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Travel trends and top destinations for 2017



From flexible flights options to new off-the-beaten-track destinations, Cheapflights share their annual travel predictions for 2017 that travellers and the travel industry should keep an eye out for.

“Despite the uncertain global economic climate, people are still travelling and looking to explore less obvious places,” explained Andrew Shelton, managing director of Cheapflights.

“In addition to these trends, my belief is that portable travel search is set to be the biggest step change in travel. Increasingly, travellers can expect text alerts for airfare sales, to get a price from their favourite voice-based internet device, or find a flight through Facebook Messenger. We’ve launched Facebook chat, emoji, and drag and drop search functions this year, and now 60% of demand comes to us from portable devices. It really is a case of travel planning on the go,” he continued.

The top trends and destinations identified by Cheapflights include:

1. Pack light to take flight

Travellers have voted with their wallets, fuelling the growth of low-cost carriers and their “no-frills approach” and signaling the beginning of the end for all-inclusive airlines. They are becoming increasingly savvy about how to save money and how to choose the “perks” that matter enough to fork out added cash for.

Base airfares, already at a five-year low in 2016, will continue to drop as more airlines, like Delta airlines in the US, offer budget flight options on more and more routes. Locally, FlySafair travellers are offered well-priced flights but are charged for extras such as checking in bags and selecting their preferred seat pre-flight.

While such travel is still not for everyone, nostalgia for the “good old days” when airfares were all-inclusive will largely fade away, as people focus on getting where they want to go for less. Travellers looking to save on flight bookings in 2017 aim to travel with only hand luggage or is open to being allocated a seat on arrival instead of ahead of time, as some low-cost airlines charge to pre-book seats.

2. International travel on the rise

With both domestic and international airlines offering budget options even for overseas flights, international travel will be more accessible than ever.

Airlines such as Norwegian Air have introduced a narrow-body plane which the experts say results in greater fuel efficiency. Lower fuel costs help to keep airline costs low and, paired with concepts such as BYO entertainment, keep airfares in check.

With the help of major currency fluctuations, there is increased purchasing power in many popular markets for South Africans. Of course, there are some potential headwinds for South African travellers, such as the continuing effect of Brexit and uncertain political climates in major markets such as the US.

“Some will find the rise in nationalism in the political world as a reason to stay home. However, others will find travel as the antidote to the politics of the day, realising that there may be no better opportunity than the present to get out there and explore the world. Having said this, local destinations will continue to be attractive to South Africans, as an affordable option,” continued Shelton.

Top tip for South Africans for international travel – check out the non-direct routes to destinations. A few layovers not only allow a chance to explore more destinations on the bucket list but often result in cheaper fares.

3. Increased airport innovation and investment

Airport innovation and investment will continue globally, driven by increased complications at airports. Last year the US saw record-setting security and immigration lines at airports, and this is likely to increase once Donald Trump is inaugurated as president and if he implements further visa restrictions. Globally, much of the short-term improvements is funded by the airlines themselves, with United rolling out automated security screening lanes at hub airports to keep lines moving quicker and British Airways investing millions in its top US airports to refurbish check-in areas and lounges for a better passenger experience.

Other improvements to watch for include the rise in biometric-powered fast-tracked security screenings and personalised services, like food delivery to departure gates or print-your-own luggage tags.

South Africa also saw several air traffic navigation and baggage delivery system issues and increased flight delays at international airports around the country. This will be addressed at Cape Town International and OR Tambo International, both which will be expanding passenger terminals and upgrading facilities.

Locals can also look forward to cheaper local travel after the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) announced that they will be reducing passenger service charges, landing fees, and aircraft parking from April this year.

4. Portable travel search

Mobile technology has changed the face of travel planning and search. The evolution of online travel has extended well beyond the desktop and is now moving beyond the travel website. At the most basic, it’s the simple step of pulling out a phone for an impromptu vacation planning session over dinner. But increasingly, expect text alerts for fare sales and price drops, or to get a price from a voice-based internet device or through Facebook Messenger.

Coming soon: drag an online article about a team, festival or concert right into a search window and get the flight options for attending upcoming events right away.

5. Decline of the generic holiday

Travel as an experience in itself increasingly eclipses just the basics of getting away. Cheapflights has seen an uptake in people looking to travel with purpose and expects this to continue, including:

Living like a local – thanks to the popularity of homestay service like Airbnb, travellers can easily take up residence in a new city or a remote bit of countryside, whether for a few days, weeks, or months. This is giving rise to the search for a more personalised and “authentic” experience. Paired with services like local tour guide matching and at-home dining with locals, it’s far easier to get a full-immersion holiday anywhere in the world. These options add fuel to the growing solo travel market and make it easier to cut the ties to home, which is key to a digital detox experience. For the growing group of travellers motivated to deep dive into a culture, this holiday style is hard to beat.

