Africa Travel Week 2021 – 10 Thought Leaders to watch

Domestic Tourism to the rescue. Digitalisation for SMEs. Progress in Responsible Tourism. And the changing landscape of Africa’s Source Markets. These are just some of the topics featuring at Africa Travel Week from 7 to 9 April, featuring over 40 compelling panel discussions and presentations by industry experts.

Digital Africa Travel Week

Held virtually over the three days, the Content Programme will unpack some of the most immediate

opportunities and challenges affecting Africa’s tourism sector in times of COVID-19 and is the prelude to a series of ATW Connect webinars and events which will be hosted throughout the year, culminating in the hosting of a Connect in the City Live event in Cape Town planned for September.

To kick us off, here are 10 Thought Leaders you’ll get to hear at Africa Travel Week 2021:

  1. Naledi Khabo, CEO Africa Tourism Association

The Africa Tourism Association (ATA), a global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships. ATA serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry.  At its helm, Naledi K. Khabo has led the association through significant operational change including a complete re-branding of the organisation and launching several new digital platforms to serve the hospitality and tourism industry, including ‘thexchange.africa’ which was recently launched in response to the impact of the coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic on the hospitality, tourism, and meetings industry.

Naledi leads a WTM Africa panel on: The Future of Africa Travel: Embracing the African Diaspora

Check it out on Thursday 8 April at 16h30

  • Dr. Niki Glen, CEO Africa!Ignite

As an engineer by training with a deep passion to bring about change and empower people, Niki has developed and implemented sustainable tourism models, strategies and plans for Southern African towns and communities. She is recognised within the tourism industry as a leader in research and programme development and for her ability to stimulate collaboration amongst tourism stakeholders.  She works close to the coal face to identify blockages and barriers which prevent people from adopting change.  Her key strengths lie in working across complex structures and translating complex concepts into simple, practical and implementable actions, thus bringing sustainable tourism principles to grassroots levels.  

Niki joins the panel hosted by Professor Harold Goodwin on Progress in Responsible Tourism

Check it out on Wednesday 7 April at 11h30

  • Phaka Hlazo, Founder and Managing Director Zulu Nomad

Phaka is a seasoned strategist, and a hands-on operational lead with vast experience in the implementation of strategic change initiatives in Africa, Europe and Asia. The founder of Zulu Nomad, a digital services business servicing the tourism industry, Phaka has over four years operational presence in the African travel market, and over seven years in change management and digital transformation consultation. Phaka believes that technology innovation is a necessary enabler to true transformation and inclusion in the tourism sector, as such in 2019, Zulu Nomad launched the inaugural Africa Travel Hackathon, a movement poised to be a catalyst in the rise of tourism start-ups in South Africa and on the continent. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Zulu Nomad launched the Digital Skills and 4IR 

Phaka joins a WTM Africa panel on: Can Gen Z save the travel industry?

Check it out on Wednesday 7 April at 16h30

  • Dr Shaun Vorster, Advisory Board of World Tourism Forum Lucerne & Professor: University of Stellenbosch Business School

Dr Shaun Vorster serves on the Advisory Board of World Tourism Forum Lucerne and is steering the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism workstream on Biodiversity. Shaun has a track record of three decades as a strategy practitioner, of which nearly two decades in the travel and tourism industry and sustainable mega-project development. Environmental stewardship and social impact cut across his portfolio of professional activities in the private sector, government, think tanks and academia.  Shaun serves as extraordinary professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). He has published widely on corporate governance, strategic planning, sustainable tourism, low-carbon aviation, and climate change. He holds a Doctorate in International Political Economy and, as a lifelong learner, completed a mid-career MBA cum laude in 2012.  He previously served on the judging panel for the WTTC ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ awards and was one of the architects behind the inaugural T.20 (G20) Tourism Ministers’ Meeting launched in South Africa in 2010. 

Shaun leads a panel on: Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe?

Check it out on Thursday, 8 April at 11h30

  • Keith Jenkins, CEO iambassador

Keith Jenkins founded iambassador and began offering social media and marketing services in 2011. Keith is the Founder and Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 70 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith often speaks at travel and social media conferences. He is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3,000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic Traveler, and has spoken at TEDxTalk. 

