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Have you heard about Uniterra?


Call of the Wild: Why our editorial team looks forward to spring and another Africa - hosted ATA Congress.

Faces of Africa: The who's who of Africa Travel, Trade and Tourism.

Googled us Lately?
by Jerry W. Bird

President Kikwete of Tanzania gave the world a timely message when he said,"The Western media needs to focus more on success stories in Africa. We are doing so many good things out here which do not get enough publicity."

Testimonials prove that we have heeded President Kikwete's request by providing positive publicity on Africa for 15 years. The results are showing up in many measurable ways. Continued

Africa Travel and Nature Library: How our outstanding combination of Marketing, Media and Learning Resources will beneifit from emerging technology and global reach.

About Us: Editor of Africa Travel Magazine and Air Highways - Open Skies Magazine interviewed.

by Harvey Chipkin /  
“Today’s 60-year-old is not yesterday’s 60-year-old.
Recent research from Amadeus demonstrates the significant changes in the kinds of travel experiences today’s seniors seek.
Travel agents are seeing much the same thing including a preference for more active vacations, for sharing experiences with family, and for using technology to make that sharing easy.

Experiences wanted

“This is the first generation to really prioritize travel,” said Colleen Petre, a travel consultant with Cadence Travel in La Jolla, Calif.

“For my parents, paying off the mortgage was the big deal,” said Petre. “Now, we are trying to balance the reality of being financially responsible in our retirement and senior years but still enjoying our lives as long as we’re healthy and able to move on. 

Petre advises senior clients to “think beyond the traditional.” “If they are going to do it [seek experiences], they should do it so it’s truly special,” she added.
“I just had one of my 60-something clients return from a trip to the Galapagos,” recalled Kate Ficke, an agent in Huntley, Ill. “I have to agree with the fact that seniors do want experiences and are for the most part willing to pay for the comfort while getting into the ‘wild.’ 

“They also do not consider themselves old – they are all still 39, (Jack Benny’s perennial age, and determined to stick with that number until they die.” 
“People don’t want to read about these things, they want to do it,” said Alice Steel, owner of Travel Junction, Ambridge, Pa. “If they go to Italy they want to take cooking classes.  And tour operators now stay in one city or region for days so travelers can really get to know them. “

Age appropriate
Not every senior, however, is going scuba diving and mountain climbing. Many are looking for more traditional vacations – but with a twist, agents said. 
Many seniors also want what they have always wanted, and in many cases that means cruising, according to Magda Granda, a travel consultant with Wyllys Professional Travel in Coral Gables, Fla., an Ensemble agency.
“There are fewer travel and luggage hassles and many prefer to stay away from having to fly somewhere although some are flying to Europe to get on a ship,” she said.

Escorted tours also continue to be popular.

John Schmitt, vice president and director of sales and marketing for Superior and Frankenmuth Travel Services, said  seniors are expanding their horizons even within a traditional context. The agencies have several offices in Michigan.
“In the past, they might fly to Europe, take a tour and fly home,” he said. “Now they usually want a pre- and post-program so they can go beyond what the tour offers.”
And the classic motorcoach tour remains a staple, Schmitt added.
But, added Schmitt, “Clients are a lot more active even on these tours. We do a tour that includes a walk across the Mackinac Bridge, which is five miles long. Years ago, we would not have people doing that and now we do.” 

Family travel ties
Agents agree that seniors want to either travel with family members or share their experiences via social media. 

While seniors are frequently eager to celebrate a significant birthday or anniversary, they might also want to celebrate the Sweet 16 of a grandchild, for instance, said Granda. “Instead of a gift, they will all travel together and it’s much more memorable.”

Schmitt pointed out that for a lot of seniors, “Travel is the only time they will get to see their children and grandchildren.”

Tech trends

While seniors may not spend all their time on their electronic devices, they see the value of sharing via social media. 

“Many seniors are as tied to their phones as their grandchildren because that is the only way they can communicate with their grandchildren,” said Ficke.
“And now so many are still working – even if only part-time – and they need to be kept in the loop of what’s going on.”


New media. If you are currently blogging, vlogging, podcasting, producing some other form of new media content, thinking about joining the exciting industry of new media or just want to know what this whole blogging phenomena is all about then you need to be at BlogWorld.

