Business Events Africa — January 2024

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Voice of the Business Events Industry in Africa Vol 44 No 1 JANUARY 2024

Embark on a journey of innovation and success with STRONG PR Marketing and Events, where each event is not just a gathering but a transformative experience shaping the future of the industry in 2024 and beyond...

...because who doesn’t want

Business Events Africa: serving the business events industry for 44 years


About the cover

Voice of the Business Events

VOL 44 NO 1 JANUARY 2024

The authority on meetings, exhibitions, special events and incentives management

Industry in Africa Vol 44 No 1 JANUARY


Embark on a journey of innovation and success with STRONG PR Marketing and Events, where each event is not just a gathering but a transformative experience shaping the future of the industry in 2024 and beyond...

...because who doesn’t want

Established in June 2022, STRONG PR has not just been formed as a startup, but has been established through years of experience and hard work. MARKET NEWS 30 Hostex 2024 — officially launched as it begins its countdown. 31 Africa Tourism Partners rolls out exclusive courses with Cornell University. 32 Energising Africa’s potential key to economic prosperity and sustainability. 33 Registration open for Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA) 2024. 34 VFS Global appointed to administer UK Government visa and passport service.

Cover Feature

Association news

COVER STORY 8 STRONG PR, Marketing and Events soars into 2024 and beyond — riding the waves of pioneering success with an abundance of positive vibes.

SAACI 35 Meetings matter — make meetings count in 2024.

On the pages EDITOR’S COMMENT 4 2024 – The year of great expectations. NEWS 5 Date for the African Global Events Industry Summit announced. 6 New African exhibitors to inject diversity and excitement at Meetings Africa 2024.

EVENT GREENING FORUM 36 The Event Greening Forum remains steadfast in Net Zero Carbon Events Future. SITE 37 A spotlight on the Uganda Convention Bureau. AAXO 38 AAXO Roar Awards — for industry excellence.

HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 414, Kloof 3640, South Africa TEL: +27 (0)31 764 6977 FAX: 086 762 1867 MANAGING DIRECTOR: Malcolm King EDITOR: Irene Costa SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Vincent Goode DISTRIBUTION MANAGER: Jackie Goosen SALES REPRESENTATIVE: Irene Costa +27 (0)82 558 7387

EXSA 39 2024 — the year of growth.


MAPUTO FEATURE 14 Maputo — an unexpected destination.

DIRECTORY 40 Directory of associations.

SUSTAINABILITY 18 City Lodge Hotels shares sustainability successes.

MARKET NEWS 42 Dawie Mullins promoted to director of global sales for Africa at Minor Hotels.

VENUE WITH A VIEW 20 Tau Game Lodge — for unsurpassed memories.

INDEX 42 Index of advertisers and contributors.

VENUE NEWS 24 Eugene De Beer appointed director of rooms at Pullman Cape Town. 25 Sun City Resort continues female leadership appointments. 26 Club Med Tinley — the conquest begins. 28 A fresh new start for Cape Town’s grand old Victorian lady.

(Reg No. 1981/011920/07)

PUBLICATION DETAILS: Volume 44 No 1 Business Events Africa has 12 issues a year and is published monthly. This magazine is currently only available in digital format.

FAREWELL PROFILE 12 Head Concierge Deon Prinsloo bids Palazzo Hotel Farewell.

A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE 23 How the hospitality industry can help redress South Africa’s imbalances.

Published by the proprietor Contact Publications (Pty) Ltd

publishers of Business Events Africa, is a member of:

THE LAST WORD 43 The strategic value of business insurance in uncertain times.


Official media partner

Official Journal of the Southern Africa Chapter of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence

Official journal of the Exhibition & Event Association of Southern Africa

2024 – The year of great expectations As we close the chapter on what was, we begin 2024 – the year of great expectations.


nything is possible, as we begin the new year. I recently attended the EXSA conference and left the event with a new sense of self. The conference touched on current industry expectations for 2024, it looked at the importance of safety and how we could further streamline some processes, as well as on brand storytelling and AI, and lastly, how we perceive things. Read more in this February edition of Business Events Africa and find out who excelled in the EXSA-LLENCE Awards. Perceptions are one of the themes that really stuck with me. Perceptions are about emotions. In business, as in life, making emotional connections is critical. We generally do it through storytelling, sharing information about ourselves and, more importantly, our brand, as we are our brand after all.

I have always said that people buy from people, and with this idea of perception, we can even say that people buy from people that they like. It might sound really simplistic… but really, it is not. It is potentially a lifelong learning experience… of getting to know and building on the relationship that you have with your client, you have with your partners and that you have with suppliers. If you do it right, they can become good friends over time, or at least, good acquaintances. It is also about exceeding their expectations, delivering what you promise with integrity, and keeping your values, and ultimately, it comes down to trust. Without trust, the ‘good’ emotional connection disappears. This is something AI cannot do — add emotion or even understand emotion, as we do. This, in my opinion, is a good thing. It

Credit: Hein Liebetrau


means that no matter how advanced AI is, now and in the future, our human qualities cannot be duplicated, to such an extent. This definitely makes me feel better about using AI. AI is still new to me… I am not afraid of technology, but I have generally been slow in taking on new technologies. After the EXSA Conference, I am definitely going to start playing with the AI available out there. We all must get comfortable with what is available and discover how it can add value to our daily lives. Don’t worry, I won’t be sending anyone automated robot messages! We all have to move with the times, but remember, there isn’t anything that can replace emotional connections. Make the best of 2024 — anything is possible!



Image courtesy of Blueberry Hill Hotel, Johannesburg

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Date for the African Global Events Industry Summit announced The inaugural African Global Events Industry Summit (AGEIS) is heading to Gauteng in South Africa. This groundbreaking event, focusing on fostering networks and collaborations within the African events industry, will take place from 22-25 February 2024 at the Garden Court OR Tambo International airport hotel in the City of Ekurhuleni, in Gauteng Province. The Garden Court OR Tambo International Airport hotel, situated in close proximity to the OR Tambo International Airport, provides easy access for both local and international AGEIS attendees.


he AGEI Summit is being hosted on the back of the reported growth of the African events industry in recent years. The industry is cited as a growing contributor to Africa’s economy by attracting foreign investors and contributing to the economic development of many countries. The weddings industry alone is a major contributor, with over 5 million weddings hosted annually in Africa, according to According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), it is projected that business travel and tourism in Africa will grow at an annual rate of 7.6% by 2028. The theme of the Summit: ‘Building Bridges in the African Events Industry’, encapsulates the vision for the African events community to come together and drive the industry forward. Owing to its origin within the successful Ghana Events Industry Conference, the Summit is expected to attract leaders, influencers, innovators and professionals within the events industry to discuss and explore ways to enhance cooperation and establish a stronger foundation for growth across Africa. The objective of the AGEIS, as it’s commonly called, is to bring industry professionals together to unite, professionalise, and grow the events industry in Africa. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and excellence, the Summit aims to elevate the standards of the industry and contribute to its economic success.

“Bringing together industry professionals from various African countries, the inaugural Summit is expected to attract between 100 and 150 event professionals. The majority of attendees will represent Central and West African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa. Corporate and social event planners, event designers, photographers, DJs, MCs, and many other professionals will be present,” said Ms Kate Hassan, Managing Director, Thea Eventistics. The AGEIS agenda features topics that will be delivered in formats including master classes, panel discussions and one-on-one interviews with thought leaders, experts and advocates, sharing their insights and experiences to inspire and empower the delegates. The AGEIS will provide delegates with numerous opportunities for networking and collaboration through social and networking events like the Welcome function on 22 February, the Gala and Awards Dinner on 25 February, Wine Tasting, and Wellness sessions. All of these fucntions have been added to create an inclusive environment for delegates to connect and build collaborative bridges. Additionally, and most importantly, the AGEIS delegates will also take part in the Meetings Africa Trade Show, which will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 26-28 February 2024. The AGEIS is strategically organised to coincide with the annual Meetings Africa

trade show. The significance of hosting the Summit alongside the 18th Meetings Africa Trade Show is to provide delegates with additional networking and business opportunities. Meetings Africa is renowned as Africa’s leading trade show for business events, attracting decision-makers and executives from around the world. “By participating in both events, delegates will access a diverse network of industry professionals,” said Ms Mmatšatši Ramawela, Managing Director, Africa Tourism Connect. The AGEIS organisers, their partners and sponsors invite industry professionals, entrepreneurs and other role players to join the Summit by registering their intention online on https://africaneventsprofessionals. com. "Building Bridges Summits 2024 is not just a gathering of events professionals; it’s a movement towards an interconnected African events industry,” emphasised Kate Hassan, managing director, Thea Eventistics. Various packages are available for the Summit. Delegates will have the opportunity to network with experts, gain valuable insights, and contribute to the future of professionalising the African events industry. For contact and media enquiries, the details are as follows: For West and Central Africa, Ms Kate Hassan, tel: +233 24 655 9291 and email: For South Africa and SADC, Ms Mmatšatši Ramawela tel: +27 82 903 9769 and email:

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New African exhibitors to inject diversity and excitement at Meetings Africa 2024 Excitement is steadily mounting for Meetings Africa 2024, with the inclusion of four new dynamic African exhibitors. These additions promise to enrich the diverse array of proudly African products and services showcased during the event.


eetings Africa is the premier trade show within the business events sector on the African continent. The event is a critical platform for industry professionals to network, share best practices, and explore the latest trends and innovations within the sector. The 2024 Meetings Africa event is scheduled to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from 26-28 February. Amongst the exhibitors for Meetings Africa 2024 are new entrants, Egypt, Cote D’Ivoire, Tanzania, and Zambia. These include the Galaxia Group from Egypt, with offices across the Middle East; the Mangalis Hotel Group from Cote d’Ivoire; MICE Solutions DMC from Tanzania, and Willch Travel and Tours from Zambia. Their participation will further enrich the Meetings Africa line-up as they join

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seventeen other exhibiting products from African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, Togo, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Senegal to name a few. Zinhle Nzama, acting chief convention bureau officer, South African National Convention Bureau, welcomes the four new exhibitors, adding that this will help to showcase the continent’s dynamic offerings in the business events sector. “We are thrilled to welcome these new exhibitors; their addition proves what we have been saying: that this upcoming edition of the event is poised to be the most substantial and dynamic one to date. These exhibitors bring a treasure trove of exciting and top-notch products and services. Their presence will thus enhance the already impressive diversity of offerings at Meetings Africa. These exhibitors will infuse the event with fresh perspectives

and opportunities for the delegates, making it a not-to-be-missed occasion for anyone in the business events sector,” Ms Nzama said.




STRONG PR, Marketing and Events soars into 2024 and beyond — riding the waves of pioneering success with an abundance of positive vibes In the vibrant landscape of South African events, the names Herkie Du Preez and Mika Stefano echo loudly as the driving force behind the meteoric rise of STRONG PR, Marketing and Events. Established in June 2022, the company has swiftly become synonymous with orchestrating unforgettable experiences and business events nationwide and internationally — STRONG PR has not just been formed as a startup but has been established through years of experience and hard work.


n just 18 months, this team has built up a remarkable client base that keeps on growing with new and returning clients. Sunet van der Merwe from Exxaro Resources said: “It is a real honour to be associated with STRONG PR, Marketing and Events. The team’s ability to listen, interpret, and apply event expectations is exceptional, as seen in the fine detail of execution, quality of service, and punctuality. Their consideration of cost, building of honest and respectful relationships, and effort of going above and beyond sets them apart from any other service provider I’ve worked with. Working with the team is a pleasant and joyful experience.”

