TechInAfrica — A leading travel tech conference and media in the Asia Pacific, Web In Travel (WiT) has announced its first-ever event to be held in Africa. The event will be staged in Cape Town, South Africa, on May 28, 2020.
In a statement, Yeoh Siew Hoon, the founder of WiT, said, “The time has come for Africa in the online travel space. The rest of the world is excited about African opportunities and the dynamism of the region echoes what we have experienced in many of Asia’s emerging markets – fragmented, diverse, connected and full of promise – and we look forward to learning how the industry is changing and growing on the continent.”
WiT had established since 2005 with its signature conference in Singapore. The platform also runs editions in South Korea (Seoul); Japan & North Asia (Tokyo), and Middle East (Dubai). WiT’s events are regarded as an important instigator for the growth of the online travel industry, especially in the developing world.
“With our roots in Asia, we understand the characteristics of emerging markets and the headroom for growth with a young, urban, rising middle class demographic – often highly social, highly mobile – and we are excited to connect the dots between what is happening in Africa with Asia, and see if there are lessons to be learned for mutual gain,” Yeoh said.
WiT events aim at changing customer behavior as well as evolving and adapting travel companies with technology. The platform is known for winning innovation and encouraging startup ecosystems by gathering startups and investors together. They also focus on building bridges between regions and global markets. The content mixes global observation and expertise with local insights to make sure that it is relevant to local players.
WiT is launching its African debut with three Foundation Sponsors: Travelstart, Wego, and Cleartrip. “Our Foundation Sponsors represent visionary global travel brands that have invested in African markets for many years and have deep local knowledge. They are familiar with the WiT brand and our values and have demonstrated a solid commitment to the development and growth of the online travel sector in the region,” Yeoh said.
Stephan Ekbergh, Travelstart founder and CEO, said, “Without a doubt, WiT is a highlight of the conference calendar and I have been fortunate enough to attend their events as both speaker and audience member over the years. The level of quality, enthusiasm, and expertise Siew Hoon and the WiT team bring to their gatherings is unrivaled and I am thrilled that they are pinning a stake on African soil in 2020.”
Commenting on the the event, Wego co-founder and CEO Ross Veitch, also added, “Attending a WiT event is like doing an online travel master class focused on a particular geography and so I’m really looking forward to attending the inaugural WiT Africa in Cape Town next May and to learning more about the opportunities presented by a population of some 1.2 billion people, many of who are entering the digital economy for the first time.”
WiT Africa, that will be staged at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, is expected to attract up to 200 delegates who can expect to learn about the rapid digitization in creating choice and affordability for a diverse set of customers, and how they must adapt to it.
Moreover, the program will emphasize Africa’s startup ecosystem as well as the evolvement and the creating of new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Margaret Feng, Head of Oasis Lab, Ctrip’s Innovation Division, sees the growing interest of Chinese companies in Africa. “China is the largest financing country for infrastructure in Africa, with an average investment of US$11.5 billion from 2012 to 2016, accounting for 15% of the total financing.”
Travel companies, Feng said, were planning to expand to Africa for the next wave of growth. “Africa is a very far but exotic destination for Chinese travelers. When the infrastructure improves, we firmly believe more Chinese travelers would like to explore this continent. To follow their lead, we are keen on the development of Africa,” she concludes.