5th annual e-Tourism Africa summit launched in Cape Town

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The fifth annual e-Tourism Africa summit will take place on September 13 and 14 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The summit will bring together some of the world’s leading experts in online tourism, including TripAdvisor, Wanderfly, Expedia, Facebook developers and a host of new and innovative speakers. New sessions will cover Facebook campaigning for tourism and mobile travel apps. South African Tourism is the title sponsor of the two-day conference, with Cape Town Tourism as the host sponsor.

The summit will focus on the use of social media to leverage online bookings. With online tourism sales set to double to over $300 billion by the end of 2012 and Facebook expected to have one billion users this year, it is critical that tourism players in the sector make better use of the internet and social media to market and manage their destinations and businesses.

CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, Damian Cook, said it was vital that all tourism players continue to increase both their understanding and investment into the online sector.

“Online travel bookings continue to soar. The latest statistics show that travellers will book more than half of the world's travel sales online by the end of 2012 and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings are expected to grow twice as fast as the total market, to surpass $313 billion this year. The great news for emerging markets, such as Africa, is that online travel and tourism is poised to experience solid growth over the next five years, with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, according to Euromonitor,” said Cook. Euromonitor is a global market-research company.

He added, “With figures like these, it is clear that online is now the arena of choice for travel sales, but we need to look at how we can also use technology to build growth in challenging markets and make our industry more sustainable. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are vital tools when researching travel. However, only a small number of African Tourism companies are really accessing and using these tools to their full potential. The summit will include training sessions designed to show them how to do this, ” said Cook.

Global Manager of E-Marketing at South African Tourism, William Price, said that the Summit will be a great opportunity for the tourism sector to catch up with all the latest online technology. “We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the summit, we want to continue to show the tourism sector that shifting their business online is absolutely crucial. As part of our sponsorship package we will be giving 100 SMMEs on our South African Travel Directory the chance to attend the summit on a complimentary basis. We want to make moving online accessible and practical and the summit will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn what works online and the new trends and innovations that will help build our business for the future,” said Price.

The e-Tourism Africa Summit will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on September 13 and 14, 2012.  Registration for the e-Tourism Africa Summit is open. To register, visit www.e-tourismfrontiers.com.

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