Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - African air travel spending is expected to rise 24% with the introduction of the pan-African passport that will enable African travelers to visit other African countries without a visa by 2018, a new research, released Wednesday by 'Sabre', one of the global travel technology providers, said.
The results from Sabre's comprehensive survey, made available to PANA in Kigali, indicates that the research targeted travelers from four African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt.
In addition, the report indicates that despite a willingness among travelers to spend more on flights, travel in Africa still remains inaccessible to majority, with only 23 percent of those surveyed having traveled abroad at all in the last two years.
But in the view of the vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Airline Solutions, Dino Gelmetti, the results [from the survey] suggest that while travel is inaccessible to many and is difficult for those who do travel, there is a still a strong desire to travel more.
"African carriers currently face tough competition from international rivals that control 88 percent of African airspace but, as demand for travel increases. African airlines have a real opportunity to win the lion’s share of bookings by addressing the pain points of travelers and going the extra mile to improve their experience," he said.
New findings also indicate that, like many other travelers globally, Africans also expressed a strong interest in experiencing a travel journey that was more personalized and appealing to their taste.
Respondents said that they would be willing to spend up to US$104 per trip on an airline’s extra products and services – such as excess baggage, cabin class upgrades, and special food and beverage – if it improved and personalized their journey, according to the survey.
Commenting on the report, Gelmetti noted that Airlines, globally, currently pocket an average of just US$16 per passenger on ancillaries, so the fact that African travelers are prepared to spend six times more than that represents a significant retail opportunity for carriers on the continent.
"Airlines will flourish if they invest in technology that can make sense of customer data and use it to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time," he said.
However, the latest Africa Visa Openness Index report, released by the African Development Bank (AfDB), indicates that only 13 African countries are currently offering liberal access to other Africans.
-0- PANA TWA/VAO 23Nov2016