Whilst WTM London attracted a disappointingly low number of UK tour operators, Kamageo’s destinations proved the stars of the African and Indian Ocean sections.
Mauritius appeared to be by far the busiest Indian Ocean stand, which suggests the island’s supposed lack of fashionability has been short-lived and has reversed for 2020. Operators highlighted that 2019 had proved a tough year for Mauritius but that 2020 bookings were looking hugely encouraging. Kamageo’s partnerships manager, Ella Blighty added “Our programme of joint marketing will kick in at exactly the right time to boost sales”.
On the African mainland, Uganda, which now enjoys close to 90% coverage amongst UK africa specialists, saw WTM showcase the plans for more wildlife translocations, newly opened properties and worthwhile new activities, to further boost the positivity towards the destination. Kamageo’s head of consumer, Rich Whiston also added that, “Our upcoming high-profile consumer marketing campaigns are bound to drive sales”.
Sierra Leone, Senegal and The Gambia all took substantial space at the show, which attracted high volumes of interested buyers, albeit that the majority were from mainland Europe and not the UK. Thankfully away from WTM, Kamageo has been able to generate significant interest from UK media and trade. PR Manager, Charlotte Cobley felt that “West Africa is proving increasingly attractive, as it offers diverse experiences and attractions just as the trade, media and public are seeking exciting, new and less visited destinations”.
Malawi and Eswatini reported improved interest levels on 2019. Malawi in particular saw how the increased level of wildlife within its re-vitalised national parks has seen a repositioning of the country. Tourism Director, Kelly White summed it up, “Previously seen as a lake-focused add on to Zambia, Malawi is increasingly being sold as a stand-alone destination, thanks to the work of African Parks and others”.
It is clear that participation in WTM London will again be on the agenda. Amongst Kamageo’s current portfolio, Zambia made a late decision not to exhibit. Kamageo’s Head of Trade, Nadia Alam state’s “Opportunities such as Experience Africa (by Atta) and Safari Roadshows (run by Kamageo) will become ever more important, but we are exploring numerous alternatives”.