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Kumba Africa travel platform takes off

Kumba Africa travel platform takes off

Kumba Africa, a digital platform built to enable users to review the travel experiences of various service providers, is scheduled to launch on 1 March 2019.

Co-founder Tapiwa Kingsley Ndlovu said Kumba Africa is targeted at travellers, tour companies and local guides across Africa and was established to fast-track the travel booking process.

Its launch into the travel and tourism space marks the end of an eight-month beta testing phase said Ndlovu.

"With Kumba, we aim to use machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) to create a more streamlined travel booking process for travellers visiting not only Africa, but other parts of the world," he said.

"For now, people can use our platform to book and pay for pre-packaged authentic single-day and multi-day experiences, while also requesting customised travel itineraries. However, as more people around Africa become connected, we want to connect travellers to more tour operators, guides and locals across the entire continent, and reduce trip planning for the average 10-30 hours spent by travellers, to a few minutes."

According to figures from the World Trade and Tourism Council (WTTC), Africa's tourism sector is expected to grow moderately in coming years, with investment recorded at US$28.2-billion in 2017 and the expectation of growth of 4.6% per annum between 2018 and 2028.

The organisation forecasts that the visitors export generated by the sector would rise by 4.5% per annum to realise US$78.5-billion by 2028.

The tourism sector aside, Ndlovu has a positive outlook for the state of technology use in Africa generally. He expects Africa to be a significantly more tech-savvy continent within the next five years to greatly benefit from the increased connectivity and influx that companies like BRCK, Facebook and Liquid Telecom have tried to bring as they work to connect more people in remote areas.

Other factors that may also bolster the trend include heightened calls for the creation of a Single Digital Market for Africa and more countries signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as a potential game-changer.

Kumba Africa would seek to scale operations and enhance its visibility after launch as the 1-stop travel booking platform for travellers visiting Africa before expanding to other markets, Ndlovu explains.

Its initial six months will be used to grow the number of hosts and raise a seed round to accelerate growth.

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