Meetings March April 2021

Page 1

MARCH/APRIL 2021 • Issue 95

OFFICIAL LAUNCH Women in MICE Awards 2021


Monte de Dios Rising to the challenge


Northern Cape


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ISSN 1684-9264



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CONTENTS The Planner


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04 COVER STORY Rising to the challenge With a bounty of assets and expertise as part of its portfolio, Monte de Dios is setting the bar for delivering on an exceptional offering under the most trying of circumstances.

06 FOCUS Marketing that matters It’s no secret that meetings and events are exceptionally effective engagement tools but what makes for really impactful experiences?


09 ASSOCIATIONS + NETWORKS Scripting the industry narrative Join Meetings magazine as we hear from the associations, councils and bodies who are working to strengthen the MICE industry’s value chain locally, regionally and internationally.

18 DESTINATION Northern Cape


20 ANALYSIS Health Passports




24 VIEWPOINTS Thami Nkadimeng

28 INNOVATION: Virtual trade fair

30 HOW TO… Identify the right virtual event hosting platform

22 in MICE


31 RESEARCH + DATA: African Perspectives

REGULARS 02 Ed’s Comment 03 Tidbits 27 20 Questions 36 Miss Meet TALKING POINTS 32 SAEC 33 AIPC 34 AAXO + EGF 35 SAACI + Travelbags


Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a number of individuals and industry bodies who have been united in their objectives, slowly but surely, we are seeing activity pick up within the MICE sector.



hese are still early days for the recovery of the business events industry but I am inspired by the strides that are being made by some of our key role players and, in particular, our associations on a daily basis. To read more on this, turn to page 9 for our industry special emphasising the importance of having a cohesive industry network that supports the entire value chain. Meanwhile, health passports are presenting an interesting tech-based solution that is creating a buzz within the industry, as they could be a means to safe event access. We explore the ins and outs of this in more detail on page 20 to understand whether these could be viable in the near future. Don’t miss our spread on marketing strategies on page 6, where we speak to local experts Jon Savage and Manuela Dias de Deus, on what makes for effective buy-in and see why authenticity counts for everything.

WOMEN IN MICE March saw the launch of our 2021 Women in MICE Awards, during which we announced the categories, judges and

theme for the year. With an incredible line-up of speakers and attendance by some of our industry’s leading ladies, you can read more on what’s in store for the upcoming instalment of this prestigious event on page 23. Lastly, we feature a remarkable showcase on how virtual exhibitions are taking place successfully. We speak to the team at the Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce whose nifty Virtual Trade Fair offering has exhibitors and attendees flocking to their platform – turn to page 28 to learn more about the exciting experiences that are now possible. My hope for our readers is that you are able to draw the same sort of inspiration from this issue of the magazine that I felt. It has been a pleasure engaging with some of our industry’s finest and I would also like to encourage each of you to be in touch and let’s keep the conversation going on how we can continue to build a flourishing industry that creates value across all sectors of the economy. We have survived more than a year in lockdown and we are still standing tall in the face of adversity. This, for me, counts for a great deal and reassures me that we will make it through this period, together.


Managing Editor Shanna Jacobsen ( Digital Editor Pippa Naudé Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Contributors Sven Bossu, Glenton De Kock,

Manuela Dias de Deus, Chanelle Hingston, Michelle Hinrichsen, Londi Khumalo, Lynn McLeod, Greg McManus, Thami Nkadimeng, Ellen Oosthuizen Production & Client Liaison Manager

Antois-Leigh Nepgen

Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Advertising

Vanessa De Waal +27 (0)84 805 6752 | PUBLISHED BY

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach

3S Media 46 Milkyway Avenue, Frankenwald, 2090 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 Meetings MARCH/APRIL 2021 © Copyright All rights reserved 2021 SUBSCRIPTION R330.00 per annum (incl. VAT) | ISSN 1684-9264 Printers Novus Print Montague Gardens NOTICE OF RIGHTS Meetings is published bi-monthly by 3S Media. This publication, its form and contents vest in 3S Media. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including cover and interior designs, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. The authors' views may not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or associated professional bodies. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation and compilation of this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, completeness or accuracy of its contents, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. While every effort has been taken to ensure that no copyright or copyright issues is/are infringed, 3S Media, its directors, publisher, officers and employees cannot be held responsible and consequently disclaim any liability for any loss, liability damage, direct or consequential of whatsoever nature and howsoever arising.



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Meetings’ must-know minutia

Report underscores potential of Mauritius as a MICE destination A recently released report on the Growth Opportunities in the Mauritius International and MICE Tourism Market 2019-2025 highlights Mauritius as having “strong growth potential for the next decade”. Mauritius is expected to receive more than 1.7 million tourists by 2022, with South Africa and India being the country’s top two visitor source markets. The report includes historical data from 2014 to 2018, and provides a forecast until 2026, with insights into aspects such as traveller flows, spending patterns, and opportunities for tapping into the island nation’s international MICE market.

Tech set to boost accommodation market in Nigeria African hotelier Transcorp Hotels has announced the launch of Aura. Similar to Airbnb and the Nigerian app Muster, the platform provides an alternative means to how accommodation is sourced in Nigeria; through algorithms that are able to identify preferences and requirements, it connects travellers to short-term rental opportunities, food and cultural experiences.

Fly Safair implements fines for non-compliance of mask-wearing

Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway ahead of schedule In what is expected to be a major economy boosting project for sectors such as tourism and transport, Kenya’s US$550 million (R8.1 billion) double-decker Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway is expected to be complete by the end of the year – a year earlier than initially forecast. The 27 km highway will also connect Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the east of the city to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in the west, and is currently being financed and developed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation as a public-private partnership with the Kenya National Highways Authority.

Fly Safair has said that it will fine anyone not wearing a mask up to R100 000. Those who refuse to adopt the measure could also face a lifetime ban from the airline. In line with South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority and the country’s mandate of mask-wearing, any airline not enforcing the wearing of masks risks losing its operating licence in addition to facing hefty fines.

Stats SA releases data on how restaurants were impacted in 2020 Data from Stats SA has shown that hospitality venues such as hotels, guest houses and restaurants experienced significant losses last year, taking a R15.5 billion hit compared to 2019. During its busiest period in December, venues saw only 25% occupancy. Meanwhile, figures indicate that restaurants and coffee shops earned R3 billion less in the last quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in the previous year.




RISING TO THE CHALLENGE With a bounty of assets and expertise as part of its portfolio, Monte de Dios is setting the bar for delivering on an exceptional offering under the most trying of circumstances.


s a major player within the live events industry, Monte de Dios – like many – has come through a difficult year that presented the company with unprecedented challenges. “I have been involved in the technical production of events for over 28 years, running my own businesses, and the AV business has been brought to its knees,” says Leon Pheiffer, owner of Monte de Dios.

Aside from businessowners who have been able to build studio setups and successfully execute virtual conferencing and the streaming of events, there has been little to no business for most of the industry – especially for live event productions, explains Leon. “From the viewpoint of being a venue owner, we were obviously closed for the first hard lockdown and had to retrench many people, go on ‘short time’, and cut all expenses down to the bone,” he adds.

MORE AT MONTE DE DIOS Monte de Dios is a sprawling wedding and conference venue in the east of Pretoria (Tshwane). With a vast array of venue options for any and all events, with only your creativity being the limit, this beautiful, 12 hectare piece of property is set against the Bronberg mountains with scenic hill-side views, which create an immediate feeling of tranquillity. Monte de Dios has a small boutique hotel with guestrooms being awarded a five-star grading, and its conference facilities graded at four stars. The property offering a range of venues in a variety of settings that cater for anything from weddings, conferences, team buildings, gala dinners and banquets, to product launches, birthday parties, christenings, anniversaries, concerts and any other special occasion deserving of a celebration.



Excitement that the live events industry might be opening up – with increased activity between October and December 2020 after Covid-19 lockdown regulations were eased – was short-lived. “Everything was either cancelled or postponed until further notice. It now appears that very few are willing to confirm events until the second half of the year. This is of course understandable from a risk-mitigation perspective, but we also manage this risk in accordance with all regulations and often go a few steps further. It is crucial that we reopen these activities and venues; even though our numbers may be small to start with, we are continuing to operate and will do everything to ensure that our industry prevails through these stormy times,” highlights Leon.

