Made In Africa: The Rise Of Tech-Based Travel Startups

Made In Africa: The Rise Of Tech-Based Travel Startups

The number of technology-based travel startups is on the rise across Africa and is providing a boost to the industry by opening up previously inaccessible regions to tourists and business visitors, a new report by Euromonitor International has shown.

Africa has witnessed an increase in tech startups in various sectors buoyed by growing number of innovation hubs targeting techpreneurs on the continent. The World Bank estimates that more than half of the countries in Africa now have at least one tech-hub with investment in this space doubling in 2014 to reach $27 million.

“The introduction of technology hubs in Africa can have a massive knock-on effect for the whole continent,” said Simon Press, World Travel Market Senior Director.

“Not only do they provide a huge increase of jobs and boost economy but it benefits the whole travel industry with increased flights and hotel bookings.”

Companies like Hotels.ng, the largest online hotel booking site in Nigeria, AwesomeSouthAfrica.com and Jovago.com are making inroads in Africa’s travel market and have attracted millions of dollars in investment.

In May, Hotels.ng secured $1.2 million in funding from investors, while Jovago.com was launched in 2013 by Africa Internet holding, a joint venture between Rocket Internet and African telecoms operator Milicom.

According to the UN Word Tourism Organization, international arrivals in Africa surpassed the 50 million visitors mark in 2012, generating more than $33 billion in revenue. Arrivals are forecasts to top 85 million by 2020.

“The growing technology sector in Africa is helping to expand the travel industry,” said Mark Essien, founder and CEO of Hotels.ng.

“Easier online discovery combined with growing consumer confidence in online bookings has made it extremely straightforward for us to cater directly to travelers’ needs.”

Other tech firms that have also ventured into the travel space include SleepOut, which has a presence in 27 countries in Africa, Tastemakers Africa, a mobile app and content platform dedicated to revolutionizing what the world thinks about travel in Africa, and Gummie, that provide alternative travel adventures in South Africa.