GTA taps into Africa’s tourism potential

NOW retail and online travel agents can access an even greater range of African accommodation thanks to Global Travel Services (GTA). As consumers begin planning their 2013 holidays, GTA has introduced 170, three- to five-star hotels from 12 countries – Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia – as well as 44 in South Africa and 35 in Morocco, two of GTA’s most popular destinations.

More than half (58 per cent) are in sub-Saharan destinations, where visitors can enjoy a range of experiences whether cultural, heritage, ecological, culinary, rural or community-based.

Says Rami Mashini, vice president for FIT Sales Middle East and Africa: “We scour the globe for tens of thousands of accommodation options, destination services, attractions and experiences. We connect businesses to this vast portfolio through our retail booking site, which makes it easy for them to successfully market and sell travel to consumers.

Among accommodation on the new list:

Four-star Far Hills Country Hotel, George, overlooking the Outeniqua mountains and  in the heart of South Africa’s Garden Route,  Marrakech’s five-star Sofitel Lounge & Spa hotel from where you can explore the bustling Medina and the Djemaa el Fna square, the three-star Peermont Metcourt Inn in The Grand Palm resort in Gaborone, Southern Botswana, three and a half-star Casa Piccolo Guest House, a 16-bedroom pension in one of Windhoek’s oldest suburbs offering poolside relaxation under Namibia’s ‘big sky’.

The 170 new additions recognise the increasing potential of Africa for travel and tourism, particularly sub-Saharan nations unaffected by the Arab Spring. GTA is capturing the continent’s growth potential for fully independent travellers (FIT) by expanding its destination footprint as part of its ambition to ‘grow where the future is’.

Africa’s potential has been underlined by the International Monetary Fund, which last October revised up its 2013 forecast to 5.7 per cent, and by international hotel brands scouting African capitals: Accor will add 30 hotels by 2016 and Marriott will have 50 hotels there by 2020, a six-fold increase. According to The Economist, Africa’s fast growth means it does not yet have nearly enough hotels for demand: occupancy rates are sky-high, as are margins.

According to the International Air Transport Authority, Africa’s airline industry is among the fastest growing in the world. Traffic to the country is rising with airline passenger numbers expected to increase from 71 million in 2011 to 150 million by 2030.