AGMs with security encryptions. This is in addition to virtual product launches, awards evenings and a TV shoot for a music programme on the kykNET VIA channel, which was recently extended for an additional three seasons. “We were also able to set up on-site virtual studios for our clients, as in the case of Afrikaanse Seuns and Meisies Hoërskool in July 2020. Here, we built an on-site virtual studio for our clients to have their concert live-streamed directly from the school grounds to thousands of people across the world. In doing so, we provided our clients with the ability to continue their fundraising efforts as a school that would have been cut off completely without the option of a virtual concert,” enthuses Leon.

A STEP FURTHER AGAINST THE ODDS Collaboration has been key for Leon, and it has contributed to ensuring his business’s survival. Through the production arm of the EPH Group, a sister company of Monte de Dios, the venue has access to an array of technical equipment and set up virtual studios at some of Monte de Dios’ larger venues. Together with a high-end production and streaming studio, running in partnership with Dondoo Studios in Randburg, Gauteng, this has allowed EPH to execute on virtual and hybrid streaming events for clients, including corporate

Monte de Dios


In October 2020, Leon and his team took a decision to create the Dome at Monte de Dios. The semi-open-air structure is completely open at its front, with plenty of space for people to move around freely. “Inside the Dome, we set up a stage with full concert sound, lighting and an LED screen that can be used for various events. It became a huge success due to the fact that it was fully compliant with Covid regulations. And with it being outdoors, it decreases the risk of crowding and the subsequent potential spreading of the virus,” details Leon.

Between October and December, Monte de Dios played host to the Groot FM Outdoor Picnic Concert, a celebrity birthday bash, the Mzansi Ballet’s The Queen Show, and a few open-air Sunday picnic concerts. Up until last year October, Leon was the chairman of SAACI’s Tshwane branch and was extensively involved in Events Safety Council discussions. The Council created the Re-opening Guidelines, which was presented to government. “We even hosted a regional event at the CSIR to prove that events can be run in a safe manner with limited risks, if these guidelines are followed. The critical point is that we need distance between delegates at an event, including the other basic safety protocols like sanitising and mask-wearing. While this is obviously guided by the relevant regulations at each given point in time, we believe that the Dome offers an opportunity to clients who want to host an event in a safe and environmentally friendly open space with a generous floor area,” notes Leon.

ZERO INTERVENTION WILL LEAD TO DISASTER The reality faced by the live events industry is that companies are closing, and people are selling their equipment far below market value just to put food on the table. Freelancers and engineers are changing career paths and looking for work in other industries; some have moved to the UAE, Dubai and New Zealand, to name just a few. This means that event managers and event management companies may never come back, and this will result in a shortage of skills and talent – a concern shared by many. However, through its own network and resources, the EPH Group and Monte de Dios are working to ensure that as much of the live events industry can survive and are currently launching a new line-up of small concerts. Called ‘Help Our Entertainment Survive’, the initiative is intended to allow artists to perform in the Dome at no charge to generate some income and help them survive financially during this time. Despite the many challenges, Leon is still positive and maintains his faith. “My wife reminds me of one thing over and over: Just believe! God will provide and bring you through the storm. You are not alone,” he concludes.

+27 (0)87 654 4457 | +27 (0)87 654 4458


MARKETING THAT MATTERS It’s no secret that meetings and events are exceptionally effective engagement tools but what makes for really impactful experiences? Meetings speaks to the experts to learn more.


s planners and marketers, the window to draw in audiences is miniscule, particularly in a world where resources like time and money are being spent with increasing discernment. In order to deliver campaigns that are fresh, relevant and to the point, these need to be visually appealing, as well as have substance with meaning and a rationale that is immediately apparent. This is all, however, much easier said than done and, unfortunately, a blanket strategy is risky if you are communicating to a diverse audience. And you might have to learn the hard way


that you will fail in achieving outcomes that meet specific objectives, as a one-size-fit-all approach does not allow for organic growth and development, or original thinking.

COMPELLING CONTENT Content is Jon Savage’s passion and it has also translated into a career, where he is behind many content creation strategies for a number of brands. “Not to sound old but for many years, there was no such thing as a career in content but now, that’s what I do for a living,” says Jon.

In addition, Jon hosts his own successful podcast, titled What’s Your Poison?, where he tries to encourage guests to feel more like they are having a conversation with a friend rather than being interviewed. “I started What’s Your Poison? as a bit of fun in the middle of lockdown in lieu of being able to go out or see anyone,” Jon explains “I love my whiskies, so the basic idea was to just spend some time with different personalities and just talk. What happens naturally is that the whiskey, plus my silliness, takes the interviews to all sorts of weird

#MARKETINGSTRATEGIES places – often creating some of the most memorable stories from your favourite artists you’ll ever hear,” he adds. Previous guests on What’s Your Poison? include Yvonne Chaka Chaka; Kwesta, who spoke candidly on what changes when you get married; Trevor Gumbi, on some experiences he’d rather forget; Kurt Darren; and Tresor, who talked about his escape from the DRC. The success of Jon’s podcast could be viewed as an anomaly – with no real strategy behind it, it is, in his words, “weirdly, the one thing that really seems to work”. Highlighting how important authenticity is, Jon puts the success of his show down to “brutal honesty”.

REAL PEOPLE, REAL EXPERIENCES A key learning coming from the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that kept us apart for many months is that people crave authentic connections. There are a number of ways this can be done but most importantly, “Authenticity isn’t something you say. It’s something you are…” Authenticity, according to OneWest Events, is a unique buzzword. “Authenticity relates closely to ideas of trust, and to trust is by nature a pretty intimate and personal thing, even in business settings. Trust is hard-earned, and generally

pretty easily lost. When you’re asking someone to trust you, whether it’s your dog or your partner or your colleague, it’s best to take that seriously. That’s why when it comes to this buzzword, we’re making the radical suggestion that you might want to consider never saying it,” the company says in its blog. Psychology Today describes the traits of authentic people as those who: 1. Have realistic perceptions of reality 2. Are accepting of themselves and of other people 3. Are thoughtful 4. Have a non-hostile sense of humour 5. Are able to express their emotions freely and clearly 6. Are open to learning from their mistakes 7. Understand their motivations. In the context of meetings and events, where people interface with people, it is critical to ensure that you are able to connect emotionally with audiences by ensuring that each experience encompasses as many of these authentic qualities as possible. This is especially true if you are planning events online, which automatically lose a degree of authenticity because there are several sensory elements missing, so it is up to us to ensure that we deliver ‘real’ experiences to establish more genuine connections with our audiences.

Brands crave and need the curated real, because the real delivers. Every time. What is the real? It’s an equation when it comes to brands and it currently looks like this: Service - Product - Message - Aesthetics Consistency - Reputation.” Jasmine Takanikos, founder of BrandHuman, from an excerpt from Forbes Woman

WHY EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING MATTERS By Manuela Dias de Deus, founder and codirector of One-eyed Jack We are guided by our senses, what we feel, touch, hear, smell and taste, which ultimately determines not only what we remember but also how much we remember. It is for this reason that experiential marketing is a vital component of the marketing mix, as it gives brands an opportunity to engage face to face, creating brand advocates from an enjoyable live brand experience. So how do you make your experiential marketing campaign stand out? Maximise engagement via a clever call to action: Think about the last product you sampled in a store; do you remember the brand? It’s difficult to recall a name when something’s simply popped into your hand, but if you physically engage via a brand communicator activating an actual campaign that’s centred on a big idea with a smart call to action, you’ll have a longer, more meaningful experience. Pioneer doing something first: If you’re hit with a marketing idea that you’ve never seen before, you snap a pic and post it right? If your customers are surprised and love what they see, they’ll share your content to social media and do the digital amplification component for you. Amplify it, but do it well: Allocate enough budget to produce a slick, short after movie to amplify the campaign. The better the production, the more views you’ll get and the more you’ll stand out and be recognised. One-eyed Jack is an award-winning marketing agency, working across lifestyle and entertainment brands. Its three key focus areas are: • PR, communications and influencer campaigns • Brand marketing, event marketing, event creation, launches (live and/or digital) and activations • Sponsorship rights management



ASSOCIATIONS + NETWORKS Join Meetings magazine as we hear from the associations, councils and bodies that are working to strengthen the MICE industry’s value chain locally, regionally and internationally.