Keith hosts a WTM Africa panel on: The importance of ethics and sustainability in influencer marketing 

Check it out on Wednesday 7 April at 13h30

  • Tshepo Matlou, Head of Marketing and Communications Jurni

Tshepo Matlou graduated with a Masters in Leadership and Management, Diploma in Marketing, Digital Marketing, Management Advanced Programme and Advanced Public Management Development Program, amongst other qualifications. He is an internationally accredited Executive Coach and is passionate about empowering people and their business using technical and transferring of skills in digital marketing which support business to stay relevant online. He has acquired over 18 years of management and executive experience in multiple sectors within South Africa. Jurni is a Travel and Tourism Data Management Company which implements National Tourism Visitor Information Systems by ensuring that relevant technology solutions are built to meet industry needs with the ultimate goal of collecting and showcasing meaningful travel and tourism data.

Tshepo joins a panel hosted by SEEZA’s Septi Bukula on: Digitalisation – A Growth Imperative for Tourism SMEs

Check it out on Wednesday 7 April at 14h30

  • Judy Kepher Gona, Director & Senior Consultant: Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda

Judy is a thought leader in sustainable tourism with over 20 years’ experience championing responsible tourism in Africa and beyond. From setting up Africa’s first ecotourism society to working with communities in tourism and conservation, developing, managing and being an assessor for several sustainable tourism recognition programs, Judy’s contribution to sustainable tourism transcends continents. In her past and present roles in boards of global and regional tourism organizations like The International Ecotourism Society, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Fair-Trade Tourism, she has made great contributions in shaping the practice of sustainable tourism. Judy is currently Director and Lead consultant at Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda (STTA), an organisation she founded in 2013 to contribute and lead the modelling of a sustainable future for Africa’s tourism.   

Judy joins a Responsible Tourism panel discussion on: Whose diversity is it? 

Check it out on Friday, 9 April at 11h30

  • Jon Howell, CEO and Founder AviaDev

Jon has worked within the African and European aviation events industries since 2012.  Jon joined Bench Events in 2015 and created AviaDev, a content platform and annual route planning conference for Africa. It is now established as the largest event of its kind on the continent having been held in Kigali 2016 and 2017 and then Cape Town in 2018 and 2019 with a future edition planned for Madagascar.  Additionally, Jon established AviaDev Insight Africa, the only podcast dedicated to African aviation in 2018 with more than 150 episodes. The podcast boasts an audience in over 160 countries globally and over 50,000 listeners.   Jon is passionate about empowering the next generation of aviators. He co-founded Aviators Africa Academy in 2018, which has delivered outreach events across the continent. 

Jon hosts a WTM Africa panel on: Air Transport. The key to Africa’s tourism recovery?

Check it out on Thursday 8 April at 14h30

  • Muthuri Kinyamu, Cofounder: Turnup.Travel

Muthuri Kinyamu is a destination marketer, digital marketing specialist, and co-founder of Turnup.Travel - an African travel brand focused on themed experiences, storytelling, and social impact. Turnup.Travel has been at the forefront of disrupting tourism from our HQ in Kenya by offering new-age travellers bespoke experiences to transform dreams into beautiful memories that customers book via www.turnup.travel

Muthuri joins a WTM Africa panel discussion on: Domestic tourism to the rescue

Check it out on Wednesday 7 April at 11h30

  1. Christele Chokossa, Senior Research Analyst: Euromonitor

Christele is a senior analyst at Euromonitor International with a focus on services and payments. Based in Cape Town, she has more than five years of experience in the industry. ​ 

She also oversees services related projects across Sub-Saharan African markets like Nigeria, Kenya and Cameroon. ​ Christele advises clients across various industries on evolving consumer behaviours in Africa, as well as socio-economic challenges and opportunities across the region.  Before joining Euromonitor, she was an analyst at a financial service company. 

Christele leads a presentation on: The New Normal: Where to go from the pandemic?   

Check it out on Thursday 8 April at 10h30

“Providing this pivotal platform for success, ATW will have as its focus inspiring, educating and helping to rebuild the travel and tourism industry over the course of the three days and beyond. The hosted panel discussions and presentations, along with the virtual events themselves, are an important part of shining a spotlight on the opportunities for travel to Africa and we can’t wait to share these insights with our industry colleagues,” says Martin Hiller, Content and Creative Director: Travel, Tourism & Creative Industries for Reed Exhibitions Africa.

Visit https://atwconnect.com/conference-programme/ for the full Africa Travel Week Content Programme.

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