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From creating extravagant productions at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Sun City Superbowl, and Valley of the Waves to intimate experiences, STRONG PR truly knows how to craft, where to craft, and for whom to craft. Ensuring that each event has its own personality and experience, helping clients achieve their objectives in their conferences and events. “It’s been a humbling experience to see our passion for event planning and marketing come to life in such a short amount of time under the STRONG PR brand,” expresses Herkie, reflecting on their incredible journey. The company has navigated a dynamic landscape, working on different projects

weekly — producing, delivering, strategising, and conceptualising. However, the expertise of STRONG PR, Marketing and Events extends beyond events. The company has etched its footprint in major marketing campaigns, collaborating with industry giants such as Paramount Pictures for their TV Show MTV Shuga Down South Season 3 as well as Volvo Trucks South Africa on their road awareness campaign, #StopLookWave. Mika Stefano encapsulates the essence of their commitment, stating, “We’re committed to delivering excellence in every aspect of our work. It’s an honour to be entrusted with such a big responsibility, and we’re excited to


continue pushing the boundaries in event management, digital marketing, and public relations.” As the vanguards of innovation in event planning, STRONG PR stands at the forefront of industry trends, navigating the everevolving landscape with precision and foresight. In the role as one of our industry’s torchbearers, the company anticipates and shapes the future of events. With a keen eye on emerging trends, STRONG PR is set to redefine the events industry in 2024 and beyond. Each foresight represents a strategic move, a visionary step into uncharted territories, or simply taking something to the next level — ensuring that events become not just occasions but transformative experiences that transcend conventional boundaries. STRONG PR, Marketing and Events is taking the year forward with these five bold predictions for the events industry: People In recent years, there has been a notable transformation in the event landscape, shifting towards a renewed emphasis on the human element that extends beyond conventional diversity and equity considerations. Companies increasingly recognise the importance of prioritising people, fostering genuine connections, understanding employees, and demonstrating care for their wellbeing. STRONG PR, Marketing and Events has fully embraced this trend by actively involving company employees in various aspects of their events, including voiceovers, stage performances, and personal affirmations displayed throughout. This commitment to inclusivity transcends traditional corporate event boundaries, extending to online accessibility and creative post-event content sharing. The hope is for this people-centric approach to become a global standard, envisioning a world where every event celebrates humanity, care, and love, making inclusivity a fundamental principle rather than just a trendy term. Sustainability takes centre stage Over the last few years and again in the coming year, sustainability won’t just be a buzzword; it’s a guiding principle in event planning. STRONG PR envisions a future where eco-friendly practices become synonymous with event execution, not a nice-to-have, not a must-have, but a standard practice in how events are planned and executed; we are already seeing this with many of our event clients.

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From sourcing to execution, events will echo with a commitment to environmental responsibility, with new standards for conscientious and impactful gatherings being the new normal. Hybrid event models prevail Embracing the best of both worlds, STRONG PR anticipates the prevalence of Hybrid Event Models to continue to grow post-2020 and in 2024. Events will seamlessly meld in-person and virtual experiences, offering unprecedented flexibility. It was almost unimaginable not having a keynote speaker in the room, but now with VR and AI, organisers and delegates are a lot more excited about being able to listen to speakers that previously would have been nearly unattainable. This prediction signifies a departure from traditional event structures, paving the way for a dynamic and inclusive approach that extends the reach of events far beyond geographical constraints. Tech-infused experiential marketing and virtual reality Technology takes centre stage in the world of experiential marketing as we step into 2024. STRONG PR predicts a paradigm shift where technology isn’t just a tool, but the essence of engaging audiences. From interactive displays to augmented reality experiences, technology will weave seamlessly into the fabric of events, creating unforgettable moments that resonate with a tech-savvy audience. As we stand on the cusp of 2024, STRONG PR foresees a groundbreaking shift in the events industry with the advent of Virtual Reality Integration. Imagine a world where physical boundaries dissolve, and attendees are transported into immersive realms. This prediction heralds an era where events become more than gatherings — they transform into experiences that transcend the limitations of time and space. Add the speed of transformation with Artificial Intelligence, and we can only imagine how far we will transform events over the next 12 months! Rise of niche events The final and most exciting prediction in the events landscape is set to diversify with the rise of niche events. STRONG PR envisions a departure from one-size-fits-all gatherings, to curated experiences that cater to specific interests and demographics. This prediction reflects a growing demand for personalised engagements, where every event becomes a tailored journey for attendees seeking unique and specialised interactions.

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In an exciting evolution, STRONG PR, Marketing and Events is set to launch STRONG Décor; an event design company, promising high-end and unique products that redefine event aesthetics. Simultaneously, an expansion into the entertainment sector and an augmentation of its media offerings mark the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of industry trends. The decor company STRONG Décor, with its emphasis on uniqueness and quality, will position STRONG PR as a trendsetter in the aesthetics of events. Collaborations with renowned designers and craftsmen are already in the pipeline, promising clients not just events, but immersive visual experiences. Simultaneously, the entertainment sector beckons, with plans for creating bespoke entertainment experiences and productions tailored to the theme, objective, and tone of each event. Whether it’s a corporate gathering or a social soiree, STRONG PR aims to infuse every moment with entertainment that captivates and resonates. In the dynamic landscape of media evolution, STRONG PR is embarking on a comprehensive expansion on media production, offering services that complement what they already do, and expanding this offer to new clients, and support for other organisers in the industry, supporting their events and marketing campaigns. The STRONG culture and vision As STRONG PR charts its course forward, the narrative extends beyond the events planned, to the legacies they aspire to create. The vision encompasses pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation, inspiring the next generation of event planners to dream big. The ‘anything is possible, be who you want to be’ attitude is ingrained in their smiles, and they approach everything with FUN! Herkie emphasised: “We believe that if the team in charge is having fun, this energy will filter through to the delegate, viewer, or participant.” We thrive on creating a safe and vibrant space for our team and clients, encouraging a culture of fun and joy! We embrace our loud and proud approach in what we do. A clear vision within our organisation is to

The STRONG PR, Marketing and Events Team outside Volvo Trucks South Africa.

cultivate a community of leaders who are confident in who they are and what they do! The journey of STRONG PR, Marketing and Events unfolds as a story of resilience, adaptability, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Through the meticulous crafting of memorable events and our influential impact on industry trends, the company’s journey stands as a testament to the transformative force inherent in events. Each occasion becomes a brushstroke, leaving an indelible mark on the rich tapestry of human connection. It is within the realm of this profound human connection that they have someone ‘popping’ in at STRONG PR — Adriaan Liebetrau, a luminary in hospitality and business, is now a key collaborator at STRONG PR. His journey in hospitality management, marked by thriving bids and glamorous event orchestration, underscores his strategic acumen.

As the co-founder of ventures like Digitalise my Business, Adriaan seamlessly aligns his innovative spirit with our vision. Our collaboration thrives on the synergy between his business acumen and STRONG’s dynamic approach. At STRONG PR, Marketing and Events, Adriaan’s strategic insight takes the business to new heights. As a business consultant through AJL Consultants, he brings an infusion of brilliance, shaping the future of STRONG PR. Together, our partnership is a fusion of expertise and innovation, elevating the landscape. For a firsthand look at our dynamic work, visit our website and witness the magic woven by the trailblazers of STRONG PR, Marketing and Events.

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Head Concierge Deon Prinsloo bids Palazzo Hotel farewell This ends his 15-year-long career as head concierge and guest relations manager at the award-winning luxury hotel.


eon Prinsloo worked as head concierge and guest relations manager at the Palazzo Hotel in Johannesburg for nearly 15 years and is leaving the hotel to pursue his long-term dream. Mr Prinsloo has worked in the hospitality sectors locally and internationally in Belgium and Dubai for almost 38 years. During this time, he has interacted with people from all walks of life: from royalty to heads of state, celebrities to business people, world travellers, and ordinary people. They have all shaped his career and enriched his experiences. It is through these interactions and passion for creating unrivalled guest experiences, that he has been prompted to step off the familiar path and venture into something new. On 10 October 2010, Mr Prinsloo launched a first-of-its-kind in the country: the South African Concierge Forum. This platform enables South African concierges/ guest relations personnel to share their experiences and expertise. His motto:

‘Inspire, Share and Shine’, continues to underlie this initiative years later, with the hosting of Annual Concierge Conferences in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg. Additional educational days have been held quarterly, through the Concierge Forums. The global health pandemic of 2020, which resulted in many people leaving the industry in droves, ignited Mr Prinsloo’s desire to realise his dream of becoming a consultant. “After the Covid-19 pandemic, I saw the need for training in this area as many people were forced to leave the sector they loved during the hard lockdown periods — and many never returned,” Mr Prinsloo said. Mr Prinsloo said that his new venture entails concierge consulting, motivational speaking, SA Concierge Forum networking, personalised travel arrangements, philanthropy orphanage ventures, and floral arrangements, among other focus areas. Further details will be announced in due course.

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“Interacting with hotel guests and people in the industry is not just a passion – it is an obsession – and I intend fully sharing my knowledge and expertise, of nearly four decades, with the industry while building much-needed skills and training.” “As I close this chapter and open a new one, I am grateful to colleagues, guests, and friends for your support — and I look forward to collaborating with you on this new venture,” Mr Prinsloo added.


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Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence.

Maputo Railway Station.

Maputo — an unexpected destination Over the years, I have visited many destinations all over the world, including several African destinations. However, I had never visited Maputo, and jumped at the opportunity when I was invited to visit FIKANI, the international tourism fair in Maputo, Mozambique. The show took place at the newly built Mozambique-China Cultural Centre, from Thursday, 30 November until 3 December 2023. By Irene Costa


ana Tours and INATUR hosted myself and a group of international media and travel buyers. Thank you to Southern Sun Maputo for hosting me, for the duration of my stay, at their beautiful hotel. The theme of this year’s show was ‘FIKANI — For Sustainable Tourism’. This year’s concept was chosen in response to calls from the international community for measures to preserve the environment in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. More than 6,000 visitors, tourist and cultural

service providers, travel agents, and accommodation and catering establishments, as well as public and private institutions, attended the ninth edition of FIKANI. Nuno Fortes, director of investment and development at the National Tourism Institute, said: “Government measures are boosting and energising the tourism sector, and, for this edition, we’ve seen an increase in the number of countries and people taking part, which is satisfactory for the country as a whole.” Maputo — a destination of new and old Maputo — a destination I always wanted to

visit, but honestly had no expectations of what to expect. Of course, I was hoping I would get to visit the world-renowned hotel, The Polana Serena Hotel, and enjoy some prawns. However, I was completely blown away by what I experienced, thanks to Dana Tours and INATUR, who hosted us. The programme, besides visiting FIKANI, included tours of Maputo, as well as the opportunity to visit the top hotels in the city. All with outstanding meeting spaces. The vibrant city, is so much more than prawns… it really encapsulates new and old-world charm in the most effortless way.

Some of the scenes at FIKANI.

