CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

6 May 2014

East Africa: Google, Facebook, Instagram Among Speakers At E-Tourism Conference

Major internet companies including Google, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor are among major companies that will grace the E-Tourism East Africa Conference set to take place between 9th and 10th June.

The conference will leverage on the use of social media to enhance tourism products with recent statistics showing that 58 percent of all travel has been researched, booked and bought online with a staggering 96 percent of travelers using the internet to determine travel locations.

The internet is even having major effects on traditional tourism players with 49 percent of major global travel operators in a state of decline and another 24 operators are already bankrupt.

"Online bookings are increasing and we want to keep abreast of the trends. We are delighted to be hosting this year's E-tourism East Africa conference which will give our local tourism sector much needed information and insight from international online travel experts," says Intercontinental general manager Karl Hala.

Tourism stakeholders will also be taught how to use social media platforms such as Instagram to make impact on their posts especially on the hotel industry with food being among the most posted pictures even as the company plans on sending a representative to the conference.

Hotels will also be educated on the benefits of having free internet and WiFi as it allows visitors to post their experiences with over 60% of all referrals being from friends and family.

According to e-frontiers CEO David Cook social media is playing a major part in determination of visitation sites with many people likely to believe reviews from their friends and family.

"The good thing with social media is that you almost hardly find people posting negative pictures while on holiday. Many people use social media for bragging and thus hoteliers should understand such publicity is free marketing," said Cook.

The conference will also strategize on how to deal with crisis situations such as the growing terror threat in the country that has led to massive cancellations on bookings due to lack of information to show for example distances between hotels and terror spots though location tagging in posts.

"Many cancellations happening currently is because there is not enough information on where the explosions have been and many tourist may feel the entire city may be at risk," he adds.

Also presenting will be Google who will showcase their Google Glass technology that is expected to revolutionize travelling and Facebook who will send their head of travel.

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