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From zero to 33 million

Justice Malala – considered  to be Africa’s foremost political commentator and analyst – has taken the podium at the second edition of ILTM (International Luxury Travel Market) Africa this week, during the opening forum at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town. As the first event of Africa Travel Week, the ILTM Opening Forum was moderated by international global business speaker Alex Granger, who welcomed Cape Town’s Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson. Granger introduced Malala, who addressed ‘Hosted Buyers’ and exhibitors in the packed auditorium with stories of life in South Africa during Apartheid, where he commented that “no-one would have wanted to bring a client to this country before 1994”.

Yet, during the past year, the newly-fledged democracy had been able to welcome 33.8 million visitors, compared to only 6.7m in 1990. Receipts from tourism in 2012 reached US$36 billion. Entertaining the audience with his life experiences, Malala also displayed statistics proving that the number of Africa’s super-rich had grown by 11.1% in 2010 alone – the fastest increase worldwide. He also observed that four trillion Rand would be spent on roads and infrastructure in the next 15 years. A series of live debates followed with three of the world’s leading travel editors from Conde Nast Traveller India and the US, including the Sunday Times in the UK. They gave tips to exhibitors on how to present their products to international media, giving hints on how editors pick a story, how they select their “hot-lists”, and what it takes to decide on a travel feature. It was pointed out, however, that one also needs to focus on the authenticity of experiences to readers.

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