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Flavours of Mozambique Food Tour The food tour took us on a culinary journey where we got to sample the local food and drinks, a must-do tour if you are visiting Maputo. The food in Maputo has to be commended as one of the tastiest cuisines I have ever experienced, and the local beer, 2M, was the best thirst-quenching option on a hot day. Maputo is without a doubt a gastronomical experience… everything I ate, I loved. It was great to get to taste both the more traditional food in its simplest form, as well as the more refined versions at the hotels we visited. Everything I ate was packed with flavour. Interestingly, there were more vegetarian options than I had expected. Beans, leaves, and stems, are used in many of these dishes. A highlight was the Badjias (fried bean dumplings). The Chicken Place offered us a local experience with the most delicious braaied chicken and chips. The restaurant was by the sea, but quite rustic, and is one of the local haunts. There were a few children present, trying to sell things, but it wasn’t excessive. Something that wasn’t part of the food tour, but also a food highlight, The Sagres Restaurant on a beachfront, provided a feast

of seafood, including prawns and calamari, as well as the most succulent, flavoursome chicken and an array of sides. If you visit Maputo, you have to have at least one meal at this spot! Maputo City Tour This is the best way to see and experience the city of Maputo — by foot. You get to experience the real city. One thing I must mention is that we never experienced load shedding while we were in Maputo. Apparently, they don’t have load shedding in Maputo. Coming from South Africa that was a huge surprise! Back to the tour, the city has old-world charm. This tour takes you back in time to Maputo’s historic downtown district, Baixa de Maputo. The Baixa was the epicentre of colonial Maputo, and our tour guide, Atalia, took us to the very heart of the story. The route included the famous Maputo Railway Station, designed by Monsieur Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame, which is considered one of Africa’s most beautiful train stations, with its mint-green façade and beautiful architecture. It is immaculately maintained. It is definitely worth a visit to see two old steam locomotives. The station is still in use, with trains running regularly.

News flash: Mozambique Convention Bureau Mozambique is currently in the process of launching a Mozambique Convention Bureau with the assistance of Rick and Colette Taylor from The Business Tourism Company. • A feasibility study to determine Maputo and Mozambique’s market readiness for the MICE market was completed. • The National MICE strategy — is still to be finalised. • The Business Tourism Company presented the strategy to the World Bank. The strategy has been well received, but is currently being tweaked. Furthermore, the implementation plan has to be finalised. • The intention is to establish the Mozambique Convention Bureau as a separate division within INATUR. Staff will have to be appointed and deliver capacity building with the assistance of The Business Tourism Company, for the Bureau. Private sector buy-in in order to increase competitiveness. The implementation will probably happen in the second quarter of 2024. The Louis Tregardt Memorial Garden was also an interesting stop — this is yet another link to South Africa. For me, the highlight was seeing ‘Bring Maputo Back’ firsthand — it is an initiative to revive Maputo. The buildings in this part of downtown Maputo are being renovated and painted in vibrant colours. It has a similar feel to Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap. The inspiration actually came from Bo-Kaap. The goal is to bring people back into the city — they also host events at the restaurants and pubs that spill out onto the streets. The tour also included passing Independence Square, the City Hall, the Cathedral, and the Church of San Antonio is a landmark, also nicknamed ‘Lemon Squeezer’, for its shape. This church has a fascinating history.

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various other entertainment and shopping attractions. The hotel offers four boardrooms for meetings; uncapped Wi-Fi; free and secure undercover parking; swimming pool; sundowner bar; and #Café restaurant serving full English and continental breakfasts, lunch and dinner daily.

Mafalala Walking Tour The Mafalala Walking Tour takes you to the heart of the historic neighbourhood in the capital. You get to learn about Mozambique’s history, while taking in the sights and smells of the area, you get to see the community life. At the museum, you to learn more about the Mafalala literature, Marrabenta (local rhythm), traditional dancing, and sports. The area is home to icons including Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, Samora Machel, and Tufo da Mafalala, aka ‘Muthiana Orera’. The tour is part of a community development programme run by a local NGO focused on elevating the Mafalala community and creating opportunities for its women and youth.

the global environmental crisis that we face on our planet. This project is made from glass bottles, as an alternative to bricks, which have been collected as part of various clean-up initiatives in the local area. This unique building is solar-powered and makes use of water collected through rainwater harvesting. This building serves as living quarters, and contains a kitchen, restroom, and meeting room for the project team, and is open to visitors to view and gain an understanding of sustainable living.

After visiting the Glass House our group was invited to spend time on the beautiful beach. Afterwards, we were able to enjoy a scrumptious lunch. Thankfully, we did a lot of walking and never felt guilty enjoying all the lovely food and drink. Besides all the wonderful tours, we also participated in site visits at several worldclass properties. The Maputo Hotels

Macaneta and The Glass House The Glass House (Casa De Vidro) is a wonderful project, located at Macaneta, a lovely beach location. Its mission is to address the current environmental challenges that face the Macaneta Peninsula, and surrounding areas, to provide education and raise awareness about

City Lodge Maputo The 148-room is ideally located, within easy reach of the beautiful Costa do Sol beach, CBD, airport, a private hospital, the university, and

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The Polana Serena Hotel The Polana Serena Hotel, the ‘Grand Dame’ of Africa, as it is widely known, is a must-see historical landmark. The hotel celebrated a century in 2023, but has been beautifully maintained and still exudes elegance and splendour. The five-star hotel has old-world charm and if ‘walls could talk’, we can only imagine that they would have quite a number of stories to tell. Meetings and conferences Since hosting its first event in 1922, Polana Serena Hotel has established itself as a coveted address for exclusive meetings and other remarkable events. Featuring opulently ornamented interiors, the atmosphere is timeless and fit for any occasion. To complete your meeting experience, Serena Polana offers impeccable service, experienced event planning, and gourmet catering cuisine. Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Maputo With a pristine location on the prominent beachside avenue running along the Maputo seafront, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence boasts scenic views of the Indian Ocean. Less than 10 kilometres from Maputo city center and Maputo International Airport (MPM), the hotel is also near business hotspots such as the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre.

Meetings and conferences With nine conference rooms, and a beachfront location, it provides a magnificent setting for both business and


The outlook from Hotel Cardoso.

social gatherings near local attractions. The hotel also offers conferencing in its Residence building. A divisible conference room covering 252-square-metres, three breakout rooms, and a 153-square-metre pre-function area provide an abundance of space for business gatherings or special events. All meeting rooms include climate control, free high-speed wireless internet access, and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. Hotel Cardoso In the leafy museum neighbourhood of Maputo, the four-star Hotel Cardoso welcomes you to the perfect oasis for business and leisure travellers. A one-of-a-kind hotel built by Commandant Cardoso, captain of the Lourenço Marques port. It has the most stunning aerial views of Maputo city and bay. Meetings and conferences Surrounded by lush gardens and modern facilities, the meeting venues deliver a unique sense of place. In every meeting room, you would find an ample supply of required amenities, from ceiling-mounted projectors to microphones, sound systems, air conditioning, and dimmer lights. And if you prefer the outdoors, the hotel can setup a meeting on its lush lawns. Southern Sun Maputo This hotel is the only on-the-beach hotel in the city, with grand surroundings of mosaicked floors and vaulted wooden ceilings, inspired by Maputo’s architectural past complemented by familiar and

Meetings and conferences Blending beachfront location with business excellence, Southern Sun Maputo is a landmark hotel with venues for hosting everything from conferences to celebrations; Southern Sun Maputo is one of the leading venues in the city for small to mid-size meetings and special events.

evidence throughout the hotel. With ample and spacious areas, comfort and well-being are the priority, allowing satisfying and reinvigorating rest. The two bars of the Hotel Avenida ally socialising and a laid-back atmosphere. If you prefer outdoors, enjoy a snack on the Avenida Terrace, or the Páteo Avenida, an oasis amid the city of Maputo. On the rooftop, next to the outdoor swimming pool, you have a fantastic view overlooking the city and the sea, providing memorable moments.

Hotel Avenida The five-star Hotel Avenida is in the heart of the city, located on one of the main avenues of Maputo. The rooms reflect the modernity in

Meetings and conferences Hotel Avenida has nine meeting rooms (including an interpretation booth), with free Wi-Fi. The outdoor zones are perfect for socialising and networking.

welcoming homely comforts like free uncapped Wi-Fi and big beds with ocean views.

Southern Sun Maputo.

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City Lodge Hotels shares sustainability successes The recent World Travel Market London highlighted travellers’ strong emphasis on sustainability in their choices. Euromonitor’s research identifies eight traveller segments: eco-adventurers, blended travellers, leisure seekers, cultural explorers, luxury seekers, wellness worshippers, digital travellers, and adventure lovers.


ccording to Euromonitor’s Head of Research, Caroline Bremner, sustainability is a common theme across multiple traveller segments. Bremner emphasises that how companies present their sustainability initiatives is crucial. Euromonitor’s findings show that 79 per cent of both eco-adventurers and cultural explorers are willing to pay up to 10 per cent more for sustainable travel features. City Lodge Hotels has significantly expanded its sustainability initiatives in recent years, carefully balancing the use of renewable and non-renewable environmental resources. It strives to conduct business in an environmentally responsible way, in line with its values, details of which are unpacked under ‘Natural Capital’ in its latest Integrated Report

2023. “We diligently assess our environmental footprint and implement measures to mitigate adverse impacts, aligning sustainability with ease of stay.” Achievements for the 2023 financial year • Average water consumed per occupied room: 0.35kl (2022: 0.39kl) • Average electricity consumed per occupied room: 19.5 kWh (2022: 22.5 kWh) • Energy produced by solar/PV installations: 2.2 million kWh (2022: 2.1 million kWh) • New solar/PV installations give us the capacity to generate 3.5 million kWh • Cage-free eggs commitment: 65 per cent of eggs served across the group currently (2022: 55 per cent)

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Electricity management The group’s properties mainly use electricity from national providers, supplemented by backup diesel generators during frequent power outages. Most of the group’s energy consumption (70 per cent of carbon footprint) comes from water heating, air conditioning, lighting and laundry. Total energy consumption for the financial year was 29.5 million kWh (2022: 23.7 million kWh). Overall energy consumption increased by 24.5 per cent (2022: 33.9 per cent), due to higher occupancies and improved food and beverage offerings. Electricity consumption, per occupied room and available room, and related costs are as follows: Embracing renewable energy aligns with the group’s sustainability goals and need for


an uninterrupted energy supply for guests. The group has already installed 4,250 solar panels, at 25 hotels, at a cost of R20-million, generating over 2 million kWh annually, close to 8 per cent of the group’s total energy usage. An additional sixteen hotels had solar panels installed by November 2023, adding more than one million kWh/year to generation capacity, and taking the total generating capacity, across all 41 hotels, to 3.5MWh, with an installed capacity of 2.581 MWp. City Lodge Hotels is exploring electricity storage options, to supplement its solar initiatives and further ease the challenges posed by load-shedding and rising electricity costs. Two hotels have had different size batteries and inverters installed, which are being used to assess feasibility and effectiveness. The group is also looking into generator integrators, which allow for the simultaneous utilisation of generators and solar power. This approach aims to enhance the resilience and sustainability of energy systems, ensuring uninterrupted supply, even during grid disruptions. By integrating these technologies, City Lodge Hotels is building on its multifaceted approach to energy management and reinforcing its proactive response to South Africa’s evolving energy landscape. Water management The group’s commitment to improving water efficiency at its properties is a joint effort between employees and guests, with various measures in place to reduce consumption without compromising the guest experience. As part of this approach, the number of rooms with baths has been reduced to approximately 60 per cent, and low-flow showerheads and taps have been installed. Total water consumption for the period was 522,181kl (2022: 410,942kl), a 111,239kl or 27.1 per cent increase, year-on-year, mainly due to increased occupancy. Average water consumed per occupied room decreased by 10.3 per cent, from 0.39 Kl per occupied room to 0.35Kl. The challenges of water security have resulted in the group increasing the use of

