The show is back to pre-pandemic numbers with over 5,000 registrations, almost 600 exhibitors,
49 new countries, 200 expert speakers and over 80 hours of content sessions. The event also
has 9,200 pre-scheduled appointments, a 35% increase compared to last year. Over 63% of the
buyers this year are new and come from exciting markets such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand,
Philippines, Romania, Armenia, San Marino and Uzbekistan.

Opening the show, Patricia De Lille, Minister of Tourism, expressed her excitement about the
tourism industry's recovery, saying, "We are all ready to come back with a bang. And we’ve
already started coming back.” She stressed that the tourism sector has a major role to play in
South Africa and said: “I can feel the opportunity in tourism. In my new role, I will focus on
implementation, as it is time for us to now walk the talk.”

Eddie Andrews, Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, emphasized the importance of tourism for the
Host City of Cape Town, saying, "We believe in the possibility of Africa. As tourism is an
economic driver for Cape Town, we are building a city of hope. Our aim is to create a tourism-
related job in every single household. People want to hear stories, and Africa has many stories
to tell."

Carol Weaving, Managing Director of RX Africa, highlighted the statistics when she said: "WTM
starts today. We have 577 exhibitors, 9,200 pre-scheduled appointments. We are back and
ready to do business. Sixty-six per cent of buyers are brand new from new markets like
Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Pakistan, Romania and Bangladesh. The repeat buyers are from
our key source markets."

Mark Sham, founder of Suits & Sneakers and a speaker at WTM Africa 2023, urged attendees
to have fun, go up to each other and truly connect. He said: "We're back! I will never forget
when we couldn't connect and will never take it for granted again. In Africa, we sit on the most
amazing potential.”

Alongside the opportunity to meet and network, a highlight for many of the international, regional
and local buyers includes the release of WTM Africa’s annual Trends Report, which takes a
closer look at the biggest trends shaping travel in Africa today. With WTM Africa returning to
pre-pandemic numbers and exceeding them, the event serves as a beacon of hope for the
tourism industry in Africa, and its impact on the economy is immeasurable.