13 Association Internationale des Palais de Congrès / International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) Professional convention and exhibition centre managers

12 A ssociation of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) Exhibition organisers

15 E xhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) Exhibition suppliers, venues, contractors, design agencies, service providers and support

17 T echnical Production & Services Association (TPSA) Technical events services

14 E vent Greening Forum (EGF) PCOs, DMCs, exhibition and event organisers, service providers, suppliers and venues

14 E vent Safety Council (ESC) All segments

13 Council of Events Professionals Africa (CEPA) Event professionals

15 I nternational Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA) Meetings management, meetings support, destination marketers, venues, transport

16 P rofessional Conference Organisers’ Alliance Network (PCOAN) Professional conference organisers

16 P rofessional Speakers Association of Southern Africa (PSASA) Speakers, humourists, trainers, authors, subject matter experts, facilitators

17 S ociety for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Incentive houses, travel, airlines, cruise lines, DMCs, ground transportation, hotels and resorts, tourist organisations, trade magazines, travel agencies, support services

10 SA Events Council All segments

10 South African Live Performance Association (SALPA) Production houses and concert promoters

17 Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) PCOs, DMCs, event organisers, conference venues, hotels, transport, suppliers such as decor, styling, AV

12 Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) Pro audio and AV, broadcast, technical events services, content creators


Scripting THE


The Covid-19 pandemic may have depleted revenue streams; however, it has also brought about greater collaboration within the events industry in the form of the SA Events Council. We hear from chairperson Ellen Oosthuizen a year after its establishment.


he SA Events Council (SAEC) is an industrywide coalition that brings together 14 events-industry-related associations with a unified voice in all interactions with the various government departments and bodies for whom the hosting of events is an area of focus. It comprises the broader events industry – from conferencing, exhibition and event suppliers, to performers, venues, organisers and promoters – representing over 4 200 members and more than 55 000 professionals in the events industry. SAEC showcases the undeniable value that business meetings, trade shows, incentive travel, exhibitions, concerts, theatre and family entertainment shows, festivals, conferences, and conventions bring to people, businesses and communities. By rallying industry advocates, working with stakeholders, conducting original research, engaging with outside voices and


Ellen Oosthuizen, chairperson, SA Events Council

more, the Council brings the industry together to emphasise its importance. The Council has been engaging with all stakeholders to reopen the events industry safely.

voice their needs; as a result, the achievements are equally beneficial to all.



There is no official membership of SAEC and no fees structure. Each association has representation on the board and all work is undertaken on a voluntary basis. All members of the associations that make up the Council automatically fall under the SAEC umbrella. SAEC therefore encompasses a very broad spectrum of role players within the events community and is effectively a vehicle to align individual efforts. SAEC ensures that the industry speaks with one voice and that the call is amplified across all levels of the industry. SAEC’s business is undertaken in a consultative process, giving each association equal opportunity to

Right from the beginning of the lockdown, SAEC adopted a proactive approach to finding ways to reopen the events industry. The very nature of events dictates the importance of providing and enforcing prevention and control measures against exposure to the virus and SAEC recognised the need for stringent control as a priority. SACIA’s Event Safety Council (ESC) undertook the task of preparing the Re-opening Guidelines for the South African events industry sector, in collaboration with SAEC. The ESC drew on its affiliation with the US-based Event Safety Alliance

#SAEC and consulted with other similar international players in putting the Re-Opening Guidelines together, to ensure that international best practice was embedded throughout the standards. These protocols assist the industry in resuming activities as safely as possible in accordance with the overall national strategies and policies. The Re-opening Guidelines were officially released to the local events industry on 17 June 2020. These define a five-tier event categorisation, ranging from very low to very high risk, with a specific set of safety guidelines per category. There is also provision made for specialist compliance staff appointments to manage the safety and prevention of exposure to Covid-19 at events. Safety processes are outlined across all the areas of communication, sanitisation, cleaning and hygiene, venue requirements, attendee management, event management, staff health management, and transportation. The ESC engaged with key government event stakeholders in the City of Tshwane, the City of Johannesburg, and the City of Cape Town, as well as other municipalities, in forging a way forward. Shortly thereafter, a five-city ‘proof of concept’ event was held to demonstrate the readiness of the sector to resume business under these strict protocols.

#LIGHTSARED By 5 August 2020, as the country entered its sixth month under lockdown, the beleaguered events industry was on its knees. Most businesses and individuals did not qualify for social relief schemes, numerous event companies had closed, staff had been furloughed or retrenched, and many freelancers were literally starving. DWR Distribution and SACIA launched the Light SA Red campaign to highlight the plight of the industry by lighting up landmark buildings, event spaces and warehouses across the country in red as an emergency signal. SAEC and SACIA were positioned as the legitimate voices of the industry for Light SA Red, with SAEC Council member Sharif Baker as spokesperson. The industry came together in an unprecedented groundswell of mutual support – from performers to service providers, venues, designers and

organisers – to fight for the survival of the events industry in South Africa. Everyone involved contributed their time, talent, skills and hardware resources on a voluntary basis in support of the campaign. As a result of the campaign, government started engaging with elected leaders from SACIA, TPSA and SAEC to provide a platform to discuss ways of reopening the sector safely and quickly. This dialogue is ongoing, despite the setbacks of the second wave.

PROOF OF CONCEPT EVENTS Building on the success of the Re-opening Guidelines and the initial proof of concept event on 22 July 2020 (organised by SAACI), SAEC conducted a second five-venue hybrid event across Johannesburg and Cape Town on 1 September 2020. Reignite your Business, organised by the PCO Alliance Network, targeted the corporate market, demonstrating the capability of the events industry to open safely. On 25 and 26 November 2020, SAEC partnered with the Restart Expo, organised by Specialised Exhibitions in conjunction with AAXO, to showcase how exhibitions and events can be hosted under the threat of the virus, with all the required Covid-19 health and safety protocols in place. Recharge 2020, organised by Big Concerts in December 2020, revealed the latest developments in rapid and secure Covid-19 testing and Health Passport Europe mobile technology, combined with the rigorous event safety protocols already in play.

LOBBYING SAEC is determined to get policymakers and government to work with the events industry to make these solutions workable on a much larger scale. At every step, SAEC has been engaging with the departments of Employment and Labour, Health, Tourism, Sport, Arts and Culture, and the Office of the Presidency to promote collaboration across the private and public sector. Lobbying initiatives have included the extension of relief funding, the relaxation of capped audience capacities, the formal recognition of the Re-opening Guidelines and for recognition of the professional events industry as distinct from mass gatherings. SAEC

has also drawn attention to and lodged complaints about non-compliant events such the Siyanqoba Rally, Matric Rage, and Skate and Create with SAPS and the relevant ministers, as they happened.

REBUILDING CONFIDENCE SAEC believes that the events industry has suffered not only financially, but also through the negative messaging we are constantly bombarded with, labelling events as ‘super-spreaders’. The stigma around events being dangerous gatherings has eroded trust, not only among clients and the public, but within the events industry itself. SAEC has embarked on a nationwide #TrustUs campaign to restore confidence in the ability of our industry to deliver events professionally and safely, to build businesses, to assist with job creation, and to contribute to economic recovery. In addition, we are calling for government to lean on the considerable expertise of our industry for the vaccination roll-out. Planning is our thing! We are used to managing crowds of thousands; we have access to venues of all sizes, which are currently standing empty and have hundreds of unemployed staff, medics and safety personnel at our disposal. It makes sense to involve our industry in the drive.

ADDRESSING INDUSTRY NEEDS SAEC has started rolling out industry safety compliance training for venues and event organisers countrywide with an industry information session held at Spier Wine Farm on 19 March to make sure that all elements of the supply chain are completely prepared for the industry. The Council will also spearhead a series of webinars, kicking off in March, to discuss the various areas of concern being raised within the industry as we navigate our second year under lockdown.