Aug 13, 2013


By Rick 

Lots of my new media friends like to say the 
traditional press release is dead.  They are dead wrong. Some of them even like to say blogging is dead.  
This morning we sent out what can only be called  traditional press release announcing the dates for the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in  Las Vegas . When I woke up this morning to check Twitter this is what I found:

22 people so far and counting who linked to the press release via Twitter.
Three full pages of results on search.twitter.com. Then there is the more traditional pick up. Like Market Watch (which is the post most people linked to) .  By my standards that’s a successful press release and the day is young.
So we send out a traditional press release and generate a pretty good amount of buzz on Twitter because of it. This isn’t new news by the way. We announced the dates on our blog months ago and have been tweeting about it and sending out messages to our Facebook group for months.  So don’t these results go against everything the social media experts have been telling us for the last couple of years?
I believe in new media as much as anyone and love everything it has done to change human communications and still believe we are at the very beginning of this revolution, but as I keep reminding my new media friends; New media and old media will continue to converge. This will not be a take over of one medium by the other.
Or am I dead wrong?


By Martin Hatchuel

So in the wake of South African Tourism’s Travel Bloggers conference, it seems this is officially the social Indaba. And that’s the best news since forever – LOL! – because something like 2,2 billion people are now on line, and, as anyone who’s in our industry knows, international arrivals have topped the one billion mark.
And because the logical connection is that that billion is most likely to fit into the 2,2 billion demographic, too.
But wait - Social Indaba?
Indeed: because we’re blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, YouTubing, Pinteresting, Foursquaring like we’ve never done before...
The future has arrived, and it’s the social web, and that’s scary because it means that word of mouth has gone global – which means that your brand no longer belongs to you: it belongs to your followers, and to the people who like you, and to the people who pin you, and to the people who share you.
This might scare you – but rather, it ought to excite you.

Mind you, we do need to get one thing straight. The social web isn’t about the platform you use (Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Pinterest, Blogspot): it’s about the stories you tell, and the messages you deliver. And it’s about being generous, and helpful, and useful, and relevant – and human.
Enormous pressures of time, coupled with developments in technology, have transformed the way tour operators do business to a phenomenal extent.
According to Martin Wiest, Chief Executive Officer of Tourvest Destination Marketing (TDM), today’s conditions bear little resemblance to earlier times.
Wiest reflects on his 25-year journey with the group, which commenced at Welcome Tourism Services. He recalls: “When I joined in 1987 as a tour guide, most of our bookings were received by mail and we responded likewise. Considering international postal services at that time, a period of three to four weeks passed before a booking was confirmed.
“The height of technology at that time was the telex machine. When fax machines came into the office in 1990, they were greeted with great excitement as some kind of magical development. Our tours up to the Eastern Transvaal, as Mpumalanga was then termed, mostly stopped at the Protea Hazyview Hotel. The rooming lists would be sent up by road a week ahead, with the previous tour group.”
Wiest remembers an occasion where phone lines were down at the Kruger National Park’s Orpen Gate, a problem overcome by some ingenious connecting of wires on a telephone pole.
“Fast forward 25 years, and nobody knows what a telex looked like. Booking confirmations are given in an average time of under four hours. Clients have an expectation of continuous contact with suppliers who have to be reachable at all times. Cell phones and
other high-tech forms of communication have all but erased response time. The time pressures, perhaps both alleviated and aggravated by technology, have taken the working life of the tour operator to immense levels of stress.”
He says TDM has thus gone to great lengths to mould a happy working environment, an effort which has earned it top place in the Inbound Leisure Travel category of ‘Best Company to Work For Survey’, conducted annually by Deloitte. TDM has claimed this honour for three years running.
Aside from the obvious publicity, participation in the survey gives TDM the opportunity to gauge its levels of staff satisfaction. The accolade assists in attracting new employees of a high calibre and keeping the existing workforce content.
The company’s efforts to upgrade staff proficiencies have proved significant in securing its ‘happy space’ policy. An in-house learnership programme not only advances on-the-job skills, but also life skills. Staff further benefit from an internal values campaign.
“We highlight transparency in our communication with our workforce,” he says. “We regularly share information on the financial performance of the group, taking the view that our staff can only follow us if they know where we are going.”
According to Wiest, achieving a happy place of work is far more than a clichéd company goal, but requires the input of effort, programmes and structures. The end result is evident to clients and builds their confidence in dealing with TDM.
And it’s not new, either. Not really. To paraphrase Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter: it’s not a new technology – it’s the global conversation we’ve always longed for.
Which is why I say that a good blog is a tweet forever.
Good blogs – position statements, stories, explanations of your ideas – will always form the basis of successful social web strategies. (And it’s ‘social web,’ by the way – not ‘social media.’ Media is about one-way messaging: media goes from seller to buyer. The web passed that phase years ago, and now we’re talking *with* one another, instead of *to* one another.)

