And the rest of the world says…

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the smiling face of Senegal

the smiling face of Senegal

Too many, Africa means safaris, South Africa combines it with beaches and vineyards and North Africa suggests a long cultural heritage that has affected history to a staggering degree. But how do African countries portray themselves. At the World Travel Market many saw themselves differently.

Whilst East Africa might have used the uninspiring headline, “Borderless borders” as they linked Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, each of those individual countries emphasised other things. For Uganda, they wanted to tell you that they were the “pearl of Africa” but the picture underneath was of the jungle and monkeys. Kenya was “magical” and Rwanda was “Remarkable.”

Nearby countries adopted a similar approach. Tanzania called itself “The land of Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengeti over a poster of the Serengeti and a giraffe staring straight at you. Nearby Zimbabwe called itself “A world of wonders” and chose what many would see as an old fort rather than the jungle to portray its country.

But it was Senegal that provided the most striking picture using a girl’s face coloured with the national colours and telling us that the country was “A fresh perspective.” With the French influence, French tourists know this country must better than we do but more and more tour operators are offering this as a holiday destination.

this time, no smiles but warmth to greet you to Malawie

this time, no smiles but warmth to greet you to Malawie

Malawi called itself the “warm heart of Africa” as it showed a river boat taking holidaymakers upstream whilst Nigeria was “fascinating.” The increasingly popular Cape Verde islands saw themselves as being one country but offering ten destinations and the Gambia was “the smiling coast of Africa” and urged us to “Go…Discover.”

South Africa had the biggest African nation stand at the show and preferred the strapline “Inspiring new ways” on a vivid red background and its flag whilst neighbouring Botswana chose no slogan at all and just relied on images as did Ethiopia. Mozambique claimed to be “a fascinating destination.”

Big and bold - impossible to miss South Africa

Big and bold – impossible to miss South Africa

Across the South Atlantic to South America, most countries opted for pictures to tempt us with few using slogans. Brazil was “sensational,” it said and its large stand was there to remind us that although the Olympic Games is less than two years away, the country had so much more to offer the holidaymaker. Chile, Ecuador and Argentina concentrated on pictures although Argentina still has “Beats to your rhythm” on its posters. Bolivia “Awaits you,” Colombia is “Magical realism” and Peru is still the “Empire of Hidden Treasures.”

In central America, Nicaragua is unique and sensational and which tourist destination hasn’t told me that over the last couple of days!

Returning to Europe after this quick world trip over the last three days, Romania wants you to “explore the Carpathian garden” and neighbour Bulgaria opts for just pictures of its landscape. Poland still wants us to come and find our story there whilst Amsterdam in Holland still uses the slogan “I Amsterdam” with the “am” in a different colour. Guess what? The country still uses a tulip and the colour orange to highlight itself.

a meld of heritage and culture to find

a meld of heritage and culture to find. more than expected.

Cyprus wants to be “in your heart” whilst North Cyprus still wants to be discovered. Croatia isn’t necessarily “the Mediterranean as it once was” as it rebrands itself to become 365 telling us that we should consider it as a year round destination. Prague in the Czech Republic issues a warning to all holidaymakers saying that the heart of Europe will make our pulses race and Germany’s Black Forest in the south west of the country offers a smiling welcome. We should “Think Hungary” the country proclaims telling us that there is more than expected. Denmark is at WTM for the first time in a few years and it tells us that it is “cool.” Azerbaijan and Georgia continue their logo based wooing of British tourists and as rapidly developing tourist destinations, both will be very different in five years’ time from the countries they are today.

the wild beauty of Montenegro?

the wild beauty of Montenegro?

Malta is more it tells us whilst Montenegro says that it has pictures to get us moving. Bosnia and Herzegovina are slowly building up their promotions to get us to visit their area in the eastern part of Europe. Serbia relies on colourful abstract letters in its name and both Austria and Switzerland follow their well- known reliance of the country names.

In Europe it was Macedonia that attracted my attention but not because of the country name. Medical tourism is fast developing as western holidaymakers seek to save money by journeying abroad for operations, cosmetic surgery and even dentistry. So the poster from a dental clinic in Skopje with a tooth as a teacher wins as my other attractive poster of the day!

Macedonia- showing us another "face" of tourism!

Macedonia- showing us another “face” of tourism!

The Republic of Ireland goes again for a stylised shamrock whilst the United Kingdom concentrates on its “Great” theme that it claims has been so successful. The number of Scots, Welsh and English destinations and attractions exhibiting was pathetic in comparison to other countries but many would claim it was Visit Britain that should promote them. Domestic tourism isn’t helped by the poor showing to the thousands of British travel agents that visit this show.

Maybe next time, but maybe not.

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