borehole water and installing filtration plants to ensure water is potable. Currently, twenty hotels use boreholes, seven use filtration systems and twenty have water storage capacity, with a further three boreholes, 14 filtration systems, and nine water storage solutions in progress. Town Lodge Umhlanga’s existing borehole is being better utilised. Water quality at the group’s properties is managed using biodegradable chemicals and products, installing grease traps, and implementing saltwater chlorinators for swimming pools. Waste management The group has reinitiated its recycling efforts in select locations, which were paused during the pandemic. City Lodge Hotels strives to eliminate food waste to landfills, and its proactive approach aligns with regional regulations, such as those in the Western Cape, in which a 50 per cent reduction in base-level food waste is mandated. The group has partnered with Organic Matters, an innovative, black-owned SME specialising in collecting, cleaning, recycling, and reusing cooking oil and grease. A system has been implemented, across the hotels, to efficiently extract grease from the recently upgraded kitchen grease traps. Organic Matters employs specialised technology to perform this extraction, composting the oil for responsible reuse. Through this partnership, waste handling standards have been elevated within the hospitality industry, aligning with broader sustainability objectives, and demonstrating the transformative power of strategic alliances in shaping sustainable practices. Animal welfare City Lodge Hotels publicly committed, in January 2020, to serve only 100 per cent cage-free eggs across all operations by 2025, partnering with Humane Society InternationalAfrica in this endeavour. Currently, the group serves just over 2 million eggs annually, of which 65 per cent (2022: 55 per cent) are cage-free. Our sustainability committee is also exploring ethical options for sourcing pork, reflecting our ongoing dedication to ethical sourcing and sustainability.

Andrew Widegger.

Goals for the year ahead In the coming financial year, the group intends to address the following sustainability issues, for which data is currently unavailable: • Non-hazardous waste that is recycled, reused, or disposed of to landfill • Non-hazardous solid waste that is paper, plastic, glass, metal, organic, electronic, or a combination • Total plastic waste weight that is single-use • City Lodge Hotels replaced its bathroom amenities with environmentally-friendly alternatives in July 2020, eliminating single-use plastic from guest rooms. Its partnership with The Bespoke Amenities Company has resulted in a circular economy model, with products delivered and empty boxes and discarded products from guests collected for efficient waste management and disposal. • The introduction of hydration stations at all hotels in 2021, offering free, filtered, magnesium-enriched still and sparkling water, has further minimised single-use plastic bottles in circulation. • Andrew Widegger, chief executive officer, said: “City Lodge Hotels’ commitment to sustainability has gained momentum through collaboration with like-minded suppliers and our guests. What were once considered optional enhancements are now integral to our business practices. Sustainability truly flourishes when integrated into our day-to-day operations, yielding measurable results. We take this journey alongside our guests, suppliers, and the broader industry, confident that together, we can accomplish even more remarkable milestones.”

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Tau Game Lodge — for unsurpassed memories Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve offers the ideal luxe experience for individuals, groups and corporates and boasts an unsurpassed convivial, relaxed ambiance. The thirty luxury chalets each offer a private viewing deck, ensuite bathroom, and open-air shower. Accommodation includes 20 standard chalets, six deluxe chalets, a family unit, and a family suite (both made up of two chalets joined by an inter-leading lounge).


alaria-free Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve boasts year-round game viewing and a bird population of over 250 different species. Madikwe is one of the few reserves where one can view a wide variety of fauna, from breeding herds of elephant to the endangered wild dog and cheetah. The Tau Game Lodge Convention Centre, which is situated at walking distance from the lodge, can seat up to 70 delegates. The main hall can be subdivided into three sub-halls for smaller groups, with additional breakaway rooms and private bar and boma facilities. Team building activities on offer include

conservation events, while gala events or bush dinners are easily arranged. The main lodge has a comfortable lounge, bar, dining room, hospitality deck overlooking the waterhole, two bomas, two swimming pools, and curio shop, while the Tau Spa Oasis is a calm sanctuary where you can indulge your senses in a unique fusion of therapies. Special group packages are available at the spa. Tau’s proactive hospitality initiatives include constant upgrades and improvements, as well as eco-tourism projects to preserve its animal kingdom, and the environment, for generations to come.

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A Valentines’ luxe safari A Valentines’ luxe safari is the stuff romantic dreams are made of. Celebrating love in five-star style at Tau Game Lodge has often resulted in happy couples returning to Tau


from across the planet, not only to embrace love but also to celebrate and revitalise romance in relationships that have withstood the test of time. Indulge in a romantic breakfast overlooking the waterhole at the lodge after an early morning Big Five safari, sip cocktails in the bush, and dine under the stars. Then relax in the privacy of one’s room overlooking the natural waterhole, where the endless parade of game, and prolific birdlife, has enthralled lovers for some 29 years. Fancy a swim, as it is summer, in one of the two pools, one being an infinity pool, both overlooking the waterhole? Add a romantic spa treatment for two overlooking the verdant bush, and the mood is set for relaxation and eternal romance. Sustainable, eco-friendly, prolific wildlife, malaria-free, the Big Five and all the smaller game in-between, with some 27 major species roaming free in this natural habitat safeguarding nature for future generations, contribute to making Tau a bucket-list safari destination. Then there is the birdlife. From regulars like grey and blue herons, kingfishers, fish-eagles, to migrating spur-winged geese, choose this South African haven bordering the wilds of Botswana as their annual breeding haven. When game stir from their afternoon siesta and either have a final frolic before nightfall, or, in the case of the nocturnal big cats, start to prepare for their big night ahead, late afternoon safari sightings are spectacular. Before heading back to the lodge to refresh for dinner, you will stop at a perfect spot for sundowners and refreshments, always under the watchful eye of a ranger driver. The Tau live webcam will keep you mesmerised on: main-lodge/live-webcam/.

Contact details Tel: +27 (0)11 466 8715 Email: Website: or

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Luxury Accommodation Five Star Conference Facilities Eco-Education & Spa Facilities Community Development Central Reservations for Convention & Individual bookings: Tel: +27 (0) 11 466 8715 Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8816 E-mail:

A dose of relaxation & excitement...

Photo by CA Creative on Unsplash.


How the hospitality industry can help redress South Africa’s imbalances Tourism is a vital part of South Africa’s GDP and public image. According to the Department of Tourism, tourists spent more than R25-billion on our shores in the first quarter of last year.


ith the country’s official unemployment rate currently standing at 32.6 per cent, the tourism industry is in a unique position to help alleviate this. It is estimated that the sector will contribute 800,000 jobs and R287-billion to the national economy. In a country with the highest income inequality in the world, these kinds of numbers highlight tourism’s ability to help narrow that gap. Samantha Williams, commercial director at Profitroom, said: “Tourism is one of the most important sectors in South Africa, having contributed 3.7 per cent to the country’s GDP, employing about 4.7 per cent of the workforce. Going forward it’s poised to play a pivotal part in South Africa’s economic growth and, by extension, help empower millions.” Balancing the scales The hospitality industry is currently going through a purple patch. During the first quarter of last year, the country welcomed more than double the number of visitors it had during the same period in 2022, and current estimates have it contributing almost one million jobs by the end of the decade. A healthy tourism industry does wonders for local communities. South Africa’s world-renowned fauna and flora attract hotels and guests to more remote parts of the country. When hotels partner

with the communities they are committed to offering visitors access to activities in and around the community; this helps muchneeded revenue circulate around the community while also giving visitors a more well-rounded experience. Success needs diversity, training and trust Providing opportunities within organisations is the first step toward balancing the scales. For the hospitality industry to maintain its growth, it must actively create opportunities for a diverse section of its workforce to learn and grow. Research has shown that companies with diverse boards and staff compliments tend to outperform companies that do not have diverse teams, by a large margin. The first step toward reaping these benefits is by attracting and retaining the right staff. Research indicates that 86 per cent of millennials would be more likely to stay in their current job if their employer offered training and development opportunities. Additionally, 34 per cent of employees who left their previous jobs did so because they were seeking better career development prospects. By empowering staff with the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world, the hospitality industry can ensure better staff retention rates and improved service. Michael Puffett, senior business development manager at Profitroom said:

“The tourism industry experienced significant employee losses during the pandemic and, while it has recovered somewhat, there is still a staff shortage that makes training more important than it has ever been. Empowered staff attract and retain visitors and do not need to be micromanaged, which is crucial when operating in understaffed environments.” He added that, in some hotels, we are beginning to see what can happen when hoteliers ignore training. “Thanks to a lack of training, and understaffing, there are instances where staff at hotels are directing customers to book stays with online travel agencies rather than directly through the hotel, which is negatively impacting the hotel’s profitability.” Training builds trust, improves service, and empowers staff to make decisions that benefit the business. Furthermore, platforms like Coursera and Skillshare help make this process more affordable. Upskilling employees is not just important for specific businesses, but for the industry and country as a whole. For example, parts of South Africa are prone to natural disasters, and having a skilled labour force allows communities and companies to bounce back faster. Better skilled employees can find better jobs quicker and the businesses they serve benefit from their skills. In short, everyone wins when ordinary South Africans are empowered to do more.

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Eugene De Beer appointed director of rooms at Pullman Cape Town Hospitality operations specialist, Eugene De Beer, has been appointed to the position of director of rooms at the first Pullman Hotel in South Africa — the recently launched Pullman Cape Town Hotel.


r De Beer has been part of the hospitality industry for more than 15 years, working on cruise ships, boutique hotels, casino hotels and resorts. As the director of rooms, Mr De Beer will ensure Accor’s flagship Cape Town hotel delivers exceptional guest experiences and service. His commitment to service excellence and exceptional testimonials from colleagues reflect his passion for the industry and his qualities as an Accor Heartist (an Accor term Heart + Artist = Heartist). Mr De Beer has gradually evolved his skillset and roles over time, progressing through various positions within the

industry. He has learned from some of the best hoteliers in the industry and brings this knowledge to his role as director of rooms. Pullman Cape Town, situated in the iconic Triangle House skyscraper in the heart of the city centre, offers guests modern amenities, event facilities, relaxation spaces and personalised experiences, to ensure that guests will receive exactly what they need when they stay. As Mr De Beer said: “The Pullman brand is exciting and dynamic and I cannot wait to be part of the team and play a role in making Pullman Cape Town the talk of the town.”

Building back Exhibitions and Events together! The founding Associations of the SA Events Council have consistently provided essential information and support on event safety, business relief and venue capacity. Ensure you are ready for business by engaging with your association today.

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Photo by Shreekar Lathiya on Unsplash


Sun City Resort continues female leadership appointments Managing the diverse army of staff that runs Sun City Resort like a well-oiled machine certainly calls for someone who has excellent interpersonal skills, so it’s just as well that newly appointed HR manager, Votelwa Majola, describes herself as having an outgoing personality.


s Majola, who joined the Sun International property in October reporting to the Sun City resort general manager, Brett Hoppé, is responsible for leading and managing the HR team, accountable for the strategic delivery and integration of functions and processes across the HR value chain. Sun City, a R2-billion business, is leading the way in women transformation within hospitality and setting the pace for other corporates within the industry, and today, there are more women working at the resort than men. “Today, 58 per cent of our staff are women, 95 per cent of which are African, with many firsts with its leadership, and among these are the first female gaming manager and the first female IT manager,” Mr Hoppé said. “Part of my role will be to ensure effective delivery of people strategy and plans to support the achievement of Sun City’s business strategy,” Ms Majola said. The role includes the management of HR operations, employee relations and learning and development teams, transport for the resort as well as the creche and staff housing functions.