• Professional Conference Organisers’ Alliance Network (PCOAN)

• Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO)

• Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)

• Council of Events Professionals Africa (CEPA)

• South African Live Performance Association (SALPA)

• Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa (EXSA)

• Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI)

• Event Greening Forum (EGF)

• Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA)

• Event Safety Council (ESC)

• Technical Production & Services Association (TPSA)

• International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA)

• Township Events Business Council (TEBCO)

• Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa (PSASA)





INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION noun [ C ] an organisation that supports companies and employers of a particular type of industry and protects their rights

STRUCTURED SOLUTIONS In this special, Meetings hears from just some of the MICE industry’s associations that are working to fortify and grow the value chain through collaborative efforts and innovation.



• Leveraging off the expertise and successes already achieved by AAXO in growing the exhibitions industry

AAXO supports activity across various trade, consumer and conference-driven exhibitions, where it aims to position exhibitions as an essential platform in the marketing mix and inspire growth and transformation by delivering cuttingedge solutions to industry challenges. It does so by providing up-to-date training on innovations and technology while upholding world-class standards. Chairperson: Projeni Pather Membership: AAXO is a body active in South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and is driven by exhibition organisers for exhibition organisers Fees: Organiser: starts from R9 995; Associate: from R3 000; AAXO Young Professional: R2 500 per annum Member benefits: • Recognised as an AAXO Approved Supplier, Service Company, or Venue, thus giving heightened confidence to exhibitors


• Receive a discount on training costs, networking, and matchmaking opportunities, access to and inclusion in invaluable market research, and be part of the prestigious ROAR Awards Achievements and objectives: While ensuring the alignment of industry standards through a number of certification, education and training programmes and initiatives, AAXO will continue to lobby government together with the SA Events Council to reopen exhibitions and events. Additionally, AAXO’s Supplier Support programme is committed to ensuring the longevity of the industry ecosystem. The association also provides access to a treasure trove of exhibition organisers and suppliers via the AAXO Africa Connect programme and its SMME Exhibition Training programme encourages the growth of small businesses. To further ensure the standardisation of attendee numbers across exhibitions, all AAXO members are audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Website:

SACIA is a SAQA-recognised professional body with a specific objective to recognise competence through the awarding of professional designations in Southern Africa. It is active across the broad events, entertainment and communications industry, with nine special interest groups that address specific sectors. Chairman: Sharif Baker Executive director: Kevan Jones Membership: Companies and individuals active across the events, entertainment and communications industry Fees: Corporate: R7 500; Individual: between R1 800 and R2 300 per annum, depending on designation level Member benefits: • Abide by a code of professional conduct that holds them to a higher standard of business and ethics • Access to platforms for cooperation and collaboration for corporate members • Alignment to an association that ensures the fair representation of industry in the development of legislation and regulatory frameworks • Individual (designated) members hold a formal designation that recognises their skill and competence Achievements and objectives: SACIA’s mandate is to promote the adoption of professional standards and ethical business practices, not only among its own membership but across the broad events and entertainment sector. It awards 15 different designations across the broadcast, events, entertainment and communications sector. Since its inception, SACIA has been actively involved in the development of standards, training and skills development programmes. They are a major training provider in the broadcast and audiovisual community. The association serves as an ‘umbrella’ for the special interest groups that operate within this structure and its primary role is to develop and award professional designations for members. SACIA is a founding member of the SA Events Council. Website:

#ASSOCIATIONS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DES PALAIS DE CONGRÈS / INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENTION CENTRES (AIPC), EST. 1958 • Access all AIPC resources, covering research, including a yearly benchmarking analysis, quality standards and economic impact AIPC is committed to encouraging and recognising excellence in convention centre management, while at the same time providing the tools to achieve such high standards through its research, educational and networking programmes. Membership: A global association comprised of professional convention and exhibition centre managers from 60 countries who are focused on attracting international organised events. Fees: €1 950 annually President: Aloysius Arlando, CEO of SingExpo (Note: Board elections are coming up in June 2021, during which a new president will be elected) CEO: Sven Bossu

Our credo is that it is not what we can do for the member, but rather, what the member can do for the industry – after all, is this not what we are fighting for?” Gill Gibbs, chair, EXSA

Member benefits: • Become part of a global network of senior convention centre managers, allowing the exchange of knowledge • Have access to all the educational activities of AIPC, which include the AIPC Academy (a one-week ‘boot camp’ covering all aspects of convention centre management); the Sales & Marketing Summit; the Masterclasses; and, of course, the Annual Conference

• Receive industry information and insights via different channels, including the quarterly newsletter communiqué Achievements and objectives: Beyond the creation of a global network of convention centre managers is the creation of quality standards for achieving excellence in convention centre management. A growing number of members are applying those standards, which are also subject to an external audit. The Future Shapers programme will bring together a high-potential group, providing both an educational programme and allowing those ‘high potentials’ to shape the future of convention centre management by addressing a key challenge via a group assignment. Over the last 18 months, AIPC has intensified collaboration with two other global associations – UFI and ICCA – in order to streamline stakeholder management and provide members with guidance in addressing the challenges as a result of the pandemic. This has resulted in the publication of four guides, including a guide on the best practices for the reopening of business events. Website:

COUNCIL OF EVENT PROFESSIONALS AFRICA (CEPA), EST. 2015 Executive director: Kevan Jones Membership: Practitioners within the events industry aligning to all professional activities and practices, and adhering to the applicable legislation regulating the industry

CEPA was originally established in 2015 as a three-way partnership between SAACI, EXSA and IFEA. Its original purpose was to establish a dedicated professional body for events management. Over several years, the association struggled to gain SAQA recognition; in 2019, CEPA was reconstituted as a special interest group within SACIA. The association honours its original founding partners by maintaining a close working relationship with them. Chairman: Glenn van Eck

Fees: Between R1 300 and R2 300 per annum, depending on designation level Member benefits: • Hold a formal designation that recognises their skill and competence • Abide by a code of professional conduct that holds them to a higher standard of business and ethics Achievements and objectives: As a special interest group within SACIA, CEPA’s primary role is to develop standards and assessment criteria that can be used to assess individuals applying

for a professional designation in event management. The association is primarily active in Southern Africa. Under SACIA’s leadership, the planned designations were finally recognised in 2019, and are now available to industry professionals able to demonstrate their knowledge and competence in event management. CEPA’s most significant achievement since its incorporation as a special interest group within SACIA has been the registration of three designations that recognise the skill, knowledge and competence of individuals working in events management. These provide a career development path for individuals, starting with an event coordinator and progressing to an event director that provides strategic leadership on a large-scale event. Website:



INDUSTRY SPECIAL EVENT GREENING FORUM (EGF), EST. 2011 The EGF is most active in South Africa and was established to raise awareness and promote training opportunities for event greening principles and practices. It is industry driven with objectives that include setting minimum standards around event greening within the events industry, integrating current initiatives and role players, and drawing existing frameworks into one system as far as possible. Chairman: Greg McManus Founders: Justin Hawes (treasurer), Grace Stead Members: Associate (founding) members include EXSA, FEDHASA, SATSA, IFEA Africa, SA Roadies, SA MICE Academy, TPSA powered by SACIA, and SAACI, with AAXO and SA Tourism joining later. It also counts venues, PCOs, suppliers, the public sector, educational institutions, non-profit organisations, students and individuals among its members. Fees: R1 250 per annum Member benefits: • Be part of the EGF’s Green Database ( while also being able to access suppliers and venues that align to green principles • Receive guidelines to align to best practice in event greening • Contribute to the development of principles and standards that promote event greening Achievements and objectives: The EGF initially operated on a voluntary system, but over time it has sought to encourage regulation around event greening by engaging with government to promote event greening processes, standards and regulations. It hopes to raise funds to ensure the long-term sustainability of the forum, and ‘walk the talk’ through its actions based on the triple-bottom-line principle of people, planet and prosperity.