In the digitalized world tourist boards, businesses, venues cannot afford to ignore the social networks as well as other marketing tools. Social media are part of the most important tourism marketing trends of this year, according to Nick Hall, CEO in Digital Tourism Think Thank.
Inspire customers is the first trend. Nick Hall commented: "We need to be ready to engage people in real time, because the new generation of travelers is looking for experiences."
The second trend and tip is to put the tourist in the center of attention, focusing on the user's experience. In order to do that (and here comes the third trend) we need to ensure them to always stay connected. Today, traveling means sharing what people are experiencing in real time. Last tourism marketing trend, in the words of the manger: "Take advantage of data; in order to develop long terms strategies, social networks are a mine of information."
Social networks, one of the most covered topics in recent years, is an important topic discussed by travel technology experts. Facebook has a special place, being currently the most popular social platform of commercial promotion.
Mark Zuckerberg's social website is giving more and more space to local businesses and proximity marketing, implementing tools which can stimulate positive word of mouth and, consequently, generate more sales. Outcomes are both measurable and concrete.
From iBeacon, tools which can be downloaded and installed for free, whose function is to track users passing near a shop and send them direct messages, to the possibility of selecting custom messages via smartphone – the possibilities are endless.
"Imagine you can have the numbers of all users who clicked a page like 'offers for families' on your website,” explained Veronica Gentili, expert and teacher of Social Media Community Management. “And be able to send them a real time custom proposal… it is a powerful tourism marketing tool."

Social media could destroy the mystery of Africa

Social Media could destroy the mystery of Africa, but specialists will thrive as a result according to a panel of senior African tourism businesses at the latest World Travel Market Club Think Tank, which took place Tuesday, July 10.

Senior buyers with responsibility for Africa met in central London this week under Chatham House rules, ensuring that all guests’ comments were unattributed. Tour operators, agents, sports tourism, and online businesses were represented.A recurring point was that technology is playing a disruptive role in the African inbound market with more suppliers considering direct sales. Travelers have access to a wealth of information, putting pressure on specialist tour operators and agents to offer truly personalized service and product, at a competitive price. One up-market operator explained that the vast majority of new business referrals for its business were sourced online, with a big investment in natural and paid search marketing delivering top-end clients. The full impact of social media will come in two or three years, it was said. The “mystery of Africa” is under threat but the specialists insisted that this would work in their favor as experience of the product was vital in converting leads. Opinions were divided over the commoditization of Africa, based on the possible impact of new low-cost carriers. Travelers would find it easier to dynamically package a trip to Africa with a better domestic network, while the luxury operators were looking forward to moving their high-paying guests around more efficiently. Elsewhere, concerns were expressed over a reduction in the number of direct flights between the UK and Africa. Airlines’ marketing and PR of their African destinations has a direct benefit to the entire region and its brand. UK airlines could lose out as Gulf-based carriers add capacity to Africa. Some guests noted that they are marketing stopovers at their hubs to create packages to Africa. Reed Travel Exhibitions Chairman World Travel Market Fiona Jeffery, said: “The first Think Tank dedicated to Africa gave us an even deeper insight into the needs of buyers and suppliers. “The specifics of Africa as an inbound destination are many, and we will ensure that WTM 2012’s Africa program reflects global and local trends.” Independent analysis of exhibitors in the Africa region at WTM 2011 found that contracts signed on site or resulting from follow-up meetings accounted for business worth £152m. Source: wtmlondon.com.


Food and beverages are an essential part of human life and of one’s lifestyle in general. It is also one of the main aspects which, when added up, form what is perceived as a region or country’s local culture. 