Ms Majola is an agile and seasoned human resources leader, with extensive experience in the global FMCG sector and the South African retail, banking, property, and manufacturing sectors. She was previously head of human capital and acting corporate services executive in the agricultural sector. Ms Majola holds a Bachelor of Social Science from the University of Cape Town, majoring in industrial psychology and industrial sociology, and a BCom honours degree in industrial and organisational psychology from the University of South Africa. As an advocate for people living with autism, and in pursuit of transformational leadership together with diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Ms Majola completed an MSc in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Conditions at Swansea Medical School in the United Kingdom in January 2020. When she isn’t in the office, Ms Majola can be found indulging in her newfound love for golf at one of Sun City’s two 18-hole courses; the Gary Player Country Club and the Lost City

Golf Course. She is a globetrotter, an avid reader, and has three marathons under her belt — an excellent preparation for the many hundreds of steps she will get in, walking across Sun City daily.

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The Club Med Team visits the Tinley site.

Club Med Tinley — the conquest begins Post the official announcement happening in September 2023, Club Med South Africa saw a record surge in sales reported since the opening of the season in October last year — doubling previous records.


he collaboration between Club Med and Collins Residential Consortium continues to gain momentum as four representatives from Club Med France’s main team met with the Collins Residential team recently in South Africa, to finalise detailed design and project rollout ahead of commencement next year. This marks a significant step forward in the Club Med Tinley project set to redefine the hospitality landscape within the region. With construction scheduled to kick off in January 2024, Club Med Tinley is poised to become a beacon of transformation, sustainability, and cultural integration for the beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal. In the words of Murray Collins, chief executive officer of Collins Residential, “Get ready South Africa — it’s really happening!”

The next steps According to Mr Collins, the teams are now focused on refining details and ensuring alignment with Club Med’s global best practices, local engagement, and a unique experiential approach to make it a gamechanger in the world of luxury travel. This collaboration emphasises Club Med’s commitment to creating a resort that not only meets international standards but also integrates seamlessly with the rich heritage and diverse culture of South Africa. “Since its creation in 1950, Club Med has been a pioneer in discovering new, exceptional destinations. With this new project, together with our partner, the Collins Residential Consortium, we aim to create value for local communities and contribute to the international prestige of the beautiful

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province of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Henri Giscard d’Estaing, president of Club Med. Construction milestones and record sales With construction set to commence this month, the teams are working diligently to deliver the vision of Club Med Tinley. According to Mr Collins, during the construction phase of this exciting project, Collins Residential and Club Med will prioritise sourcing labour and materials locally, promoting the use of the majority of local resources. Other items discussed during the recent visit by the Club Med team were aligning on waste management practices, including upcycling and recycling, that will contribute to the resort’s sustainability. Further to this, major


insights were gleaned from the Club Med team’s experience on the daily operations and impact of the design of the actual resort to ensure that it is designed for efficiency, and that the resort functions in harmony with sustainable practices. Club Med’s unique approach and local integration Club Med has a history of highlighting the value and uniqueness of each destination, ensuring that every resort is built in harmony with its surroundings. Club Med Tinley will adopt a coastal garden theme and collaborate with local interior designers to incorporate South Africa’s diverse culture and rich heritage into the resort’s holistic design and ambience. In terms of design, the brand-new resort will be meticulously planned, going right down to granular details such as the selection of shower heads and types of doors used to enhance the overall operational efficiency. Locally-based interior design companies will be taking the lead in terms of interior design, working closely with Paris-based interior designers to bring KwaZulu-Natal’s local flavour to life. Sustainable practices and collaboration recognition Landscaping is an integral part of the Club

Med experience, viewed as equally important as the construction of physical buildings and spaces. According to Trenley Tilbrook, Collins Residential development manager, for Club Med Tinley, the landscaping aspect of the resort will serve as a tool to elevate the consumer experience with a deliberate emphasis on creating a green and lush environment. “The main aim is to immerse visitors in the lush greenery of KwaZulu-Natal throughout the year, providing a unique and memorable experience that goes beyond the built structures of the resort, while aligning seamlessly with Club Med’s ethos that is centred around sustainable luxury. Club Med and Collins Residential are committed to aligning with global best practices for sustainability. In collaboration with Club Med, we are embracing global best practices for sustainability. Our focus extends to green accreditation and star ratings in line with recognised standards. This also extends to energy efficiency, where strategies for backup power, reduction of energy demands, and a diversified generator strategy will be implemented, for optimal performance. Water management is a key focus too, incorporating environmental authorisation compliance with the reintroduction of treated water into wetlands, as well as effective waste management in environmentally sensitive

areas like dunes and estuarine biomes,” explained Mr Tilbrook, about the project’s forward-thinking sustainability approach. Looking ahead to 2024 As Club Med Tinley gears up for groundbreaking in the first quarter of 2024, it’s clear that the project is not just about constructing a resort. It’s about creating a sustainable, culturally rich, and immersive experience for guests. This is reinforced by the Club Med and Collins Residential teams’ emphasis on landscaping, creating opportunities for local art exhibitions, and a deliberate approach to integration with the surrounding communities, to make Club Med Tinley a beacon of transformation, empowerment, and sustainable growth that brings experiential tourism to the surrounding areas of KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast. “With this project having been a long time coming, to see the significant milestones and progress being made since the official announcement took place in September is so encouraging. This latest trip and collaboration with our team and key Club Med France team members marks a positive and meaningful step forward with this project coming to life. We are so proud to be part of this catalytic project and to be working with another leader in their industry whose values and vision matches our own,” Mr Collins enthused.

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A fresh new start for Cape Town’s grand old Victorian lady The GrandWest’s Grand Hotel recently underwent an expansion and reopened on 1 December 2023.


ince opening the flagship GrandWest property in December 2000, this expansion is the first new hotel investment in Cape Town for the JSE-listed hospitality group, Sun International. The group’s other hotel property in Cape Town is the five-star Table Bay hotel, on the V&A Waterfront, which opened in 1997. Sun International’s R133-million investment has now added 68 additional keys to the Grand Hotel, bringing the total number of rooms to 103 (for clarity, four of the original 39 rooms were demolished and reconfigured). The GrandWest Casino and Leisure Complex is the largest in the country, so the demand to stay at the original hotel was always extremely high. For over 23 years, the four-star boutique hotel operated at a 99 per cent occupancy, with its rooms booked long in advance. GrandWest’s general manager, Mervyn Naidoo said: “For many years, The Grand Hotel was the busiest hotel in the group. Having a 99 per cent occupancy would be a happy problem for any hotel, but, in our case, it prevented us from marketing ourselves to new audiences. It also prevented locals from making

a night of it when we hosted big events.” The new three-story hotel extension consists of two new wings connecting the existing hotel on the north and south corners, and the new offering includes presidential suites, ordinary suites, double and twin rooms, and inter-leading family rooms. A gym, spa, and swimming pool have been built on the ground floor of the southern wing. In addition to its private dining facilities, the hotel also houses the elegant Salon Prive. The 57-hectare GrandWest complex is set in landscaped gardens and wetlands, while the interior boasts two casino floors, several restaurants and fast-food facilities, an arena capable of hosting world-class events, an intimate theatre, a nightclub, an ice rink and an extensive family entertainment area. An alternative energy supply takes the sting out of load shedding. History and construction challenges The Grand Hotel is a recreation of an older hotel that used to grace the corner of Adderley and Strand Street. Originally built in 1894, the popular hotel was upgraded several times

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until it was eventually demolished in 1952. When the hotel was reconstructed in 2000, architects used a scaled-down version of the first Grand Hotel’s 100-year-old plans. Mr Naidoo said that one of the challenges that the architects experienced was to keep the extension consistent with the original architectural plan and style. “Uniquely, all of GrandWest’s facades are scaled-down recreations of old landmark buildings in Cape Town, such as the much-loved Tivoli Music Hall (demolished in the 1930s), the Alhambra Theatre (demolished in the 1970s), the Old Railway Station (1905-1968), Cartwright’s Corner, and many memorable buildings in District Six. Peter Stokes, partner at dhk Architects said: “To respect the existing architectural style, the design was based on developing two identical three-story wings positioned symmetrically on either side of the existing entrance and Porte Cochere, which we left largely unchanged, to form an appropriately proportioned entrance court consistent with the period architecture. A new access road gives visitors direct access to the hotel.


Besides crafting and recreating the decorative façade details, challenges faced by the development team included adding a spa and indoor heated pool, and constructing within an active environment, as operations in the Salon Prive and existing 39 rooms were ongoing. The impact on customers from dust, noise, and vibration had to be carefully managed and consideration had to be given with respect to protecting sensitive gaming equipment within the Prive. Mr Stokes said that additional external challenges included working around taxi strikes, and the heavy rainfall experienced in Cape Town this year. Fresh new interiors Inside, the hotel’s new wings still pay homage to the original Grand Hotel through touches such as the neoclassical mouldings and skirting boards. The lights are also a take on the light fittings that would have been found in the original Grand Hotel. In each room, the colour palette has been refreshed for a bolder, more contemporary style which is a departure from the traditional cherry wood interior throughout the rest of the hotel. Lisa Bridgeford, head of interior design at dhk said: “We wanted to respect the heritage and the old maritime theme that is continued throughout GrandWest, but we also wanted to bring in crisp new colours that honour the landscape of the Western Cape region, such as deep burgundy, which reflects vineyards and red wine. She further explained how the room’s furniture has underlying elements from the original Grand Hotel. As an example, the headboard design reflects turret finials that were on the original hotel. The majority of the furnishings and fittings were locally sourced and manufactured by local artisans, ensuring that local businesses benefited from the economic injection. “The local flavour has been further enhanced with the artwork in each room, which has been inspired by South Africa’s rich fauna and flora. But, we have continued to recall the display of architectural and cultural heritage in The District area outside the hotel, by displaying photographs of District Six throughout the hotel.” The photographs stem from the collection shot by photographer Cloete Breytenbach in District Six, before the area was destroyed. “The Cloete Breytenbach Foundation has granted permission for the hotel to display the rich and atmospheric photographs that translate the culture and vibrancy of District Six.”

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Hostex 2024 — officially launched as it begins its countdown Hostex 2024 celebrated its official launch during an exhibitor briefing in December, 2023, that marked the three-month countdown to the industry's leading food, drink, and hospitality expo. The event was attended by industry associations, media, and exhibitors.


n a demonstration of Hostex’s steadfast support for the industry it has been part of for nearly four decades, the expo proudly sponsored the Coffee Magazine Awards. At this prestigious event, Hostex presented the award for Coffee Instructor of the Year to Hayley Arendse of Origin Coffee, highlighting the expo’s commitment to acknowledging and fostering talent within the coffee industry. As the countdown to Hostex 2024 continues, industry professionals and enthusiasts are encouraged to pre-register now for convenient access to the expo that promises to be the epicentre of food, drink, and hospitality innovation in 2024. The expo, which takes place from Sunday, 3 March, to Tuesday, 5 March 2024, at Sandton Convention Centre, will once again be an immersive experience filled with cuttingedge technology, trends, and innovations across six dedicated districts. “We are delighted to report that we are almost fully sold out, with only a few stands still available,” said Mark Anderson, portfolio director at Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery. “Hostex 2024 will be jampacked with new and returning exhibitors and visitors can look forward to engaging with industry giants like Unilever Professional, Vulcan Catering & Bakery Equipment, Rhodes Food Group, Importalia, GAAP, and Core Catering, as well as discovering offerings from SMMEs and new

market entrants, such as Matomani, Hive Energy Drinks, Funky Ouma, and Lutosa Belgian Fries.” Hostex 2024 will be bringing back the attractions that the industry has come to know and love, as well as a new feature — the Wine Bar: • SA Chefs Skillery: Witness culinary magic and connect in the SA Chefs kitchen. • Coffee Championships: Top baristas compete for career-changing recognition. • Industry Hub: Engage in interactive talks, knowledge-sharing, and presentations. • New Product Display: Discover the latest innovations from exhibitors. • The Wine Bar: A new wine zone featuring top wine producers and products. The Industry Hub, a free-to-attend seminar theatre, offers insights to help attendees innovATE, elevATE, and demonstrATE, with themed days, including Taste of Tomorrow (Sunday), Hospitality Horizons (Monday), and Design & Deliver (Tuesday). Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the future of food, drink, and hospitality at Hostex 2024 from 3 to 5 March, from 09h30 to 16h30 daily at Sandton Convention Centre. The 2024 expo is segmented into six districts — Equipment Africa, Food & Drink Africa, Tea & Coffee Africa, Contract Furnishings Africa, Technology Africa, and Sustainability Africa. Pre-register now at Entry is free for trade professionals.

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Africa Tourism Partners rolls out exclusive courses with Cornell University Africa Tourism Partners, in collaboration with Cornell University, has implemented exclusive courses targeted at entrepreneurs, youth, and women in leadership. This initiative is part of Africa Tourism Partners’ social impact programme.


he various online programmes offer professional and executive development to African entrepreneurs, strategic/executive sales leaders, senior business leaders, executives, directors, and managers. With a 90% discount, the programmes focus on business strategy. The aim is to help participants address today’s most pressing strategic business questions, and design strategies for their organisations and employability. Participants will attain certificates from Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management with sixty Professional Development Credits (PDCs). Current Certificate Programmes on offer for the youth and entrepreneurs include: Value Creation and Profitability, Change, Disruption, Growth, Synergies, Mergers, Alliances, Getting the Most Out of Your Business Relationships, Game Theory and Business Strategy, and Digital Platform Strategy. The first cohort is expected to start on 28 February 2024, for a duration of three months. The Executive Women in Leadership Certificate programme, which runs for two and a half months, aims to foster leadership and professional growth for women in executive management positions. It also aims to enhance thought-leadership and managerial skills. Participants will attain an Executive Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell University with fifty Professional Development Credits (PDCs). The first cohort is expected to start on 17 January 2024. Core modules for the Executive Women/Women in Leadership programme include power and gender dynamics, developing an executive presence for women leaders, gender bias and negotiation strategies, and the network effect. Participants are further required to select one module from decoding the gender gap in board membership, fostering an inclusive climate, and becoming a strategic leader. Enrolment is ongoing for the Executive Women in Leadership, Youth and Entrepreneurs programmes. For more information about the Cornell University Certificate Programmes, enrolment, and fees structures, please contact Rejoice Chishamba on +27 (0)81 303 7030 or or Khulekile Mazibuko on +27 (0)81 700 4163 or

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Business Events Africa January 2024 31


Energising Africa’s potential key to economic prosperity and sustainability A number of dedicated events and exhibitions took place in Africa last year, to spark discussions and inspiration to see the continent rise. Among them were top energy and infrastructure gatherings that confirmed that Africa could become the world’s largest energy market. By Devi Paulsen-Abbott, chief executive officer of ECP (Energy, Capital & Power) and Chairperson of AAXO (Association of African Exhibition Organisers)


o truly understand the continent’s evolving energy sector, the African Energy Chamber’s State of African Energy 2024 Outlook delves into the realities and possibilities. Africa’s energy sector is growing annually at a rate of five per cent, driven by a population exceeding 1.2 billion people and featuring abundant natural resources, including oil, natural gas, coal, renewables, and uranium. While challenges exist, such as untapped resources and infrastructure limitations, the continent is on the verge of a transformative period. Libya is one great example. Although its political instability has caused delays to some projects, the tide is changing. In February 2023, the National Oil Corporation launched its strategic plan to revitalise the country’s oil and gas sector. This will hopefully improve transparency and coordination across the sector, and ECP’s Libya Energy & Economy Summit in January 2024 will provide a better understanding of the country’s energy and economic prospects. It’s through forging strong partnerships, which are always encouraged at industry events, including with global counterparts, that countries in Africa can enhance infrastructure and spur economic opportunities. Africa’s significant population growth, urbanisation, and industrialisation present a unique landscape for sustainable development. The energy sector, therefore, holds the key to addressing economic disparities and propelling Africa towards substantial growth. The challenge lies in identifying sustainable and affordable energy sources to meet demand. Africa requires solutions within a realistic energy mix to maximise all natural resources and combat energy poverty. Global emissions must peak in the next

10-15 years if we are to have a good chance of holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, but we cannot and should not shoulder this burden. Even if Africa were to triple its production of natural gas, from current levels, its contribution to global emissions would only rise by 0.67 per cent. Even so, urgent transformation is needed in Africa’s electricity sector. Encouraging alternatives such as shale gas could contribute minimally to global emissions. The focus should be on diversifying, with gas complementing renewables, to provide reliable electricity to the 600 million people who go without access. While making precise projections is challenging, the road transport and petrochemical sectors have been flagged as key drivers of demand over the next 18 months due to heightened global economic activity and a rise in consumption of energyintensive goods. Future demand will be influenced by various factors outside these immediate markets, including global economic conditions, population growth rates, and shifts in fuel consumption trends (e.g. electric versus gasoline cars). Both sectors are highly energy-dependent, and potential limitations in the availability of affordable energy could impede production. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member nations, despite facing production compliance challenges, remain pivotal in driving output. Collaboration, investment in local talent, and seizing opportunities presented by the continent’s young population and growing middle class are crucial for progress. Attention is needed in areas such as implementing smarter grids and advancing electric vehicles. Moreover, the strategic use of seaports for the storage and distribution of green hydrogen

32 Business Events Africa January 2024

holds significant potential, positioning them as hubs for export. The increasing trends of using drones for oil and gas inspections, using blockchain technology for oil and gas transactions, and the development of artificial intelligence for oil and gas forecasting are exciting possibilities that could benefit Africa’s oil and gas sector. All of these innovations hold great potential to improve transparency, efficiency, and security. Crucial to highlighting Africa’s cause, events and exhibitions play an important role in driving the necessary discussions towards progress, while serving as economic enablers. As a continent, we should modernise energy infrastructure and have the freedom to use all resources for energy reliability, emphasising the need for impactful investment rather than pursuing measures like the Paris Agreement that may have limited effects on the continent’s energy poverty. It is essential to bring together the relevant role players, to bring about a significant impact on the continent.


Registration open for Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA) 2024 • • •

Registration open for TIFA summit, scheduled from 10-12 April 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). Programme includes policy discussions, expert presentations on investment trends and opportunities, site visits, and more. Attendance includes access to World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa), running concurrently from 10-12 April.


n a strategic move to drive investment opportunities across Africa’s travel and tourism sector, Africa Travel Week (ATW) has secured a partnership with Tourism Investment Forum Africa (TIFA). Scheduled to run alongside WTM Africa from 10-12 April at the CTICC in the Host City of Cape Town, TIFA actively positions African destinations as attractive investment locations, further promoting growth and development in related sectors of their economies. “TIFA provides an important platform for policymakers and investment professionals from Africa and around the globe to engage, collaborate, and secure business,” explained Megan De Jager, portfolio director at Africa Travel Week. “As a landmark 10th edition of Africa Travel Week (ATW), our alliance at this year’s show not only creates an exciting value-add for attendees, but further unlocks the tremendous potential of the travel and tourism sector to drive economic and social prosperity across the continent.”

The three-day event programme for 2024 consists of investment opportunity showcases, presentations on policy, trends, and developments, expert panel discussions, and the chance to conduct site visits to various investment project locations. “Last year’s summit attracted over 190 delegates and saw 13 countries and regions presenting more than 50 investment projects and opportunities across the African Continent,” added Miller Matola, chief executive officer of Millvest Advisory, the convener of TIFA. “By working closely with ATW this year, we’re expecting an even larger turnout of eager investors, influential business leaders, multilateral organisations, and development agencies seeking sustainable projects in which to invest capital. If this is on your radar for 2024, don’t leave TIFA and WTM Africa off your business calendar. Register now.” To attend TIFA 2024, visit: https://www. html.

Megan De Jager.

To attend WTM Africa 2024 and bolt-on events, visit: en-gb.html.

Business Events Africa January 2024 33

Photo by CA Creative on Unsplash.


VFS Global appointed to administer UK Government visa and passport service • VFS Global becomes the service provider for all UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres overseas – operating across 142 countries. • Estimated to manage 3.8 million applicants every year, VFS Global is now opening UK application centres in 84 new countries during 2024. • A new contract will also see significant investment in technology to improve the customer experience, accessibility, and security. • The UK contract is the sixth global contract won by VFS Global during 2023.


FS Global, which has been a trusted partner for the UK Government since 2003, has won the global contract for overseas UK visa and Citizenship services. This award is the latest in a long line of wins for the world’s leading visa, passport, and citizen services provider. During 2024, VFS Global will deploy 240 Visa and Citizenship Application Service (VCAS) Centres for the UK in 142 countries across Africa & Middle East, Americas, Australasia & Europe, China & Taiwan, and Asia & Asia Pacific regions. These centres will accept all categories of visa applications as well as UK passport applications in some locations. Combined, these new centres are estimated to process 3.8 million applicants every year. In the African region, VFS Global will deploy Visa and Citizenship Application Service (VCAS) Centres for the UK in 31 countries over the course of next year. The list of locations

include: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Beyond the scale of the deployment, VFS Global will invest to improve the customer journey and increase accessibility — including through new customer websites, and through updated in-person experiences. VFS Global will deploy its latest technologies to maintain robust identity checks and ensure the integrity of the visa and passport application process. The new contract is expected to deliver savings to the UK Government. Zubin Karkaria, Founder and CEO, VFS Global, said, “We are delighted to win this contract and expand our partnership with the

34 Business Events Africa January 2024

Home Office to become their service provider for all UK visa customers overseas. We are excited to begin operations in new locations, and to take the next step towards providing customers with a seamless, simple, and secure visa and passport application experience. This win is a testament to our dedicated efforts to provide all our client governments with best-in-class services.” The UK is a popular destination for travellers from across the African region, with Nigeria being one of the top four application locations*. This win comes soon after VFS Global was awarded the global biometric collection service mandate with Australia, and the renewal of the global visa service contract with Sweden. *Source: statistics/immigration-system-statistics-yearending-june-2023/how-many-people-come-tothe-uk-each-year-including-visitors#visitors-tothe-uk


Meetings matter — make meetings count in 2024

There’s no denying the impact that meetings and events have, not only on organisations, but also on the people and communities that attend and participate in them. From business meetings to incentive travel, conferences to conventions, they all have a significant impact on how our industry shapes the knowledge economy and the economic benefits where our meetings and events are held. By Glenton De Kock, chief executive officer of SAACI


hat’s why, in 2024, we must ‘Make Meetings Count’. We can start doing so as we look forward to what promises to be a busy meetings and events year for destination Africa. In gathering for Meetings Africa in February 2024, we may consider how we make this impact. As the lead tradeshow for the meetings and events industry for the continent, in-person networking; is one of the top reasons all vendors and prospects attend. How can we increase the number of meetings and events

held on the continent in the coming years, up to 2030? Where they are held and how we harness our collective bidding power will be areas that key partners may consider. Meetings Africa, as a platform, allows for deeper connections, timely and in-depth conversations, and more complex strategic thinking discussions that can aid the responses needed to the question posed above. We have seen many bonds and empathy established over time between attendees, buyers, and colleagues alike. As an association, SAACI will work to ensure

that attendees are engaged during the discussion sessions while having ample time to network with one another. All business event professionals are encouraged to participate, as an exhibitor or visitor, at the upcoming Meetings Africa and the various trade platforms available. In conclusion, meetings and events can benefit communities. In July 2023, the SAACI National Congress took place in Addo, Eastern Cape, thereby uplifting the local community and assisting in marketing the region as a potential meetings and events hidden gem.