EVENT SAFETY COUNCIL (ESC), EST. 2016 The ESC was originally established in 2016 when SACIA signed a collaboration agreement with the Event Safety Alliance in the USA. As a special interest group within SACIA that is active within Southern Africa, the ESC’s primary role is to develop standards and assessment criteria that can be used to assess individuals applying for a professional designation in event safety. Chairman: Mike Lord Executive Director: Kevan Jones Fees: Corporate: R7 500; Individual: between R1 800 and R2 300 per annum, depending on designation level Member benefits: • Abide by a code of professional conduct that holds members to a higher standard of business and ethics • Assessed based on a review that looks at their education, work experience and work ethic • Required to pass an online multiplechoice examination and present a detailed portfolio of evidence that supports their claim of competence Achievements and objectives: The objective behind establishing the ESC was to share a ‘safety-first’ philosophy in the events industry, and to develop a formal recognition programme that would establish clear standards and practices

for individuals working in the event safety sector. These designations were submitted to SAQA for recognition during 2018 and subsequently listed on the National Qualifications Framework during November 2019. They are now available to industry professionals able to demonstrate their knowledge and competence in event safety. The Event Safety Council has also taken over much of the work previously contributed by the TPSA in updating the SANS 10366 safety standard and reviewing other legislation relevant to event safety. A significant achievement in the last 12 months has been the Council’s authorship of the South Africa Re-opening Guidelines for events, adopted by the SA Events Council, as well as its authorship of the Re-opening Guidelines for spectators at sporting events. Website:

IN THE PIPELINE The South African Live Performance Association (SALPA) is currently still being formalised. Its current representative at the SA Events Council is Justin van Wyk, CEO of Big Concerts. Its members will comprise major venues, promoters and festivals in South Africa and its aim is to be the voice for the live entertainment industry, and work with government to help reopen the live events industry in a safe and sustainable manner.

The EGF launched its now annual conference in 2013, and it was the first time a green event agenda was tabled in South Africa. Winning an award for the conference really put the EGF on the map. Website:



Headquartered in Gauteng, but also active in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, EXSA works to actively and resiliently preserve, enhance, grow and develop the exhibitions and events industry within Southern Africa and cross-border. EXSA is a non-profit company and full-service industry trade association body with a specific focus on industry association relevance, connection and engagement for all of its members and associates. At the root of its foundation lies its Code of Conduct.


Chair: Gill Gibbs

● Contact your peers

Members: Suppliers, exhibition and event service providers, venues, agencies, design houses

● Association meetings expertise ● Invitations to industry events ● Advice on RFPs

Fees: Patron: R25 000; Primary: R8 000; Start-up: R5 692; Affiliate: R5 000; Student: R517 Member benefits: • EXSA has access to all the latest developments in the industry via its resources, including information sharing via its inclusion in the National Events Strategy via SA Tourism • As a collective industry spokesperson, EXSA speaks and fights for and on behalf of its members to government, agencies, regulators, the media and other opinion formers and policymakers • Access to international alliance relationships through reciprocity agreements Achievements and objectives: Due to the lockdown measures under the Disaster Management Act (No. 57 of 2002), the industry sector remains unable to open and trade to achieve the required ROI, with the current onerous and prohibitive restrictions. EXSA’s membership is spearheading change to assist the recovery of the industry. A key focus remains on developing credentialed training programmes with relevant certifications specific to industry skill sets. A major achievement for EXSA is that services supplied by its members for and on behalf of international clients may be zero-rated for VAT insofar as the requirements as stipulated in the SARS VAT ruling are met. This provides a major competitive edge for EXSA’s membership base and is exclusive to EXSA.

As the global community and knowledge hub for the industry, ICCA offers unrivalled data, education, communication channels, business development and networking opportunities. Since inception, ICCA has represented the world’s top destinations and experienced suppliers specialising in handling, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events. President: James Rees (ExCel London) CEO: Senthil Gopinath Regional director: Africa: Esmaré Steinhöfel Members: More than 1 100 member companies and organisations in nearly 100 countries and territories, encompassing all major stakeholders in the world of association meetings Fees: Once-off registration fee of €1 996; annual membership fee of €3 130 Member benefits: Benefits for suppliers: ● Win association meetings business ● Global networking ● Association meetings expertise ● Tailored education ● Promote your organisation Benefits for associations: ● Tailored bids from quality suppliers

Achievements and objectives: ICCA’s vision is to shape the future and value of international association meetings. The association aims to create competitive advantages, business opportunities, and successful outcomes for association meetings. A means to this is the groundbreaking business events industry initiative ICCASkills – the ICCA certification programme. The programme commences in September 2021, starting with the Certified International Convention Specialist (CICS), designed for member employees aiming for their first management position; and Certified International Convention Executive (CICE), created for managers with at least three years’ experience. Additionally, the ICCA Association Community provides the tools and resources to assist associations in organising world-class meetings. ICCA is proud of the new initiatives it has launched since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to help members overcome the current challenges. One such collaborative endeavour is its Good Practice Guide series that it has developed with AIPC and UFI. By sharing information and best practices between its global industry association partners, ICCA aims to contribute to a more integrated approach, so that the international meetings industry can play its crucial role in economic and social recovery. Website:





The PCO Alliance is a non-profit body of conference and event professionals operating primarily in Gauteng and, secondarily, in Cape Town. It was founded to establish a standard of professionalism within the conferencing industry, and membership is by invitation only. By applying best practice and the highest principals, the PCO Alliance has upheld the professionalism within the industry. Chairperson: Ellen Oosthuizen Founding member: Jacqueline Stumke Members: Professional conference organisers Fees: R3 000 annually Member benefits: • Stay informed on industry developments • Better commissions from most venues and venue groups • Recognition in the industry as a professional body • Reduced airline fares to long-haul venue site inspections • Support from a group of successful PCOs Achievements and objectives: As its name implies, the PCO Alliance is a network of professionals who are constantly in touch with one another regarding assistance with contacts within the industry, venue and supplier referrals, compliance advice and general assistance.

PROFESSIONAL SPEAKERS ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (PSASA), EST. 2003 Active in Southern Africa but with members across the continent as well as in Europe, PSASA was established to provide business and career support for professional speakers, trainers, facilitators, coaches and related professionals. It demonstrates and develops world-class presenting and facilitation skills for its members, during both online and on-stage presentations. Association president: Joni Peddie Deputy president: Charlotte Kemp Membership: Professional speaking members from a wide field of specialities including motivation, business skills, futurists, sales and marketing experts, parenting, financial, wellness, cyber security, and more Fees: Associates: R2 340 per annum; Professional members: R3 300 There are also many opportunities for non-paying, regular visitors to connect to PSASA at no fee Member benefits: • Provide a network and collaboration between the various speaking and event associations • The opportunity to hone their presentation skills and to develop business skills around thought leadership and essential messages • Changing the mindset from being a speaker to an entrepreneur is a big leap for many members and this step allows them to tap into a much broader range of modalities to offer value and build a sustainable business model around their key message Achievements and objectives: PSASA hosts a number of developmental and focus programmes and mastermind sessions, allowing both PSASA members and non-members the opportunity to learn together and collaborate to develop skills such as podcasting, book writing, and virtual and hybrid speaking. The association also has a mastermind for woman speakers to help them develop positioning skills and one for non-English home language speakers, to find ways to develop their opportunity to present and earn in their own languages. There is an additional mastermind focusing on the wellness space, to allow members with different modalities to support each other and develop their messaging. Local members of PSASA have spoken on stages around the world and worked with businesses small and large, as well as multinationals globally. Thousands of books have been written and media attention earned by the members. PSASA is the only association on the African continent that is a member of the Global Speakers Foundation. Website:

Over the years spanning their careers, its members have mentored and trained many students, as well as new and existing staff members through learnerships, training programmes, industry courses and on-the-ground experience. Being well aware of how the constraints of Covid-19 have affected events, the PCO Alliance is happy to give of its time, knowledge and expertise to assist the Events Safety Council as well as the SA Events Council in supporting the industry. Website:


#GROWTOGETHER SOUTHERN AFRICAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE CONFERENCE INDUSTRY (SAACI), EST. 1987 • Relevant, member-focused conversation that encourages engagement


• Experiential platforms where members gain true value, raising the calibre of events throughout its national footprint SAACI is a professional association that promotes sustainability within the business events industry in Southern Africa. Its core activities are centred on facilitating an enabling environment for learning, growth and collaboration. Chairperson: Kim Roberts CEO: Glenton De Kock Members: Conference and events organisers, DMCs, exhibitors, services, technical, transport, venues, educational institutions Fees: Student: R627; Independent (1 rep): R2 598; Company – Micro (1-3 staff members): R3 564; Company – SME (4-10 members): R5 460; Company – Regional (11-50 members): R7 013; Company – National (51+ members): R20,404; Educational: R7 013; Patron: R49 314 Member benefits: • Empowerment and upskilling of members and the next generation

