Africa Set To Be Next International Hot Spot?

Africa seems to be making a comeback, drawing travelers from around the globe to a variety of destinations within the world’s second largest continent. The next international hotspot? Recent travel awards won by Africa’s luxury travel brands indicate that’s possible. A focus by adventure brands adds fuel to the fire; Africa is the place to be.

The World Travel Awards (WTA) highlight and reward travel brands that are the best in quality, innovation and service over the past year. While natural wonders and popular iconic destinations are common bucket list items, visitors have to get there first.

They might fly in, take a cab or rent a car to go someplace. Once there, luxury travelers might want a good hotel room or resort for the base of their operations. Adventure travelers could be looking for guides, tour operators or packages geared to backpacking, hiking, camping or climbing. All those services need to be in place in advance.At the World Travel Awards this month, coming in as highly-rated were tour operators Abercrombie and Kent, South African Airways, luxury experiential travel company &Beyond and a variety of luxury hotels and resorts.

“Our winners are drawn from the breadth of Africa, reflecting how the outstanding natural attractions of the continent are being complimented with a growing portfolio of luxury facilities.” said Graham E. Cooke, President & Founder, WTA in a Travel Daily News article.

Indeed, looking to 2013, service providers have upped their game, offering more packages, tours and accommodations than before.

It’s not just luxury travel either, outdoor expert REI Adventures added six new trips to its collection of African adventures for 2013 with a strong focus on the southern part of the continent. The REI trips are not just backpacking via safari.

REI’s Exploring Africa series includes a focus on Botswana, Namibia or Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. In Ultimate Adventures, REI takes travelers across country via small aircraft, assuring they will see all major attractions and highlights on one 11-day adventure.

Tour operators, hotels, airlines and service providers are ready. 2013 looks to be a big year for Africa. Gadling’s Kraig Becker agrees, saying, “Having visited South Africa myself, it is easy to understand why it is such a popular destination. The country truly has something to offer travelers of all types,” in “South Africa Sees Nearly 20 Percent Increase In Tourism In 2012.”

[Photo courtesy REI Adventures]