Business Events Africa January 2024 35


The Event Greening Forum remains steadfast in Net Zero Carbon Events Future In a recent workshop titled ‘Bridging the Divide from Here to a Net Zero Carbon Events Future’, the Event Greening Forum (EGF) brought together industry professionals and enthusiasts to explore the critical steps toward achieving a sustainable and environmentally conscious events industry.


istinguished speakers Grace Stead and Morwesi Ramonyai, both renowned experts in sustainable event management, led an interactive session that underscored the urgency of addressing climate change impacts and the pivotal role of the events industry in driving positive change.

Urgent stats on climate change impact 1. Biodiversity loss in the Amazon The global demand for meat has led to alarming biodiversity loss in the Amazon. Clearing land for grain production to feed animals has significant environmental consequences. 2. Water supply challenges in South Africa By 2030, South Africa anticipates a 17 per cent deficit in water supply against rising demand, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable practices to secure water resources. 3. Extreme weather events and displacement Recent extreme weather events in Mozambique and KZN resulted in 170,000 people displaced in 2013 and damages amounting to R17-billion, with 435 lives lost in 2022. 4. South Africa’s accelerated warming South Africa is warming at twice the global rate, being a severely climate-stressed country.

The workshop emphasised the pressing need for collaboration, innovation, and persistence in addressing these challenges. Ms Ramonyai’s poignant words encapsulated the urgency: “We must journey towards net zero. It’s not as far as we think. It might feel like it’s far, but it’s not as far as we think. So, the whole idea here is to give you that support.” Ms Stead and Ms Ramonyai shared insights into the strategies and practices necessary for transitioning towards a net-zero carbon future. Ms Ramonyai encouraged attendees to start where they are and emphasised the importance of perseverance: “Start where you are and do what you can. And if you fail, start over again. Just carry on one thing at a time, and that is it.” The workshop, designed for NZCE signatories and supporters, remains relevant to all individuals interested in contributing to a sustainable future or working towards net-zero objectives. A central theme was the global commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, aligned with the Joint Meetings Industry Council’s Net Zero Carbon Events (NZCE) initiative. Given its profound environmental impact, the events industry is pivotal in this global initiative. For those who missed the live event, the workshop is available for viewing online. Grace Stead and Morwesi Ramonyai are set to release a comprehensive document summarising key insights and takeaways on the Event Greening

36 Business Events Africa January 2024

Forum website in the coming weeks. The EGF thanks the event sponsors — the Forum, Scan Display, Chat’r, The Solutions Company, Inspire Rentals, and Wrap Zero. The event sponsors played a vital role in making the workshop a resounding success, highlighting the importance of collective action in steering the events industry toward a net-zero carbon future. The Event Greening Forum remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a sustainable events industry. The urgent call to action reverberates beyond the workshop, inviting stakeholders from all backgrounds to join the ongoing conversation and contribute to the shared goal of a net-zero carbon future. The time to act is now, and the events industry holds the key to a more sustainable and resilient future.

About us The Event Greening Forum is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainability within the business events sector. To find out more, please visit

For more information, please contact: Lynn Mcleod Tel: 082 891 5883 Email:


A spotlight on the Uganda Convention Bureau In mid-2023, the Uganda Tourism Board hired additional staff to lead the core operations of the Uganda Convention Bureau (UCB). This included a strategy and research unit, a marketing and industry relations unit, and a sales unit.


he sales unit is responsible for researching sales leads, liaising with clients, managing bidding, and subvention. On the other hand, the marketing and industry relations unit focuses on developing Uganda’s MICE brand and creating its marketing and PR communications strategy. Lastly, the strategy and research unit is responsible for sourcing global MICE industry data, to keep track of industry trends, inform UCB’s innovative future strategic direction, and measure the performance of the industry sector. The Uganda Convention Bureau (UCB) formulated and implemented a policy and strategy to guide the growth of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector. The strategy included training the private sector, especially professional conference organisers (PCOs), venues, and destination management companies (DMCs) in understanding international service provision. Additionally, there was staff capacity building, an education program on the theory and practice of MICE amongst government MDAs, and lobby efforts to appreciate the value of MICE to socio-economic transformation. The UCB recently performed a MICE audit in December 2023. The primary objective of the audit was to create a comprehensive database of MICE facilities, evaluate the performance of the MICE sector, analyse the data collected, and suggest key focus areas for stakeholders to enhance the industry. UCB is taking proactive steps to promote MICE by actively participating in global exhibitions, advocating for the benefits of MICE, and engaging with key stakeholders, professional member associations, and government MDAs, to drive awareness and interest in this offering.

Convention Centre Speke Resort Munyonyo has a great track record of hosting notable conferences and meetings. They are soon going to open Uganda’s first convention centre, which will be able to accommodate up to 2,500 delegates in the main hall. Additionally, the convention centre will have an exhibition gallery with an area of 800 square meters and twelve breakout meeting rooms. There will also be a multipurpose hall, covering an area of 620 square meters, a VIP lounge of 340 square meters, and a restaurant of 1,560 square meters. The restaurant will be equipped with the country’s finest chefs, who will serve the most exquisite cuisines, both traditional and modern. Hotels Uganda is home to three of the largest international hotel groups, Marriott, Hilton, and Best Western Hotels. This gives foreign delegates a variety of accommodation options they are familiar with, based on the high level of standards of services and amenities. The Uganda Tourism Board noted that Uganda has over five five-star hotels, 13 four-star hotels, 27 three-star hotels and 36 two-star hotels, whose facilities are capable of hosting conferences and exhibitions of up to 1,500 delegates, and meetings of up to 500 guests. Events • Non-Aligned Movement Summit, a forum where Uganda is a member. The goal of the forum is to represent the interests and aspirations of developing countries. The event was hosted from 15-20 January 2024. Delegates from more than 120

countries attended in person. • Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth, hosted from 3-6 January 2024. • Africa Society for Blood Transfusion, scheduled for March 2024. • ISO-CASCO Plenary Meeting. UNBS won the bid to host the plenary meeting in Kampala, set for April 2024. We expect 120 participants, representing the 163 ISO member countries, and it will be an opportunity for the bureau and the country to showcase its profile in promoting international trade through these global networks. • In July 2024, the Congress of the Africa and Indian Ocean Commission will come to town to build capacities with the domestic teachers’ associations. • The Africa Aviation Exhibition will have its first-ever exhibition in Kampala, 3-4 December 2024. Trade Shows • Meetings Africa 27-28 February 2024 This is a business trade show whose main purpose is to enable the growth of the business events industry on the continent and ultimately contribute towards its economic growth. A delegation from the Uganda Tourism Board and relevant stakeholders will attend to meet, network, and create valuable relationships through showcasing value offerings. • IMEX Frankfurt 14-16 May 2024 One of the largest trade shows of its kind in the industry in Europe. This is where the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry come together annually.

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Business Events Africa January 2024 37


AAXO Roar Awards — for industry excellence Stepping into the vibrant landscape of 2024, the AAXO Roar Awards, taking place on 29 February 2024, beckons event professionals to showcase their prowess, ingenuity, and dedication in crafting extraordinary experiences.


hese awards serve as a lighthouse, guiding the industry towards excellence, recognising the innovators and visionaries who sculpt moments that resonate long after the curtains fall. Participation in the AAXO Roar Awards isn’t merely about vying for accolades; it’s an invitation to join a distinguished league of industry leaders. Embracing this opportunity opens doors to a multitude of advantages, including unparalleled networking prospects, heightened visibility, and a bolstered reputation within the events community. As the events landscape continues to

evolve, being part of these awards signifies a commitment to setting new benchmarks and fostering continuous improvement. It’s a stage where creativity meets recognition, driving professionals to push boundaries and redefine the art of event curation. Steered by innovation and fuelled by passion, the AAXO Roar Awards propel the industry forward, shaping a future where each event is a masterpiece. Stepping into 2024 with these awards signifies not just participation, but a dedication to steering the industry toward unparalleled excellence and transformative experiences.

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2024 — the year of growth Welcome to the new year! I hope you had a great rest and got to spend some downtime with your loved ones. 2024 is going to be an extremely busy year, so hopefully, everyone is fully energised and ready for the year ahead. By Lee-Ann Alder, association manager of EXSA


e would like to thank our members for flying the EXSA flag so high, and for consistently producing amazing work with energy, enthusiasm, and passion. You make this industry what it is, and we would never have come so far if it were not for you; we truly appreciate you. This is the growth year for the industry. We have laid many foundations and have now begun to see the success of these. Starting the year off with the conference and awards is so exciting and it has definitely been a

highlight for everyone, so that we can celebrate our members’ hard work. EXSA has many planned projects and working groups that will continue to pave the way forward for the benefit of both our members and the industry at large. The EXSA board is very results-driven and is forging ahead with all their projects. They made exceptional progress in 2023 and will continue to make the necessary changes this year. We will continue to work with our fellow

associations and government departments, which will benefit everyone, and we will continue to communicate with everyone regularly. EXSA wishes you every success this year, it is going to be very busy and productive, and we are going to see growth in both skill and profitability. We support our members as always, and will face any challenges as a united association.

