the tour operators and travel media’s agenda for the region. Moreover, the participation of Eswatini enables her to network with her counter parts, thus get invaluable experience that enables the country to mark time with the latest trends and decide its positioning as a destination in context of its competitors and the global market place.