The 6th Annual E-Tourism Africa Summit was launched today. The two-day, world-class conference, will take place on the 9th and 10th of September at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The summit will once again bring together some of the world’s leading experts on online tourism including Facebook, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Twitter and a new set of innovative speakers and solutions both local and international. South African Tourism is the title sponsor of the summit.

Mr. Damian Cook, the CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, said it was vital that all tourism players continue to increase both their understanding and investment into the online sector. “Online travel bookings continue to grow globally, with bookings expected to reach over US $400 billion this year, while 40% of total travel spending will now be online, said Cook, quoting statistics from Online Travel Research Firm – PhoCus Wright.

Cook also outlined how online travel growth will increase in emerging markets. “The combination of increasing wealth among middle-class consumers and greater internet penetration and greater consumer confidence for online payments in emerging markets has led to the rapid increase in online travel sales. The great news for emerging markets, such as Africa, is that online travel and tourism is poised to experience solid growth over the next five years – with the Middle East and Africa leading the way in percentage terms, according to Euromonitor,” said Cook.

Cook went on to say, online travel will also benefit from Africa’s growth in mobile. “With mobile penetration across Africa expected to reach 80% later this year and smart phone ownership currently around 17 to 19% of the continent, according to the 2012 African Mobile Factbook, online mobile travel sales will be very important for domestic and regional travel bookings, said Cook.

The E-Tourism Frontiers CEO said mobile continues to be very important, “We will take a closer look at mobile during the summit and we will also have very practical sessions on the second day of the summit, that will give the travel trade the opportunity to focus strongly on which social media campaigns, channels and online business opportunities work well in Africa and for their own markets’, said Cook.

The event will also feature the announcement of the winner of the Africa App Quest, sponsored by Visa and South African Tourism. This continent wide search for the best locally developed travel technology will see a $10,000 prize given to one of the finalists who will be presenting their solution to the E-Tourism Africa Summit audience.

William Price, Global Manager: E-Marketing at South African Tourism, said that the Summit will be a great opportunity for the tourism sector to catch up with all the latest online technology. “We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the summit, we want to continue to show the tourism sector that shifting their business online is absolutely crucial. As part of our sponsorship package we will be giving the chance to 100 SMMEs to attend the summit on a complimentary basis. We also plan to unveil a Digital Academy at the summit that will be specially designed for our travel trade. We want to make moving online accessible and practical and the summit will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn what works online and the new trends and innovations that will help build our business for the future”, said Price.

The E-Tourism Africa Summit will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the 9th and 10th of September 2013. Registration for the E-Tourism Africa Summit is open now: