African tourism authorities are betting that global youth audiences on TikTok and high net worth individuals seeking luxury safaris have something in common – enough interest in African wildlife to help reignite tourism.
This article was contributed to TechCabal by Conrad Onyango / bird
Kenya is turning to a global youth audience to showcase the eighth natural wonder of the world – the great wildebeest migration – as Africa goes all out to ramp up international tourism numbers. The East African country’s tourism board on Tuesday (August 24) announced a partnership with the short-form video platform TikTok, as the Kenyan government leads Africa in retooling traditional marketing strategies to raise its tourism appeal.
“Together with TikTok, we can engage the world with content and experiences from any part of the country and drive more awareness of our country and wildlife, especially during this time when travel is limited with the aim of curbing the spread of the virus,” said Betty Radier, Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Tourism Board.
The Latest World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) tourism recovery tracker shows International arrivals to Africa have dropped by 81 percent since January on the back of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and low consumer confidence.
A number of African countries are seeking to overturn those fears by rolling out major educational and investment campaigns to build the confidence of global travellers and once again lock in multi-billion US dollar tourism receipts.
Kenya Tourism Board said it is keen to ensure MagicalKenya remains top of mind among consumers by showcasing the country’s rich and diverse wildlife offerings. Through a collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Conservation International, the four-day campaign beamed from Masai Mara National Park starting August 25th, 2021, will also create awareness around biodiversity conservation and wildlife protection.
Kenya as a “luxury destination”
The East African country has also begun a marketing strategy to position Kenya as a luxury destination in several key markets when it received 15 guests from the United States on a 125,000 US dollar per person, 12-day luxury tour to four iconic African destinations.
Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who this week welcomed the tourists on the inaugural Roar Africa and Emirates Executive Private Jet Safari, said a focus on luxury tourism was crucial for a sustained recovery following COVID-19 related setbacks in the travel industry.
“The visit by this high-level delegation is a testament to the fact that Kenya is a consideration to the niche luxury traveller who is attracted to specific experiences and offerings. Our goal is to build on this as we work towards expanding into different market segments in the short and long term,” Balala said in a statement.
The trip christened ‘Greatest Safari on Earth’ and organized by travel company Roar Africa and airline Emirates will see the high profile tourists experience the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya, watch Gorillas in Rwanda, visit the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and experience the pristine wilderness of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
New World Wealth in its Africa Wealth Report 2021, ranks the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the Okavango Swamps in Botswana and Gorilla safaris in the Virunga Mountains (Rwanda) among Africa’s top luxury tourist destinations.
Reviving tourism numbers in Africa
The latest Allied Market Research predicted that the global luxury tourism market will reach 1.2 trillion dollars by 2027. It is not clear to what extent COVID-19 could derail that, however. According to New World Wealth, the luxury hotel sector “is one of the most important sectors in Africa as it brings a large amount of forex spending into the continent.”
South Africa, the main luxury tourist destination in Africa, is gearing up to host African and overseas exhibitors during Africa Travel Week 2022, slated for April next year. The conference is part of wider efforts to spark a post-COVID resurgence in travel on the continent.
Cape Town, a major luxury tourist destination in South Africa will play host to the conference. The event will showcase current tourism investments across the continent including in health and safety protocols geared to welcoming international visitors and renewed partnerships with local and international organizations to reignite tourism to the continent.
“Africa Travel Week is the perfect platform for us to showcase, to the international market, how our tourism sector has adapted to the times and improved on our already world-class offerings,” said Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Dan Plato in a statement.
In North Africa, Moroccan tourism officials in June projected the country will fill 3.5 million seats by end of September after it began reopening air travel by cutting down transport costs to facilitate the return of Moroccans residing abroad. The move has caused a mini tourism boom. Popular hotels that target high net worth Individuals in Marrakesh are reportedly recording up to 100 percent in occupancy rates.
UNWTO’s Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in 2021, mostly in the third quarter of 2021, driven by confidence-building initiatives, the easing of travel restrictions, and the prioritizing of vaccination of key workers in the tourism markets.