Working vacation – while total immersion is one increasingly popular option, there is also a trend for combining work and travel in new ways. One is the so-called “bleisure” trip, combining both business and leisure, where extra time is added onto the trip and possibly an added destination or two to the work travel. Done right, this is the ultimate in multitasking – add another outfit or two to a bag and have work pick up the bulk of the travel tab. Another spin is the “have laptop, will travel” habit. For those who can work from anywhere in the world – an increasing phenomenon in today’s tech-driven, remote employee world – there’s no reason not to take work on the road. Look for more and more people exploring the world by working business hours for their day job and then exploring in their off hours.

Ecotourism – the ticking clocks of climate change and overdevelopment are getting louder and louder for many people, driving a sense of urgency for seeing destinations that are endangered and supporting tourism services that sustain vulnerable lands and species.

The other “green” tourism – with marijuana now legal or at least decriminalised in a growing number of places, expect to see a rise in this kind of “green” travel as well. The boom in pot tourism in Colorado, after the sale of recreational marijuana was legalised in 2012, underscores the pent-up demand. With places like Massachusetts, California, and Maine voting to legalise it later this year, and with Canada eyeing such a law at the national level, we can expect to see travel in this segment light up even more.

6. Hot international destinations on the rise

Cork, Ireland – Cork is a charming spot in Ireland to visit either as an extended layover or as a main destination. The most recent proof of the region’s allure is West Cork being claimed as the 2017 Great Town Award, naming it the best town in Britain and Ireland. Whether visitors prefer sights like churches, castles and old-world architecture, a bustling and scenic waterfront, or popping into pubs and fish and chips shops, Cork has everyone covered. A visit to Cork’s English Market, which dates back to 1788, is a feast for the senses. Acclaimed as one of the finest covered markets in Europe, Queen Elizabeth insisted on a stop here during her historic visit to Ireland in 2011.

Finland – with saunas, snow, the Northern Lights in winter, hiking, beaches, stunning scenery and cultured cities in the summer, Finland should be on everyone’s travel to-do list. This year may be the best year to visit, as it is their 100th birthday celebration, which runs throughout the year. Celebration spots include a giant snow castle, a snow restaurant, snow hotel and even a snow chapel. There’s also a wine festival with five 100th anniversary wines and a grand ball to mark the birthday itself.

Polynesia – if “Frozen” is any measure, even an animated movie can turn a remote location into a popular destination. Just as the “The Lord of the Rings” movies spiked interest in New Zealand, which played the role of Middle Earth, visits to Norway increased by 20% after Disney brought the winter wonderland of Scandinavia to life in “Frozen.”

Now the recently released “Moana” shines the spotlight on the incredibly scenic South Pacific, drawing inspiration from places like Hawaii, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands. While this may not be the most accessible destination for travellers, there is expected to be a swelling tide of visits, first from fans and then from those who have learned more about Polynesia from the media attention.

Canada – all of Canada will be taking part in the country’s rolling 150th anniversary this year. Starting from New Year’s Eve, every event will be bigger and better; and every city and town will be getting in on the action with festivities and celebrations. Montreal will be doubling down on its celebrations, as 2017 also marks the city’s 375th anniversary. There will be 102 events throughout the city and the year, to be kicked off by lighting up the Expo 67 Biosphere. Look for everything from pop-up art galleries to seasonal festivals, and from neighbourhood celebrations to a concert featuring three orchestras and hundreds of performers. In a year when Canada is a hot spot for travel, Montreal looks to be a particularly big draw.

Mauritius – South African Airways increased the capacity of flights travelling from South Africa to Mauritius towards the end of last year. Mauritius remains one of the most popular island destinations for locals and internationals, and are refurbishing venues around the island, to meet the needs of the influx of visitors.

Cape Town – with some of the big-name movies filmed in the past in Cape Town, the city can expect to see a further influx of tourists mid-year, with another movie filmed in the Mother City. As the location for the filming of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, featuring renowned actor Matthew McConaughey, it will be no surprise that tourism numbers increase based on where the set of the movie was shot.


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Hospitality & Tourism

Radisson Hotel Group announces its arrival at Victoria Falls, an UNESCO world heritage site



Radisson Hotel Group (Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks)

Radisson Hotel Group is proud to announce its first resort and third hotel in Zambia, with the signing of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia. Due to open by the end of 2022, this new addition places the Group firmly on track to achieving its objective of reaching 150 hotels in operation and under development in Africa by 2025.