Achievements and objectives: SAACI was founded in 1987 by Nick Stathakis, former head of SATOUR’S Congress Division, and Keith McCusker, former head of the CSIR. Their guiding principle for pioneering SAACI was to create a governing body to improve the standards in conference facilities, meeting venues and allied services within Southern Africa, to improve its global competitive advantage with both local and international conference buyers. More than three decades later, SAACI still leads the way in thought leadership to move the industry forward and advance Southern Africa’s well-deserved reputation for excellence in MICE. SAACI’s goal is to be the recognised professional association of the business events industry of Southern Africa. In 2020, it initiated the weekly gathering that has now led to the formation of the SA Events Council. Website:

SOCIETY FOR INCENTIVE TRAVEL EXCELLENCE (SITE), EST. 1973 SITE is the only international, not-for-profit, professional association devoted to the pursuit of excellence in incentives, a multibillion-dollar global industry. Its Africa chapter is committed to developing partnerships across the continent for the development of incentive travel excellence. President: Africa chapter: Tes Proos Membership: DMOs, DMCs and various suppliers including hotels, venues, etc. Education networking opportunities are some of the key reasons why people join SITE Fees: Member types (voting): Professional: US$445; Developing Professional: $200; Corporate Buyer Member: $275; Group Membership (3-4 members): $400 per member; Group Membership (5-9 members): $350 per member; Group Membership (10+ members): $275 per member Affiliate member types (non-voting): Student: $50; Faculty: $50; Retired: $50 Member benefits: • Education and certification opportunities help you build skills and stand out from the competition • Access to the right incentive customers will take your business further • Connect with a community of experts and peers around the world through SITE • SITE’s research keeps members at the pulse of leading practices and market challenges Achievements and objectives: Incentive travel is one of the most powerful motivators, as well as a massive economic driver, yet this sector will be one of the last to recover under Covid-19 restrictions.

The TPSA was originally established as a trade association with the aim of representing members in the promotion of their business interests and to promote the advancement of knowledge and skills in technical production. The TPSA is recognised as the primary author of the SANS 10366 national standard for safety in the live events industry. Chairman: Sharif Baker Executive director: Kevan Jones Membership: Technical suppliers in the events and entertainment industry Fees: Corporate: R7 500; Individual: between R1 800 and R2 300 per annum, depending on designation level Member benefits: • The TPSA is primarily engaged in representing the industry and its corporate members in engagements with government and regulatory bodies • Individual (designated) members hold a formal designation that recognises their skill and competence • All members abide by a code of professional conduct that holds them to a higher standard of business and ethics Achievements and objectives: Under SACIA’s leadership, the TPSA has developed and launched three professional designations for individuals working in the technical production and live events industry. These designations provide formal recognition of an individual’s skill and competence in technical production, with the ability to recognise areas of specialisation such as audio, video, lighting, rigging, stage design, project management, etc.

SITE Africa is running workshops and masterclasses across the continent to assist with skills development and offering mentorship at all levels.

The TPSA Council has also been involved in several industry task groups that promote transformation and a greater commitment to diversity in the technical production sector.

The SITE Africa chapter is relatively new, having been the SITE South Africa chapter until late 2019. The rebrand to Africa took place to enhance the association’s incentive travel community through strengthened communication and continental networking. To this end, SITE Africa was awarded the Rising Star Chapter for 2020 during SITE’s Chapter of the Year and Excellence Awards. SITE Africa has also won the most awards globally for the best motivational programmes.

The TPSA holds formal affiliate agreements with several local and international associations and is a founder member of the SA Events Council.



After the 2008 economic crash, the US government was on the verge of banning incentive travel. SITE’s leadership was instrumental in preventing a global shutdown of a multibillion-dollar industry.




Join the Northern Cape Tourism Authority to discover why the Northern Cape is perfectly poised for a variety of MICE experiences.


ape Town. Johannesburg. Durban. Provinces such as the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are home to some of South Africa’s busiest city centres that provide every single conferencing and meeting facility and amenity one could possibly desire. While these destinations are also popular for their individual blend of exciting cultural add-ons and hotspots to ‘wow’ guests and attendees, the Northern Cape has its own exciting eventing experiences that are somewhat different to the norm and not to be passed up.

WHY GO? As vast as it is varied, the Northern Cape covers an expanse of 360 000 km2. It is South Africa’s largest province yet also the country’s least populated. From culture, adventure and history, to award-winning food, wine and accommodation, the natural beauty and warm hospitality of the province make the Northern Cape an excellent choice of destination. With a temperate climate,


malaria-free areas and a blend of local products and home-grown services that are delivered with efficient infrastructure, the province has become a firm favourite among those who have sought, and found, an alternative to the conventional. And if it is everyday amenities you need, the Northern Cape has all of that too, plus so much more.

METICULOUS MEETINGS From big to small, you really can do it all in the Northern Cape. The province’s three main conferencing towns offer a wide selection of accommodation across varying budgets and range from luxury five-star breakaways to four-star hotels, guest lodges and guesthouses. Built at a budget of R98 million, the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre (, is adjacent to the Big Hole Complex and centrally located in Kimberley’s historic Diamond District. With a capacity ranging between 20 and 2 500, the convention centre is well suited to larger delegations meeting in

the Northern Cape; it also offers facilities for day conferencing, exhibitions, gala evenings and other private functions. The convention centre’s open-air amphitheatre provides space for 2 500 people; its auditorium seats another 2 500 delegates, while the banquet hall can accommodate 800 visitors. In addition to the impressive facilities available at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre, Kimberley is home to meeting facilities such as Platfontein Lodge and Conference Centre, Kimberley Anne Small Luxury Hotel and Protea Hotel by Marriott Kimberley. Other Northern Cape towns with meeting facilities include Upington, with meeting facilities at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Upington, Desert Palace Hotel, Naba Lodge and the uniquely situated African Vineyard Guest House on Kanoneiland, a river island within the Orange River with banqueting capacity of 300. The Springbok Hotel in Springbok, the third largest town in the Northern Cape, has banqueting capacity for 250. Not lacking in hotels or venues, the only limit to meeting in the Northern Cape is your imagination!

One of the most impressive sights on offer in the Northern Cape is the annual blooming of the Namaqualand daisies at the start of South Africa’s spring. Although this dazzling floral spectacle is usually over in a matter of three short weeks, the bloom is an event all of its own and a bucket list item for local nature lovers.


Northern Cape Tourism

Northern Cape SA

#NORTHERNCAPE THE NORTHERN CAPE AT A GLANCE Land area: 362 591 km2 Population: ±1.058 million Population density: 2.91 per km2 Capital city: Kimberley Major towns: Calvinia, Colesberg, Kuruman, Springbok and Upington Languages: Afrikaans, English, Nama, SeTswana and Xhosa Airports: Kimberley, Upington with daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town, and charter options from Windhoek and Victoria Falls Transfrontier Parks: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park National Parks: Augrabies Falls National Park Mokala National Park Namaqua National Park Tankwa Karoo National Park

IMPACTFUL INCENTIVES With an array of activities and places to see, there is something for everyone in the Northern Cape. The province is a haven of incentive options that include thrilling experiences such as stargazing safaris in Sutherland, fossil hunting in the Karoo, kayaking the mighty Orange River, and camping in the bush surrounded by wildlife – if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the black-maned lion. The people of the Northern Cape comprise several distinct cultural groups, including the oldest inhabitants in Southern Africa, the Khomani San and

Nama. In recognition of the importance of the two cultures, UNESCO declared the Richtersveld Botanical and Cultural Landscape, situated in the Ai|Ais/ Ritchersveld Transfrontier Park, to protect the Nama culture. The Khomani San Cultural Landscape situated near the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, was declared to protect the culture of the Khomani San.

