Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

From the US presidency, to Brexit, to continued security threats and political upheaval, the world is a more complex and challenging place today than it was this time last year. Just two years ago, few would’ve believed we’d be talking about Africa’s emergence as a safe haven for global travellers, yet across the continent, a combination of factors is leading to reports of double digit growth.  Available data for Africa points to an 8% rebound in inbound tourism in 2016, adding 4 million arrivals to reach 58 million overall. Sub-Saharan Africa led the growth at 11%, easily outstripping inbound growth figures of the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Adding to the good news, luxury travel markets throughout the continent are experiencing uplift as the surge in demand for 'transformative travel' experiences continues to propel Africa into the global spotlight. The Deloitte Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2016 report predicts air traffic will double over the next 15 years, driven largely by an increase in travellers from emerging markets. Crucially, these travellers are much younger than travellers from developed market countries and a report we read this week believes these two factors represent a huge opportunity for African luxury.

Read the article here  

Is transformational travel the trend Africa has been waiting for? Time to get a View...

News Views

Exhibitor View

"At the moment, Chinese millennials do not make up a significant portion of our market. However, I have recently been on a marketing trip to Asia and it became evident to me that there is a whole market that has not been fully tapped. There is a rise in the medium and upper class in Asia, and they are becoming more interested in different destinations. My observation is that people in these countries are very keen to travel and adventure to unique places, in fact we have seen an upsurge of enquiries from that market just from my initial trip, because of the media exposure and the few partners we are working with there. That being said, the Asian market is more discerning than traditional markets, which could be challenging. There are many luxury destinations in Asia which are quite affordable for the average income and with the technology and level of service that is available on that side of the world, their expectations will be high."

Buyer View

"Certainly there is an increase in travellers requesting Africa, this is for a few reasons. First, people need adventure in their trips nowadays and Africa meets that need perfectly. Safaris are a perfect gateway for a family of all ages to be together, whether grandparents or children. Namibia and Botswana are the top ones. Secondly, there’s a perception that Europe, Egypt etc. might not be completely safe to travel, which also opens an additional door to Africa. The type of traveller going to Africa are the wealthy Chinese group travellers – doctors, lawyers, investors, aged from 40 to 70. There is also increased demand from honeymooners. Certainly not millennials, considering travellers from Hong Kong. Biggest reason is time - Safari trips are always 11 to 15 nights long and Hong Kong’s millennials can only gateway for hardly 5 to 7 nights. Besides, millennials are more explorers than to be focusing only on prime luxury, which Africa focuses on. Based on experience, I would say ratio of wealthy Chinese with age group of 50 and above has been much higher."

Buyer View

"I have found that in the last 2 years interest in Africa peaked within my clientele, especially South-Africa, Botswana and Ethiopia, but in my experience the interest has come from my traditional luxury clientele: more in the 40 – 60 years old category and often as family holidays. In my opinion, the above generation is very aware of the importance of quality time with family while on holiday, introducing children to different cultures & social awareness. Volunteering is often part of the plan. The general feeling of terrorism on many traditional tourist areas in the world perhaps “pushed” Africa forward on the bucket list but the simplification of visas in certain countries in the last few years certainly helped, and I noticed an increase in corporate and incentive travel that then is being extended as personal vacation. The exchange rate of the Rand has also been helpful and the FIFA World cup in 2014 brought more awareness."


"The Asia outbound luxury market continues to grow, especially in China where the rich are getting richer and there are more and more of them. Coupled with the gradual maturing of the travel market in the region, we are seeing many more non-traditional destinations for Chinese travellers starting to include the Chinese in their strategies for next year. Europe will always be big, but Iceland, Sri Lanka and Thailand are now seeing huge growth also."

Buyer View

"We're most interested in Europe, luxury islands and adventurous places, above all, we're always intrigued by companies who have unique businesses or resources. Our target customers are looking for really unique experiences when travelling abroad, luxury hotels with special features - edgy design, unique location, distinctive activities - are the most attractive ones to us."

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