Nestled on the banks of one of Africa’s longest rivers, the Zambezi, in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, 5km south of the historic city of Livingstone, just 4km north west of the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and an UNESCO world heritage site. Convenience is amplified with Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport located just 15 minutes away.

For an immersive experience of the destination, situated right next door, is Safari Par Excellence, offering unique on and off the river adventure activities, from Victoria Falls bridge activities, water-rafting, canoeing and game drives to helicopter rides, river cruises and elephant encounters.

The hotel will be constructed and operated with the greatest respect to its close proximity of the natural wonders and aims to obtain the EDGE green building certification as well sign the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Pledge, becoming a best practice in the implementation of Radisson Hotel Group’s leading Responsible Business program.

Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks

The construction of the new hotel which is currently underway, and the design fully integrate local materials and focuses on employing and upskilling local craftspeople. It will consist of a contemporary 174-room main hotel and 26 luxurious villas. Guests can indulge in their favourite cuisine at the all-day dining restaurant and sit back with their favourite drink at the coffee bar. To bask in the fresh African evening air in comfort, guests can gather around the outdoor boma and firepit. During their stay, guests can also enjoy the hotel’s expansive swimming pool, find serenity at the spa or maintain their health at the sports and fitness gym. Ideal for all occasions, the hotel’s meetings and events facilities will include a ballroom of over 500sqm, boardrooms as well as meeting rooms, perfect for leisure and business use.

Ramsay Rankoussi, Vice President Development, Africa & Turkey, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We have been present in Zambia for many years and have long recognized the potential of the country. It was essential for us to complement our presence in Zambia with a resort offering in one of Africa’s most visited leisure tourism destinations – the Victoria Falls. This marks our third hotel in the country, complementing our existing portfolio of one hotel in operation, Radisson Blu Hotel, Lusaka, and the under-development Park Inn by Radisson Lusaka, Longacres, due to open early next year. Through this unique resort, we look forward to demonstrating our strong Responsible Business heritage and sustainable programmes and initiatives which will further promote the destination and ensure the preservation of this unique reserve and location. We are truly proud to have partnered with NAPSA for the launch of the Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone as we further seek to reinforce our collaboration in promoting tourism across Zambia.”

Mr. Yollard Kachinda, Director General  of NAPSA, the owning company said: “It is an honour to be partnering with Radisson Hotel Group, a company that believes in thriving, sustainable, and responsible business that supports people, communities and the planet with various procedures and programs to build better futures. We are proud to be associated with the creation of several jobs, both directly and indirectly. It is also satisfying to note that most of the materials are locally sourced, such as steel coming from Kafue Steel, timber coming from Zambezi Sawmills and other materials such as quarry and stones also being sourced within the community. We are looking forward to introducing this unique resort to the market and are confident that the various sustainable elements of the hotel will uplift the community and enhance the overall experience of this beautiful destination and its economy.”

Image source: Saadiyah Hendricks

Radisson Hotel Group operates to high standards of performance and advocates socially and environmentally sustainable business practices. More than ever, Radisson Hotel Group’s highest priorities remain the health and safety of its guests and employees. The Group partnered with SGS, the world’s leading inspection and certification company, to implement the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, which ensures the highest hygiene standards and strengthens the Group’s existing rigorous sanitation guidelines. In the run-up to the opening of Radisson Blu Resort Mosi-oa-Tunya, Livingstone, Zambia will implement the Radisson Hotel Group brand standards including the Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol related to safety and security.



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Black Canadians making travel safer for women by helping them rent spaces from other women with Femmebnb



Femmebnb Inc. Co-Founders, Yaa Birago and Diana Obeng

Femmebnb Inc. Co-Founders, Yaa Birago and Diana Obeng (Source: Yaa Birago)

Dismayed by her solo travel experience in 2017, Yaa Birago made it her goal to curate a safe space where like-minded women travel enthusiasts can come together to plan, book, meet, talk, and share everything about travel. Softly launched amidst pandemic, Femmebnb Inc. is the first-ever social networking short-term vacation rental service powered by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) travel assistant that is at the forefront of reshaping ‘Women’s travel experience’, once the world reopens.

After being sexually harassed in-front of her airbnb apartment in Rome, and receiving no support from her male bnb host, Yaa Birago – CEO and co-founder of Femmebnb Inc., felt unsafe and unpleasant for the rest of her trip. This is exactly what was told to her when she announced her solo travel to her family – it’s unsafe! With this experience and the urge to change the travel horizon for women, the idea of Femmebnb sprung in her mind.