WORKING AND PLAYING HARD Together with its goal of growing the Northern Cape into a flourishing MICE destination, the province has also positioned itself as a leading sports destination over the last few years. With its wide-open spaces, striking scenery and natural bounty, the province is making significant inroads when it comes to hosting major sporting events, which have the potential to make a substantial contribution to the economy of South Africa. “Sports tourism has become an increasingly important part of the tourism industry in the province. With the ongoing effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on leisure and business tourism still

+27 (0)53 832 2657

+27 (0)53 831 2937

uncertain, it has become essential for the Northern Cape to explore alternative means of attracting domestic and international visitors to the destination. Participants and supporters of prominent sporting events not only bring valuable economic benefit to communities but are overawed by the warm hospitality of our people and the incredible tourism attractions. They usually become return visitors and inspirational ambassadors for the Northern Cape brand,” says Abraham Vosloo, MEC for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism. Some of the global events hosted in the Northern Cape are the 2011 Maloof Money Cup and subsequent Kimberley Diamond Cup Action Sports Festival in 2019, Bloodhound Landspeed Record Attempts, and U19 World Cricket Cup. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the province hosted the Uruguayan national team. To complete this jewel of a destination, the Northern Cape is also home to a number of stadia where rugby matches and T20 cricket games have taken place, putting the province firmly on the international map.


As industries and governments scramble to find effective ways to limit the spread of Covid-19 while reopening economic activity, health passports have proven a hot topic and could play a key role in making events safer to attend. Pippa Naude investigates.



roponents praise them as an efficient screening tool; however, critics have voiced concerns over the unintended consequences they could lead to. So, what are health passports and could they be a means to ensuring safe event access? Also known as vaccine passports and health passes, health passports are essentially a record (paper or digital) that verifies information such as whether a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has tested negative for the virus and, in some cases, if they have had Covid-19 and therefore have some natural immunity against it. Having this information about an individual helps to assess the potential risk that they could transmit the virus, and so can be used to screen people before granting them access to a country, flight, event and more. Increasingly, the trend is for app-based digital health passports; the technology is available, and most people have a smartphone. Digital records are also harder


to forge than paper documents and present a streamlined, touchless way to gather, store and share this data.


Many countries, airlines, health organisations (including the WHO) and tech companies have started to develop health passports. IATA (International Air Transport Association) is making fast progress on its Travel Pass, which will soon be piloted in Singapore and New Zealand. The app includes a list of travel requirements per country, where tests can be done, as well as The Lab App, which is “a secure, encrypted channel that enables laboratories to verify passengers’ identities and then send the results of Covid-19 tests, or proof of vaccination, directly to passengers [to] store on their mobile device”. The Travel Pass is linked to a person’s passport, enabling their Covid-19 immunity status to be shared with the relevant authorities. IATA is hoping that

most countries and airlines will adopt the Travel Pass, thereby creating a standardised tool for international travel. The Health Passport Worldwide app is another example, which was used by Big Concerts to screen attendees for its Recharge 2020 event in Cape Town. In this case, rapid testing was conducted at registration. A person’s test results were sent to their app within 15 minutes of testing, and only those with a negative test result could enter the event. Health Passport Worldwide has since launched Health Passport South Africa, including a flagship Covid-19 testing centre at The Lookout Waterfront in Cape Town. The testing centre provides PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and rapid antigen tests and can test 275 people an hour. This can be upscaled to test over 50 000 people a day using rapid antigen testing. The aim, says the company, is to “enable businesses, events, travel, hospitality and much more to safely reopen”. It adds that

#HEALTHPASSPORTS it can work with all official vaccinations and test types, and that users’ privacy is fully protected. Justin Van Wyk, CEO of Big Concerts, says, “This was an important moment for the events industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic. The Health Passport Worldwide technology platform enabled this event to proceed with the highest levels of risk mitigation, demonstrating the way forward for live events globally.”


This approach has many merits to it, as already touched on; however, as with most new things, there are some concerns that have been voiced and need to be addressed. For example: Israel is talking about creating Green Passes, which will reveal a person’s vaccination status or if they have been infected with the virus. A Green Pass would then allow access to travel, restaurants, entertainment, events and more. The country’s Minister of Health, Yuli Edelstein, was reported to have said anyone unwilling or unable to get a Green Pass will be “left behind”. Yet some people have ethical and religious objections to the vaccine and would therefore be indefinitely excluded from access to these things. People could be incentivised to catch Covid-19 if having had the illness will allow them to travel and attend events more freely, which could lead to increases in transmission rates. At the same time, not enough is known about immunity transferred from catching the virus, with reports of people being reinfected. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US are recommending that people who have had Covid-19 still receive the double dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Access to vaccinations and testing is limited in some countries and regions, which could unfairly discriminate against the people who live and work there. For example, it is

unlikely that low-risk South Africans will have access to the vaccine any time soon. (Business Tech reports that, at our country’s current vaccination rate, it will take 18 years to reach the target of vaccinating 67% of the population.) Negative test results have a short shelf life and are not 100% reliable. Steven Adelman, head of Adelman Law Group, spoke at EventMB’s ‘The Future of the Event Industry’ event and suggested that, for events, “The best combination is to make everyone get a PCR test in advance, and then give them a rapid test immediately upon arriving on-site. It’s not perfect but, between the two tests, you’re covering most infection scenarios.” However, this also has a cost implication. Health Passport South Africa charges R350 for a rapid antigen test and R850 for a PCR test, which is a hefty add-on to an event’s ticket price. Security issues have been voiced over how this information is collected and stored, although the response from app developers is that their platforms are secure, and a user’s privacy is respected. Not everyone has a smartphone, which could make app-based health passports inaccessible to some. In this scenario, event organisers would need a plan B to accommodate such instances.


Senthil Gopinath, CEO of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), says, “At ICCA, we’re open to innovative, ethical and inclusive solutions for restarting the meetings industry. We advocate the importance of reopening our industry and sustaining our community. We view health passports as one potential method to help people gather face to face again.”

However, he adds, “It is vital to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines so that destinations globally can safely reopen. It is also important to consider the different needs of business events travellers and not try to apply a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, the business events attendees need to be categorised and given priority since they are identifiable due to pre-registered participation at events.” While the advent of health passports could be a solution for safely hosting live events, this must clearly be bolstered by several measures to be viable and potentially assist in the recovery of the events industry.



Celebrating female excellence across the industry

Coming this August… The Women in MICE Awards achieved new heights in 2019. After being postponed in 2020, we are looking forward to the upcoming instalment of this exceptional event.

To nominate your candidate, please fill out the nomination form below, scan and send this back to Alternatively, download the nomination form from


Nomination Form

NOMINEE INFORMATION Nominee name Is the nominee a service provider or buyer/event planner? Qualifications Is the nominee an association member; if so, which association? (SAACI, EXSA, SITE, PCO Alliance Network, ICCA, etc.) Category (select one of the 10 categories listed at

CAREER INFORMATION Current company Current position Career to date Significant achievements in the last 24 months







Carefully considering the above criteria, please provide a motivational paragraph about the nominee. Where possible, please provide examples of where the above traits/achievements were exhibited/made.


Please include a high-resolution photograph of the nominee. All nominations must reach by 9 July 2021. Only nominations submitted on the official nomination form will be considered.



After postponing its Women in MICE Awards in 2020, 3S Media – together with Meetings magazine and The Planner Guru – officially launched this year’s Awards on 11 March 2021 during an inspiring virtual event.


ollowing a challenging year that saw many events either cancelled or postponed, including 3S Media’s very own Women in MICE Awards, the launch of the 2021 Awards took place on 11 March 2021, with attendees live-streaming the virtually hosted event on GoToWebinar. During the exciting session, the categories, theme and judges for the upcoming Awards were announced. The event was co-hosted by Shanna Jacobsen, managing editor of Meetings magazine, and Thami Nkadimeng, message architect and Women in MICE ambassador, who thanked all women within the industry for their contributions, particularly over the past year under very difficult circumstances. The organisers welcomed participation by a stellar line-up of speakers, including the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Voicing her support for the MICE industry, she highlighted the important role that this plays within tourism. “I’ve joined this meeting here today to talk about one of the subsectors of tourism that has been most affected by the pandemic, where the restrictions that have been put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic have curtailed the meetings, incentives, conferences and events sector,” noted Kubayi-Ngubane, adding that gender inequality has been worsened by the effects of the pandemic, especially for womanowned businesses that have also had to find new ways of providing services. Ellen Oosthuizen, chairperson for both the SA Events Council as well as the PCO Alliance Network, delivered an address to the audience where she revealed some of the projects and initiatives that she has been part of to showcase the MICE industry’s ability to host live events safely and according to all government regulations.


