18 SEP 2019: Business to Africa is booming, but the market is experiencing subtle changes, says Moira Smith. And that’s all the more reason, according to Goway’s GM for Africa and the Middle East, for the tour operator to be out on the road with its annual agent events this week

Collectively about 420 travel counsellors were expected to attend shows this week in Toronto (Monday), Calgary (Wednesday) and Edmonton (Thursday), with two dozen suppliers from 30 countries on hand for seven-minute presentations, dinner, and trade show to deliver the latest news from the region.

And also, according to Smith, to press home the theme, “Why tourism is important to conservation.”

Smith notes that the shows reflect a subtle shift in Goway bookings in the past couple of years with North Africa and the Middle East proving more popular. Two years ago, she says 60 percent of clients were choosing South Africa and 12 percent North Africa/Middle East; today, it’s 40:25, with 33 percent opting for East Africa.

“Egypt and Morocco are just coming to the fore,” she says, pointing out that the former, in particular, is really on a roll. “It’s fantastic,” she adds of the long-awaited Egypt revival.

As such, Goway agents can expect to see more product in the region, including combo tours like “Egypt & Jordan.”

Meanwhile, Goway’s bread and butter, South Africa, continues to thrive. “It’s always strong,” Smith says, noting that the Canadian dollar is experiencing a favourable exchange rate with the rand, thereby creating great value in the destination. “There are such phenomenal offers,” she says.

Looking ahead to 2020 – Goway’s 50th anniversary – Smith says agents and clients will see a return of the of the spectacular 30-day “Cape to Cairo” itinerary, a “best of the best” overland excursion that features top hotels and experiences, like a ride on luxurious Rovos Rail, a safari at Cottar’s 1920s Camp in Kenya, seeing the Great Migration from a balloon, and visiting the famed rock-cut churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia, and, of course the Pyramids, during the South Africa-Egypt trip.

Departing Sept. 23, Smith points out the duration of the trip and its quality actually makes the $78,500 price tag a bargain.

“In Africa, we have the ability to sell really high-end products at affordable prices (for the quality of the product),” she says.

But it’s about more than just price, she adds.

“Going to Africa is transformational, it’s experiential,” says Smith, who hails from South Africa. “People go to Africa to connect with themselves.

“Africa, at any time,” she exclaims, “is a good idea!”

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Michael Baginski

Editor, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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