The validation of a need to have a platform and community that is solely for women travellers & hosts came from a survey initiated by Femmebnb where over 229 women shared that they would feel more secure knowing their host is a female, and that the rental is booked via a platform that deeply understands these concerns. This is the reason why Femmebnb has already received over 3000 registrations by women from 60 countries on the platform despite the travel industry being on hold due to COVID-19.

Source: Yaa Birago

“Being a hodophile, I was extremely disappointed when my solo travel to Europe turned out to be a nightmare as I faced sexual & street harassment. Upon receiving no support from my male bnb host when I discussed the incident with him, I realised that a female host would have naturally been more emphatic. This, combined with the help I attained from a female companion in France with whom I had merely chatted on Facebook before my travels, affirmed that we need to curate a safe social networking vacation rental space for only women where common concerns can be addressed and resolved together. This embarked the idea of Femmebnb in 2017. After 3 years of persistence and determination, fused with technology, creativity and research, we have finally launched and are ready to change ‘her travel experience’.  – Yaa Birago, CEO & Co-Founder, Femmebnb Inc.

When Yaa proposed the idea to an old ally Diana Obeng, she jumped in right away to co-found the company with her.

Diana Obeng, Co-Founder, Femmebnb Inc. – “As a woman, I shouldn’t have to hope and pray that my safety is not at risk when I am planning to travel solo in a new country, but unfortunately, that’s the first thought that comes to mind. I cannot downplay that women fear their safety over every other concern related to traveling alone. Hence, when Yaa proposed the idea of curating a safe space for women travelers, I jumped on board in a heartbeat. We are determined and have invested every bit of our soul into this project and I am excited to help reshape ‘women travel experience’.”

Femmebnb is an exclusive membership platform, ensuring that every member on the platform is vetted. The verification process consists of 5 steps: email, phone, government ID, property documentation/utility bill and/or video verification. The on-site personality video feature facilitates trust and credibility between the host and guest. For the time being, a one-time subscription fee of $4.99 has been waived off the platform, making it free for all to register!

Source: Yaa Birago

A portion of every transaction made on the site for bookings goes towards providing menstrual equity, menstrual hygiene education and menstrual products to girls in Africa as a means to help eradicate period poverty.

(By woman/women, Femmebnb Inc. means anyone who identifies as a woman, non-binary, gender-fluid or non-conforming (womxn).


Yaa Birago’s Short Bio

Source: Yaa Birago

Yaa Birago is a tech entrepreneur, Co-founder and CEO of FemmeBnB Inc.; the first social networking vacation and short-term rental platform that allows women to rent their spaces to other women in hopes of maximizing safety, peace of mind and comfort, along with AI- Powered Travel Companion to help women plan their trip from start to end. She started the company to provide safe space and peace of mind for women travelers after she had a terrifying experience as a solo traveler in Rome.

Yaa holds a B.A degree in Criminology and Sociology from the University of Windsor but her passion for tech, women and children advancement led her into the Information Technology and Non-Profit sector for the past 11 years. Yaa is also the Co-Founder and President of Hands of a Hero Foundation (HOHF), a non-profit organization that provides mentorship, leadership, and career development programs for youth and children in Canada and Ghana. Yaa was a recipient of Global Impact Award and Women’s Courage International Award.

She was named as a Black Canadian Role Model and Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada. In addition, she was selected as Top30 under30 Pioneers by FOG and in March 2020, she was recognized as WOCStar Woman to Watch. Moreover, Yaa was recently recognized as the TOP 20 Women CEOs in Vacation Rental Tech by VR Tech and the Top 25 Women in the Travel Industry by TravelPulse.

Yaa is passionate and enthusiastic about travel technology, women travel safety, sustainable travel, and improving women’s travel experiences across the globe.




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Bordeaux-based Nigerian Wine Consultant creating the French Experience with an African twist



Bordeaux-based Nigerian Wine Consultant, Chinedu Rita Rosa (Photo: Roger Das)

Most times when you think of a French wine expert, especially in Bordeaux, a strong-willed, driven and passionate Black Woman doesn’t come first to mind.

Chinedu Rita Rosa is making waves in the Bordeaux wine community. As a Nigerian Black Woman in her 40’s, she is a rare and long-overdue sight in the wine industry. Over the past six years, she has built a home in Bordeaux with her two teenage daughters and French husband.

For over 20 years Rosa has been active in the wine industry, though she came into the wine business by chance, as an unofficial adviser to her late husband selecting wines for importation into Nigeria. Originally working as a banker, wine did not become her profession until the passing away of her late husband in 2008 who was a Lebanese businessman.

