10 Surprising Things About Tech And Tourism In Africa

Tourism is an important industry within many African countries, and technology is helping to contribute positively to the growth and sustainability of tourism across the continent.

Many obstacles are present when it comes to bringing tourism and technology together, such as limited internet speeds and penetration, relatively high costs of certain technologies and skills shortages, but despite these challenges, tourism is booming and growing in Africa, thanks to a resurgent economy and a more digitally connected world, along with the opportunities that this world now provides.

With this in mind, here are 10 surprising things about technology and the forecast for African tourism.

Sources: TravelStart, eTurboNews, Pulse, WTM Global Trends Report 2015, Alfalfa Content Generator, BBC, Naija247.

Technology start-ups flourishing on the continent

Technology start-ups are finding great success across Africa, according to the WTM Global Trends Report 2015, in association with Euromonitor International. As a knock-on effect of this, African economies will likely be boosted, and this offers an improved and positive image to international tourists, enticing them to add an African destination to their itinerary for future travel.

Investment in Tech Hubs doubling

According to the World Bank, more than half of African countries now have one or more tech hubs with investment doubling during last year, reaching $27 million. Examples of these tech hubs in Africa include Hope City in Ghana and the Konza Technology City in Kenya. These tech hubs are incredibly important for the nurturing of African inventors, entrepreneurs and future business leaders.

Tech Hubs to boost tourism infrastructure

An important element of these tech hubs is the investment in infrastructure, which inevitably includes transportation and accommodation. This means that many of these tech hubs spawn plans for hotel developments, which provide investment potential for both local and international properties. As a result of an increase in business visitors to tech hubs, more leisure tourists will likely be encouraged to visit Africa as facilities are upgraded or newly built.

Location-based data increasing tourism possibilities

Thanks to location-based data services, apps can be created to let tourists and locals know about businesses, restaurants, accommodation options and other services in their immediate area. An example of this is South African company AwesomeSouthAfrica.com, which created an app that caters specifically to tourists by providing them with knowledge about what is around them and how they can spend their time, and money.

Moving away from traditional experiences

Thanks to the wonders of technology, the remotest of places are now able to grab the attention of a global audience and encourage people to go for more than the traditional African experiences in favour of more adventurous pursuits. Kenyan-based E-Tourism Frontiers is a company aimed at developing online tourism in global emerging markets, and is a perfect example of the progression away from traditional experiences one expects from Africa. The company provides individuals with tourism expertise to enable them to reveal the gems of their specific countries, such as markets that are not well known, or a culinary delight such as a restaurant specialising in local cuisine.

Social media allowing a big platform for the small

Social media is another element of the online environment that produces possibilities for smaller tourism businesses to make a mark on their industry by giving any business, no matter the size, a presence online that can attract people from all over the world. An example of this is a small establishment called Kigongoni Lodge off the Tanzanian coast that embraced social media and turned itself into a popular destination. The advantage of this is that an active and innovative Twitter profile or Facebook page can then attract interest and be featured globally in numerous travel and lifestyle magazines or online blogs.

Apps providing safe transport options

In the past one of the major criticisms that visitors to Africa would have is that the provision of private transport such as taxis was not well structured and difficult to acquire, but with the rise of companies providing these services via mobile apps, this has become a thriving business in Africa, allowing tourists access to safe, well-priced and reliable private transport. An example of this is Nigerian start-up Tranzit, which provides a mobile app that allows people to book taxis, making the most of Nigeria’s multi-million dollar industry.

Travel and tourism-related websites growing

There is a trend that sees numerous African based travel and tourism related websites achieving excellent growth, and even attracting investment. Nigeria’s largest online hotel booking site Hotels.ng now lists over 7,000 hotels in the West African country, and plans to expand into other countries in the region, such as Ghana, shortly. “The growing technology sector in Africa is helping to expand the travel industry, Easier online discovery combined with growing consumer confidence in online bookings has made it extremely straightforward for us to cater directly to travellers’ needs,” website CEO Mark Essien said.

IMF prediction off

The International Monetary Fund predicted that the tourism sector in Africa would decline terribly due to the financial crisis impacting the world, but in fact that forecast has been wrong, with tourism proving to be a lifeline for many economies on the continent. A big reason for the strength in tourism goes down to the tech improvements mentioned previously, as well as the increased Internet penetration and the benefits that this provides to businesses and the tourists themselves.

First world tourists love South Africa

Research conducted recently by the Alfalfa Content Generator reveals that approximately 2.254 million tourists visit South Africa each year from countries outside the African continent. The research shows that these tourists are tech savvy, while relying on word-of-mouth referrals from those they trust before planning their trip well in advance. These travellers expect and appreciate the excellent customer service and European-standard facilities that the country offers, with the top seven visiting countries being the U.S.A., Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia and Switzerland.

Source: AFKI Original