Business Events Africa January 2024 39



EXCO AND HEAD OFFICE Chairperson Jaques Fouche e: c: +27 (0)60 993 7542 Vice-chairperson Gheeta Payle e: c: +27 (0)61 609 8585 Treasurer Alex Wrottesley e: c: +27 (0)79 429 1627 Chief executive officer Glenton De Kock e: c: +27 (0)82 575 7565 Membership Services & Operations Tracey-Lee Abdulla e: t: +27 (0)84 492 1515 REGIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSONS Eastern Cape Chairperson Neil Mouton t: +27 (0)61 423 9920 e: KwaZulu-Natal Chairperson Kavitha Dhawnath c: +27 (0)83 607 2006 e: Gauteng Chairperson Mary Mahlangu c: +27 (0)81 574 9493 e: Western Cape Chairperson Ansu Colditz c: +27 (0)82 457 8071 e: Learning Ambassador Esti Venske c: +27 (0)83 482 9276




President Tes Proos c: +27 (0) 84 682 7676 e:


Chairperson Sibusiso Mncwabe Marketing Well

Treasurer Peter-John Mitrovich c: +27 (0)82 318 1889 e:

Interim treasurer Glenn van Eck, Chairperson: CEPA

Vice Chair Jacqui Nel Exhibition Freighting GSM

Sustainability Daryl Keywood


Treasurer Ismael Atanasi GL Events Director Ashona Maharaj Durban ICC Director Beert Kuiken Octanorm Director Gabi Babinszky Brandex Director Kelly Papas Barmotion Director Kerry-Lee Bester Brilliant Branding

Southern Africa Development Brad Glen East Africa Development Chris Munyao Young Leader Programme Peter Mwanja Africa Convention Bureaus Rick Taylor North Africa Development George Fawzi Board member at large Rick Taylor East Africa (Rwanda) Chris Munyao

Chairperson Raylene Johnson, CEO: TEBCO-SA

Spokesperson Projeni Pather, Chairperson: AAXO Members Kevan Jones, Executive Director SACIA Sharif Baker, Chairperson TPSA Tes Proos, SITE President Justin Hawes, Managing Director: Scan Display & Event Greening Forum Treasurer Sibusiso Mncwabe, Chairperson EXSA Justin van Wyk, Chairperson SALPA Mike Lord, Chairperson ESC Arthur Goldstuck, PSASA Exco Member Esmare Steinhofel, Chairperson: ICCA Africa Chapter Advisory Members: Prof Nellie Swart, Associate Professor: Tourism Management Corne Koch, Head: Convention Bureau (WESGRO) Tiisetso Tau, AAXO member Daryl Keywood, SITE Member Bheki Twala, TEBCO-SA Executive Kim Roberts, SAACI Representative Western Cape Robyn D’Alessandro, PR/Social media, Vivo Visual Voice CC

North Africa George Fawzi

Director Liam Beattie Hott 3D

North Africa support Brad Glen

Director Nic Curle Nucleus

Secretariat & Events Mariaan Burger c: +27 (0)82 557 8041 e:

Co-Opted Director Daksha Vallabh Orange Orbit Co-Opted Director Gavin Burgess Technology Partners Co-Opted Director Kimendrie Pillay Johannesburg Expo Centre Co-Opted Director Ross Wilson Urban Tonic

40 Business Events Africa January 2024



46 Waterford Office Park, Waterford Drive, Fourways, Johannesburg t: +27 (0)87 265 5840 e: Association coordinator: Anthea Buys e: Chairperson: Devi Paulsen-Abbott, Dmg Events e: Vice-chairperson: Tiisetso Tau, Synergy Business Events e: Venue Committee Chairperson: Charles Wilson, Gallagher Convention Centre e: Treasurer: Mark Anderson, Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery e: Board of directors: Chanelle Hingston, Clarion Events Africa e: Sandra Barrow e: Projeni Pather, Exposure Marketing e:


ICCA African Chapter Chairperson: Taubie Motlhabane Cape Town International Convention Centre t: +27 (0)21 410 5000 e: Deputy Chairperson: Frank Murangwa Rwanda Convention Bureau t: +250 788 358 454 e: Secretariat: Esmaré Steinhöfel ICCA Africa Regional director c: +27 (0)84 056 5544 e:


179 Jan Smuts Ave, Parktown North, Private Bag X7000, Parklands 2121 t: +27 (0)11 447 4777 e: w: Chairperson Morwesi Ramonyai, Borena Energy Vice-chairperson John Avanitakis, Chat’r Xperience Treasurer Justin Hawes, Scan Display

SACIA — Southern African Communications Industries Association c: +27 (0)82 555 5556 e: Executive director: Kevan Jones SATI — South African Translators’ Institute Executive director: Marion Boers t: +27 (0)11 803 2681 e: SATSA — Southern Africa Tourism Services Association Box 900, Ferndale 2160 t: +27 (0)11 886 9996 e: SKAL International South Africa Secretary: Anne Lamb t: +27 (0)21 434 7023 c: +27 (0)82 708 1836 e: STA — Sandton Tourism Association t: +27 (0)83 558 5445 e:

Secretariat Lynn McLeod e: OTHER ORGANISATIONS OF INTEREST ABTA — African Business Travel Association Box 2594, Pinegowrie, 2123 t: +27 (0)11 888 8178 c: +27 (0)83 679 2110 e: Founder: Monique Swart ASATA – Association of Southern African Travel Agents PO Box 650539, Benmore, 2010 t: +27 (0)11 293 0560/61 e: e: Office manager: Barbara Viljoen Council of Event Professionals Africa Kevan Jones t: +27 (0)11 083 6418 c: +27 (0)82 555 5556 Chairperson: Glenn van Eck Magnetic Storm c: +27 (0)82 800 2616 e: FEDHASA National Office — Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa PO Box 3853, The Reeds, 0157 c: +27 (0)82 552 9862 e: PSASA – Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa t: +27 (0)11 462 9465 c: +27 (0)83 458 6114 e:

TBCSA — Tourism Business Council of South Africa Chief executive: Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa Box 11655, Centurion 0046 t: +27 (0)12 664 0120 e: Member relations manager: Boitumelo Moleleki TGCSA — Tourism Grading Council of South Africa Private Bag X10012, Sandton 2146 t: +27 (0)11 895 3000 f: +27 (0)11 895 3001 e: TINSA — Interpreters/Translators Network of Southern Africa e: t/f: +27 (0)11 485 2511 c: +27 (0)83 249 0010 TPSA — Technical Production Services Association c: +27 (0)82 555 5556 e: Executive director: Kevan Jones TTA — Tshwane Tourism Association Box 395, Pretoria 0001 t: +27 (0)12 841 4212 e: Chairperson: Bronwen Cadle de Ponte Secretary: Sithembile Nzimande Membership coordinator: Liz Oosthuysen e:

SABOA — Southern African Bus Operators Association Postnet Suite 393, Private Bag X033, Rivonia 2128 t: +27 (0)11 511 7641 e:

Business Events Africa January 2024 41


Dawie Mullins promoted to director of global sales for Africa at Minor Hotels Dawie Mullins has officially assumed the role of director of global sales for Africa at Minor Hotels, effective from 1 January 2024. This promotion marks a pivotal moment in Mr Mullins’ career, underscoring his wealth of experience and expertise in the field.


r Mullins embarked on his journey in hospitality in 2005, following the completion of a three-year diploma at Tshwane University of Technology. This educational foundation laid the groundwork for an illustrious career that has spanned several renowned organisations, including Virgin Limited Edition, Enterprises at the University of Pretoria, Emerald Resort & Casino, Faircity Hotels, and Marriott International. Throughout Mr Mullins’ career, he has navigated diverse roles, gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of the hospitality sector. These experiences have not only honed his skills but have also provided a comprehensive understanding of the

industry’s nuances. Mr Mullins expresses gratitude for the opportunities and challenges that have contributed to his professional growth. The journey has led him to a role that perfectly aligns with his values — director of global sales for Africa at Minor Hotels. This position allows him to contribute to a team that is dedicated to delivering exceptional experiences to guests worldwide. Eager to make a significant impact, Mr Mullins is enthusiastic about leading the global sales efforts for Minor Hotels. His diverse background and extensive experience uniquely position him to drive strategic initiatives and foster growth within the African market, for the organisation.

Index of advertisers and contributors ADVERTISER








Event Greening Forum




Meetings Africa




Premier Hotels & Resorts




SA Events Council


SITE Africa


STRONG PR, Marketing and Events


Tau Game Lodge


42 Business Events Africa January 2024


The strategic value of business insurance in uncertain times In tough economic conditions like the present, businesses may be tempted to forego business insurance or reduce their cover as a cost-cutting exercise. This, however, may be a shortsighted approach, given that the main purpose of insurance is to protect natural or juristic persons against the consequences of the manifestation of undesirable risks.


he way in which businesses across the country were affected by lockdown regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as by the torrential flooding throughout parts of KwaZulu-Natal in 2022, are two prime examples of the need to take a proactive stance on risk mitigation. This is the opinion of Khensane Mangwane, claims specialist at SHA Risk Specialists, who said that businesses cannot afford not to have insurance cover. As Ms Mangwane explained: “Commercial insurance is often seen as a grudge purchase, when really it is an investment into the financial security of a business. The landscape of risk has changed drastically over the past few years. When we consider factors such as policy reform, certain legal developments, mounting economic pressures, environmental issues, and the pitfalls of doing business in the digital age, it’s difficult to deny that what we think of as ‘business as usual’ is in fact, risky business.” Risk and the ripple effect An untimely event such as a natural disaster, or a third-party liability claim for personal injury, or damage to property, could have a devastating impact on a business’ bottomline. If a business is faced with such an event and does not have an adequate level of insurance cover, recovering from these losses out of pocket could hamper growth prospects and may even lead to a complete shutdown. However, as Ms Mangwane explained, beyond the immediate cost implications of unfortunate events, there are also other consequences to consider. For example, if a product defect results in physical injury to a customer, that customer may have valid legal grounds to pursue a lawsuit against the company. In these situations, a company may struggle to shoulder the financial burden of legal fees which can add up quickly.

Beyond this, however, there is also the possibility of reputational damage. Social media and review sites have made it infinitely easier for disgruntled parties to air their sentiments about businesses in open, public forums. News about faulty products, for example, can travel quickly and cause a substantial disruption to a company’s sales volumes and sustained profits. Reputational risk is therefore something that needs to be factored in when businesses are planning ahead. Balance cost control and loss protection These are undeniably tough times for businesses across the country, with the results of the economic downturn spilling over into multiple sectors. Insurance cover can, however, assist businesses in defending their profit margins and revenue against new and emerging risks. By bolstering insurance cover with processes and policies to do as much as possible to prevent costly errors, businesses can combat risk internally as well as externally. Setting an insurance limit, for example, is one way of doing this. An insurance limit is the maximum amount for which a business is indemnified and that can be claimed for in the event of a loss. By working with a broker to set a reasonable limit, businesses can save on the cost of their premium while ensuring that they still have sufficient protection against risk. Once this limit has been set, businesses still need to take reasonable precautions to protect their property, assets, and operations from potential losses. SHA Claims Specialist, Alex Skhakhane therefore said that risk management involves both protection – provided by insurers – as well as responsibilities placed by the insured to prevent unnecessary losses and claims.

Khensane Mangwane.

Change is the only constant It’s also important for businesses to realise that insurance is not a once-off purchase or a static financial safeguard. Rather, it should be regarded as a dynamic financial product that should be updated as a business grows and evolves. With the acquisition of new property, equipment, vehicles, and physical assets, comes higher risk exposures. Likewise, employing more staff members or expanding into a new geographical territory or product or service offering, can come with a new set of liabilities. For this reason, Mr Skhakhane encourages business owners to develop close relationships with their brokers. They are in the best position to offer expert advice on guidance on how to ensure that all bases are covered, but at the same time ensure that insurance policies are tailored in the most cost-effective and comprehensive way possible. As Mr Skhakhane concluded: “Prudent business leaders don’t only think of their immediate challenges, but use foresight to predict and prepare for what may lie ahead. Insurance is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that a temporary setback doesn’t become a major stumbling block.”

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