In 2008 she returned to Nigeria and worked with her late Husband’s Friends in XO Wine Store as a Manager where she was in charge of organizing various wine events, teaching wine appreciation, and increasing the selection of wines from all over France. She did all this with minimal professional experience. She likes to put it into simple terms that anyone could relate to, “ I learnt while drinking on the job!”

With Nigeria being a beer-drinking society it was not an easy sell for wines, when she first started, although it was a delightful process, Rosa mentioned. She witnessed, ChiChi (as she is fondly called by her friends) mentioned. She witnessed, seeing the shift of peoples’ opinions about wine, especially when she found the right wine to pair with a client’s palette. Meeting people and discerning their taste and discovering their wine preference is an art that she is passionate about.

“As the years went by, it became much easier to match wines with clients taste” said Rosa. It was during this time that she also acquired knowledge of wine importation, wholesales, retailing and grassroots marketing strategies due to the distribution network of XO Wine stores.

After her first year, Rosa knew this was a profession that she would like to pursue, she continued studying, tasting and enjoyed experimenting with wine tasting pairings. She turned her wine education into a social circle with clients and friends who were also wine lovers. For her, these were some of the most rewarding best moments of her wine career.

Bordeaux-based Nigerian Wine Consultant, Chinedu Rita Rosa (Photo: Roger Das)

She discovered how African foods reacted to different grape varieties and from different wine regions, not forgetting Champagne. She boosts “ If you haven’t tried eating àsun or suya with red wine, you must; it is not to be missed”

It was important to ensure sure that all her knowledge of wine and the industry was accredited, which led her to Bordeaux, where she learned about the technical side of winemaking, regions, and styles. Chinedu found herself the only black and African student for the entire term of the course. In the first step of her official wine studies, received a certification from the school of wine in Bordeaux “Ecole Du Vin.” She is a true believer that the best wines come from Bordeaux.

A fabulous wine lovers group was established in the spirit of the numerous tastings and to date, it exists in Lagos exclusively for members of the XO Family.

Continuing her wine education journey in Bordeaux was a dream and when she decided to re-marry and move to France there was no second-guessing where she was going to call home. Chinedu says,” Naija women are born Entrepreneurs.”This drove her ambition and she ventured into media marketing, blogging, and vlogging in the wine world of Bordeaux, and she also created a networking community where she is the president of like-minded people and entrepreneurs from all over the world that has settled in Bordeaux. The Bordeaux Business Network has over 1000 members and is a thriving support community for expat entrepreneurs.

In Bordeaux, Chinedu has become known as the black lady who is invited everywhere and also hosts a lot of events (not unlike in Lagos!) due to her professional commitments. She attends most wine and entrepreneurial events in the Bordeaux metropolis and is easily distinguishable as a black businesswoman with a glowing smile.

Does this bother her? She has mixed feelings on the subject, Chinedu takes no issues with being the ONLY anywhere, it is a testament to her African upbringing after all. “‘Naija no dey, carry last,” she says. and Being yourself and standing out is important, but she is driven to encourage other black entrepreneurs and young people to come into this profession, where she believes the possibilities are endless.

Chinedu is a distinguished WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) certification, holder. Her wine knowledge spans the process of winemaking to marketing and exportation. She had envisioned that there would be more people of color in the wine industry with her qualifications that she could connect with on a cultural level but she is still left searching. She hopes that this will start to change soon.

Bordeaux-based Nigerian Wine Consultant, Chinedu Rita Rosa and friends (Photo: Roger Das)

As the founder of VINES BY ROSA, an import and marketing company based in Bordeaux she now collaborates with amazing brands, representing them in African Markets. Some of her most notable representations include: CHATEAU DAUZAC, MARGAUX GRAND CRU CLASSE, HINCH IRISH WHISKEY, NINTH WAVE GIN, LGI WINES. These brands are Winemakers that tailor to the African Market specifically creating labels and even Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne.

Always thinking about the future Chinedu wants to continue to build on her passion, education, and dedication, increasing the quality of wines and spirits being imported into Africa and propelling wine appreciation in the continent. She is on a mission to demystify the art of wine tasting and bring good wine to every table at the right price. In the process of this journey, she hopes to inspire other black men and women to join the wine industry and looks to the day where she is not the, I am almost always the only professional BLACK (Woman) at tasting events and business functions, especially here in Bordeaux. “I want to change that,” she ends.

Taking it one- step at a time to secure long-overdue space for aspiring Black women in the wine industry, through the success of Vines By Rosa, she hopes to inspire more people to take their passion and dreams forward.


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