On Monday evening, 230 travel agents, consumers, media and partners gathered at Toronto’s Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel for Goway’s Ultimate Africa Training Event. Over snacks, tea and coffee at the marketplace, guests had a chance to meet with 25 African travel suppliers from ten different countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and Ethiopia. A presentation and prize draw followed next. The Toronto event was the first of three in North America, with Vancouver and Seattle locations also planned for September.
“The purpose of the event tonight is to launch our new 2015 brochure,” said Moira Smith, General Manager Africa and Middle East for Goway Travel. Smith said the new brochure features more luxury product, a launch of Goway’s Ethiopia product and expanded Uganda, Rwanda, Morocco and East Africa itineraries.
Goway Travel, operating since 1970, offers a wide choice of travel ideas, ranging from fully independent travelling to escorted tours and adventure touring. Its Africa and Middle East brochure offers over 250 independent and escorted travel ideas. Whether it’s a safari through the savannah, a flight over the Kalahari or a romantic rail journey across the continent, Africa offers countless options to thrill the adventurous globetrotter.
“We believe it is the most comprehensive Africa travel planner in North America,” said Smith. “We offer travel in all different budget types, but specifically we offer incredibly high-end luxurious product at unbelievable prices - value for money prices in that market. We are very competitive.”
Smith emphasized Toronto’s value to Goway, saying Toronto is one of their most important source markets. This is Goway’s sixth year hosting this event and each year has seen a rise in attendance. New this year to the event’s destinations are Egypt, Morocco and Ethiopia.
Smith says Canadians travel to Africa because of its incredible diversity.
“My favorite saying is that if you go to only two continents, you’ll have to go to Africa twice,” said Smith. “If you compare what Southern Africa has to offer compared to East Africa and then you go to North Africa, it’s like a completely different continent.”
First-time visitors to Africa usually want a safari experience, Smith said, adding that such an experience either “turns visitors into safari addicts or they tick it off a bucket list.” Smith said most visitors fall in love with the game experience and come back for more.
“I think Canadians are, as a culture, interested in other countries. They’re interested in learning about destinations and they are very well-informed,” said Smith. “Those are the kind of travellers we like to sell.”
Smith said Goway only sells long-haul exotic destinations and they cater to what they call the “globetrotters” - true travellers who are not bucket-list-tickers but who want to become immersed in and experience the culture, meet people and really have the authentic experience of a destination.
Smith said she wanted to let agents know that Africa is safe: “Ebola is not affecting any of the eastern, southern or northern African regions. It has been localized to West Africa.”
Smith also said she wanted agents to know “Egypt is open for business again. It’s a fantastic time to go to Egypt, while there are relatively few tourists and visitors can easily see the most magnificent icons with nobody else in sight.”
Suppliers represented at the event included Mozambique Voyages, Jacaranda Tours, Rovos Rail, Tsogo Sun, One and Only Cape Town, Asilia, Madikwe Safari Lodge, Desert and Delta Safaris, Sabi Sabi/The Bushcamp Company/Kwando Safaris, Shamwari Group, Kwazulu-Natal Tourist Board, AndBeyond, Cynab Voyages, Egypt Tourist Authority, Fairmont, Jenman Safaris and African Luxury Hideaways, Kariega Game Reserve, Protea/Marriott Hotels, Red Carnation, SAA, Sanctuary Retreats, Season in Africa, Shongololo, Thompsons Africa, Tourvest Africa and Emeco.
For more information and Goway’s 2015 brochure, visit www.goway.com.
PHOTO: Moira Smith, General Manager Africa and Middle East for Goway Travel.