The African Business Travel Association (ABTA) and Severnside Consulting Ltd (SSC) have announced significant progress in their exciting research project on corporate travel in sub-Saharan Africa.

Project lead Chris Pouney and the research team have commenced the interview process with travel buyers based in South Africa, many of whom manage travel in wider Africa.

Pouney said: “So far, we have conducted 15 interviews from diverse industry sectors, including professional services, finance, energy, retail, manufacturing and telecoms.  Our goal is to conduct 50 interviews in total before we enter the analytical and production stage of the paper.  Interestingly, there are already a number of themes coming through loud and clear such as fraud – the fear thereof –  driving many aspects of various organisations’ travel programmes.  It is also apparent that travel buyers in this region are hungry for technology – much more so than elsewhere.”

Travel buyers who have contributed their time and information to the benchmarking phase of the project see the value in independent, impartial research in this often challenging region.

The two-hour benchmarking interview covers key areas of study in the paper such as technology, governance, payment and policy.

ABTA founder, Monique Swart, said: “What is really exciting is that a significant number of travel buyers have shared with us that with new offices opening across the continent, their companies are focusing on the creation of regional travel teams to get to grips with travel management on the continent.  As the leading industry body for the business travel community across Africa, we are delighted to be delivering this research at just the right time.”

The team is also focusing on collecting benchmarking information from travel buyers in other emerging African hubs, including Ghana, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya.  “We have several trips planned to these regions in the coming months in order to host ABTA events and also to engage with the local travel communities while conducting these benchmarking studies,”  Swart said.

The research paper is supported not only by Africa’s leading national, multi-national and global organisations, but also by well respected travel brands such as Amadeus, Diners Club, Mastercard, Preferred Hotel Group, TravelPort, Travel with Lia, and Virgin Atlantic who all form part of the paper’s Steering Committee.  This Committee meets quarterly to discuss and review the progress of the project and to continually ensure that it stays in line with its objectives of delivering a first of its kind, in-depth “how to” guide on business travel on the African continent.