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16 March 2011

Technology to the fore

Members of the travel industry are looking forward to the 4th annual E-Tourism Africa Summit, launched in Cape Town yesterday.

Damian Cook, William Price and Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold at the E-Tourism Africa launch. Damian Cook, William Price and Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold at the E-Tourism Africa launch.

We need to start making online a priority. In Africa we have some of the richest, most diverse and dramatic destinations on the planet, and the limitless world of the web to tell our stories. - William Price, Global Manager E-Marketing, South African Tourism

There was much excitement in Cape Town yesterday as the 4th annual E-Tourism Africa Summit was launched at the quarterly Joint Association Membership Meeting (JAMM)*.

The summit will take place between 15 and 16 September 2011 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) with South African Tourism as the title sponsor.

This year's event is going to be very exciting, according to William Price, Global Manager for E-Marketing at South African Tourism.

'The E-Tourism Africa Summit is going to be bigger, better and more hands-on than ever before,' says Price. 'One of the major highlights of the event is that South African Tourism will be sponsoring 100 SMMEs to get more of the smaller operators into the social media/travel/web3.0 space.'

The main topic of the E-Tourism Africa Summit is the sustainability of tourism and this year's programme features an all-new format with a strong 'can-do' practical element. International speakers will share their knowledge with participants and a practical online tourism seminar will bring the travel industry up to date on all the latest innovations in e-commerce, digital marketing and social media.

'As South African Tourism, we need to make use of this opportunity to educate, support and inspire the local trade to adopt the online way in travel and destination marketing,' says Price.

Damian Cook, CEO and Founder of E-Tourism Frontiers, the company responsible for organising the event, explains that online tourism is a rapid area of growth and that it is essential to catch-up with latest innovations and trends.

'We need to look at how we can use technology to build growth in challenging markets and make our industry more sustainable,' he says. 'This is especially true in Africa, where we are only beginning to realise the full potential of technology for tourism.'

Price agrees, saying it is essential for tourism companies in Africa to gain their share of the vast $160 billion plus online travel market business.

'We need to start making online a priority,' he says. 'In Africa, we have some of the richest, most diverse and dramatic destinations on the planet, and the limitless world of the web to tell our stories.'

* JAMM consists of Cape Town Tourism, SATSA Western Cape, FEDHASA Cape, and SAACI.