TORONTO — Goway’s growth over the past several years has been fuelled by mainstays Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, newcomer Europe and, increasingly, Africa where Goway offers more than 250 independent and escorted travel options.
Agents from Toronto and the GTA were out in full force to hear all about Goway’s Africa product, which includes the Middle East, at last night’s ‘G’day to Goway’s Africa – Toronto 2018’ seminar at the Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel.
Everything is selling well, with double-digit growth over the past three to four years, says Moira Smith, General Manager – Africa, Middle East and Europe. “Egypt, Morocco, Dubai … they’re all doing great,” said Smith.
The Middle East especially is coming back. “Last year our southern Africa product represented 61% of our sales, East Africa was 25% and the Middle East was 12%. This year southern Africa is at 47%, East Africa 29% and the Middle East, 22%.”
She added to an appreciative laugh from the audience: “If you only go to two continents in your life, go to Africa twice.”
Goway’s Africa product extends from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and more in the south, to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and beyond in the east, to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in the north. Middle Eastern destinations includes Israel, Jordan, Oman and UAE.
In places like Kenya and Tanzania, Smith advises agents to help clients make the most of their vacation with a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara or Serengeti. “It’s the experience they’ll remember. The cost will fade, the memory never will.”
Gorilla tracking in Uganda, ‘the Pearl of Africa’, is another must-do. “Gorilla tracking is incredible. It can be strenuous – warn your clients – but it’s absolutely the most rewarding thing,” says Smith.
In Egypt clients will want at least a nine-day trip, focusing on Cairo with a Nile cruise. At the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum, opening later this year or early next year, Goway clients can get a two-hour private guided tour. “It’s wonderful to see how popular Egypt is and how it’s coming back,” says Smith.
Goway’s Africa and Middle East product runs the gamut, she adds. “We’ve got incredible value-for-money products and we can also do wonderfully high end stuff.”
More than two dozen of Goway’s Africa and Middle East partners were on hand last night for round robin sessions with the trade.
Jacques Smit, Marketing Director for Sabi Sabi, says the Canadian market is continuously growing for the luxury lodge operator. “Both Canada and the U.S. started to grow rapidly for us about six years ago,” says Smit, adding that the company is working closely with Goway. The preference from the Canadian market is for FIT, with stays of three to four nights, he adds. Sabi Sabi’s portfolio includes four upscale lodges – Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, Sabi Sabi Selati Camp and Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp – all part of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World collection.
Another of Goway’s partners, Tsogo Sun, has one of its properties, 54 on Bath, featured in one of Goway’s Stays of Distinction in South Africa. Goway “is one of our biggest partners,” says Tsogo Sun Sales Representative Lorenzo Giani.
Other Tsogo Sun properties especially popular with Canadian travellers include the Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town, and Southern Sun The Cullinan. Both are four-star-plus hotels offering good value for money – music to the ears of most Canadians.