“Learning about, appreciating and/or consuming local foods and beverages” is what is considered food tourism, and while it may not be the focus of a lot of people’s travels, it is almost unavoidable to do it, especially when travelling abroad, to places where the majority of hotels and restaurants serve traditional dishes instead of international ‘tourist food’.
While food has always been an integral part of the travelling experience, the way people perceive and experience it these days is entirely different from how it used to be. Nowadays, people are returning to the kitchen and enjoying preparing food and savoring homemade meals. They are also interested in experiencing new and alternative cuisine, and not just through take-out restaurants. This is prompting them to sometimes travel to exotic locations specifically to enjoy exotic food in its real habitat and see how it is prepared on the spot – sometimes even taking some tips and tricks to try and replicate the dishes at home.
This is a recent trend, born out of the new millennium and the expanded access to information people have with the internet and it is taking off fast, as shown by a report published in 2013, which claims the percentage of Americans who traveled abroad because of food alone had grown from 40% to 51% between 2006 and 2013.

The trend hasn’t escaped the notice of destination marketing organizations, who have been taking full advantage of tourists’ interest in local food and drinks to open new markets and promote new locations, targeting these ‘food tourists’ specifically by placing the focus on the local gastronomic experiences through different narratives.
A 2012 report by the University of Florida suggests this is a great path for the tourism industry, seeing as a fourth of all the US’s travel income in that year was spent on food expenses, making it the biggest portion of travelling expenses for American tourists at that time, and confirming that food tourism is definitely a business that should be taken seriously.
The report also provides some interesting insights about tourists’ preferences, such as the fact that some might avoid certain locations based on the assumption that they may not be able to find similar food to those they usually eat back home. It doesn’t seem to be the case for 39 million Americans though, who choose their travel destination based on the availability of food-related activities and experiences.
The Chinese, however, are more likely to be in the first group, as a local report claims that they’d rather not leave Asia than to be faced with foreign food. Bearing this in mind though, American hotels are quickly adapting by expanding their menus in order to accommodate the preferences of the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting the country.
Given the modern tourist’s propensity for sharing their experiences on social media – and the food they consume, in particular – it seems food tourism is a trend that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, and thus something not only to take note, but also take full advantage of, in order to build and consolidate certain locations’ reputations in new, digitally connected markets such as the West and the Far East.
Airline Information calls on Facebook to stop the practice.

Pittsburgh, September 19, 2013:  Many consumers are aware that their credit card data may not be secure and is susceptible to fraud. What many consumers may not know is Facebook's role in facilitating this credit card fraud.

The fast-growing epidemic of credit card fraud has two primary drivers. One is hackers who break into customer databases and steal credit card numbers and customer data. The other is employees with access to credit card numbers and the details of card owners from retailers such as gas stations, restaurants and particularly hotels. Airline Information's Managing Partner, Michael Smith, says about hotels: "Front line hotel employees can easily access and steal credit card numbers and your personal details. Couple this with outdated IT and business processes related to franchising and it's a toxic mix. Hotel chains and their franchises often use different reservations systems, requiring that paper copies of credit cards be used in many hotel properties. This is much less secure than the masked electronic credit card information standard in almost any other industry. The result is that hotels can be traced as the source of nearly one third of all credit card fraud globally, which hits our company’s airline clients particularly hard, since airline tickets are a common item purchased with stolen cards."

When credit card numbers are hacked or stolen, they are then sold online to be used for online purchases or for making cloned credit cards. Personal data about the cardholders, widely available on the web and Facebook, may also then be used by fraudsters, as credit card criminals are referred to, to assume the identities of the stolen cardholders.

Facebook is also used for the selling of credit card data, as well as for sharing information between fraudsters on how to successfully steal card numbers and commit identity theft. Jan-Jaap Kramer, CEO of the Dutch fraud prevention consultancy, FraudGuard, says: "There are numerous pages on Facebook set up by criminal rings to facilitate and share information about credit card fraud. Many of these pages show all credit card details like CVC code, expiry code, the PIN code for online payments and personal data of the cardholder including home address, date of birth, social security numbers and more. We have asked Facebook to block these pages, but it takes no action. The result is greater fraud losses for consumers and merchants, ruined credit records and misery trying to sort out fraudulent transactions."

As an advocate for the airline industry, a primary victim of credit card fraud from reservations made with stolen credit cards, Airline Information calls on Facebook to stop the practice of facilitating the sharing of fraudulent credit card information via Facebook pages. We encourage merchants and consumers to contact Facebook and their government authorities to have Facebook end this consumer-unfriendly practice.

Established in 2005, Airline Information is a leader and innovator in commercial & financial airline & travel industry conferences, publications and consulting. We bring together professionals working in and with the airline & travel industry for networking, career advancement and doing business.

Christopher Staab 
+1 305-328-8598