• Johannesburg Expo Centre

The organisers of the Women in MICE Awards would like to thank its sponsors and partners for their role in bringing together the launch event for the Awards. Sponsors: • Barmotion

• Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Partners: • Thami Nkadimeng • Tsheto Leadership and Coaching Academy



“In March 2020, the SA Events Council was formed and I represented the PCO Alliance – this kept me very busy! We’ve been meeting every Thursday since,” explained Ellen, also acknowledging all the Women in MICE. Ellen was a Women in MICE winner in 2017. Angelique Smith, co-founder of Event Synthesis, was the final speaker of the day and spoke on leadership and development within the MICE industry in the context of the Women in MICE mentorship programme she is a part of. “As soon as I heard about the programme, it was something I wanted to get involved in; when the call was made, I immediately applied. We started the programme during Covid and I think, for the seven candidates who are part of the programme, it was a breath of fresh air for all of us to be in that environment during such trying times,” said Angelique. Ahead of the announcement of the categories, theme and judges, members of the audience were treated to a delightful dedication by local rock band Prime Circle, with their song ‘Love to Hate Unplugged’.

• Sun International

Speaking on the theme of the 2021 Awards, Shanna noted: “Our theme this year is ‘The Power of the Collective’. No matter how small, every effort counts and, much like a mosaic, each tile is part of a much larger picture – showing us just how important collaboration and networks are to our industry.” The categories for the 2021 Women in MICE Awards are as follows: • Service Provider Representative of the Year • Venue Representative of the Year • Collaborator of the Year • Industry Contribution of the Year • Innovator of the Year • Certification and Qualification Provider of the Year • Mentor of the Year • Enterprise Team of the Year • Health and Safety Standards Recognition Award • Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominations are now open on and close on July 9. Vote for your Women in MICE heroines today!

THE JUDGES FOR THIS YEAR: (from left to right)

• Corne Koch, head of the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency • Nonnie Kubeka, head of the Gauteng Conventions & Events Bureau • Sonto Mayise, acting general manager at the KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau • Sonto Ndlovu, destination brand strategist at Transnet • Vanessa Perumal, manging director at JT Communications




#CHOOSETOCHALLENGE In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Choose a challenge instead of competence”. We need to break free from the limitations of the status quo, says Thami Nkadimeng.


recently sat down for a conversation with Carice Anderson, the author of Intelligence Isn’t Enough, and it got me thinking… while intelligence certainly plays an important role in how we strategise and move forward, what is the one ingredient that will help us get the industry back on track? March was a month that afforded us the opportunity to openly and intentionally choose to challenge the status quo of all the arenas in which we work. This is, of course, under the umbrella of the International Women’s Day drive, #ChooseToChallenge. In choosing to challenge, I challenged my mind to think of the ways that could assist in guiding and growing all aspects of the tourism industry, starting with intelligence.

KEY INTELLIGENCES Intrapersonal intelligence suggests that we should understand ourselves – what we feel and what we want. In real-world application, the trick is to start by exploring what outcomes we want to achieve but also accepting that this cannot be done alone because our diversity stems from our individuality and unique thinking. Without digging too deep into the science, we can then begin homing in on our collective interpersonal intelligence and pooling our knowledge resources. Logical intelligence encourages us to quantify things and prove them using hypotheses; it is defined as “a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting

point for further investigation”. The hypothesis that comes to mind for me is the one of eventuality: all things come to an end. This means the struggles we currently face as an industry will eventually come to an end. And when that end comes, we will need to take a step back and take stock of what we have spent time doing to ensure that all the lessons we have come to experience do not go to waste and, indeed, contribute to the future of tourism. In your time ‘pivoting’, ask yourself whether you have created a better way of collaborating with other stakeholders, or if you found time to explore innovations that propel us towards valuable future experiences and services? The last area of intelligence I want to focus on is linguistics and the ability to find the right words to express yourself. We have been living through the pandemic for just over a year now and the narrative must change. Yes, frustration has been a dark cloud over our heads but we are at a stage where we have to use the right words to build the future we want and one that is attractive to future travellers and clientele. The future is spoken into existence and then constructed, and we need to be able to choose how to express what we mean with worthwhile and beneficial intent for all. To conclude, perhaps intelligence is enough in building a productive and progressive tourism industry, but only if we are willing to be inclusive in our approach. We can establish our space in the future of our local, regional and international tourism arenas if we choose to challenge the status quo and see the potential we possess, both individually and collectively, and from all angles.

A moderator, MC and facilitator, Thami Nkadimeng is a message architect who creates impactful messages through both conversation as well as through non-verbal, written and visual communication.



KEEPING US CONNECTED We live in a world where we can’t all necessarily get together, but the solutions at Emperors Palace can keep us connected.


f there is one thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us it is how to adapt. Over the past year, we have transitioned to a virtual world, where being ‘in the office’ no longer requires your physical presence, and meetings can be done as long as there is connectivity. Emperors Palace has consistently been at the forefront of conferencing trends. Now, with many businesses embracing digital communication, The Palace of Dreams has grown to accommodate the needs of clients with bespoke requirements in the ‘new normal’.

Staying in contact has become the new currency and shown us the importance of time and cost savings, as well as agility in the identification and implementation of meeting solutions.

partners both locally and internationally. Bolstered by exceptional service and numerous value-adds, clients can focus on sealing the deal.

STREAMING TO THE WORLD ENTER THE THEODORA BOARDROOM AT EMPERORS PALACE This 20-seater luxury meeting suite houses stateof-the-art conferencing tools, including 86-inch LCD smartboards, with NovoConnect all-in-one display and multicompatible video conferencing software to open up channels to associates and

In 2020, Emperors Palace broke into new territory with its own broadcast studio, the game-changing Studio Iris. Compatible with all major platforms (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, WebinarJam, YouTube, Facebook Live), Studio Iris makes it possible to talk to anyone with a connected device, and is ideal for anything from talks and seminars to entertainment, interviews and presentations. “The world is different now and lockdown has taught us that some people like to work and be in contact remotely. With programmes like Zoom or Teams, you can connect to anyone in the world and not have to leave your own environment. It saves money, time and you don’t have to travel. Studio Iris is the perfect solution to connect with your audience and get your message out clearly,” says Dave Milne, hospitality executive at Peermont.

For more information or to take a tour, contact or +27 (0)11 928 1903


Sun City takes conferencing and conventions to the next level, with the focus on providing consolidated conference experiences and ample team building activities, ensuring ‘conferencing with a difference’, all in one location. Home to prudently crafted facilities, technology and services with access to a range of well-equipped meeting rooms, conference venues, auditoriums and various multi-purpose venues, complemented by morale-building activities incorporated into bespoke conference packages. At Sun City, turning any business gathering into an adventure-filled experience is only a matter of choice. To book an event with endless possibilities, visit or call 014 557 1000.


LOOKING AHEAD Peter McKuchane, GM: Business Tourism and Events at the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, shares his vision for the future of the business events and tourism industry. Where do you see the events industry currently?

What drives you both personally and professionally?

As with the leisure tourism industry, the business tourism sector has suffered extreme losses: conferences, meetings and incentive travel have come to an absolute standstill during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while border closures and limited flights, together with health protocols, severely limit the number of attendees at events and conferences.

Positive emotions, competence, warmth, straightforwardness, truth.

Where would you like to see the industry in the next five to ten years? We would like to entrench the Northern Cape as a competitive tourism events destination and establish the industry at large in a position to contribute to the growth of South Africa’s economy through job creation and increased business tourism arrivals to the destination.

What role does your organisation play in the industry? The Northern Cape Tourism Authority’s role is to create demand for MICE events within the Northern Cape and to create a conducive environment for buyers and sellers to host events to the benefit of the people of the province.

What is the most challenging aspect of what you do? Making people understand how important and relevant this industry is in terms of job creation and its potential contribution to the economy.

What do you enjoy the most about what you do? Knowing that every business event hosted within the Northern Cape contributes to the economy and upliftment of the people of the province.

What are some of your career highlights? Working at South African Tourism on campaigns to profile the country as a destination, setting up the Nan Fei exhibition in China to introduce South Africa to the Chinese people, and involvement with brand development for the Northern Cape Tourism and Free State Tourism authorities.

Visiting Istanbul, Amsterdam and Paris with my life partner.

What is your favourite read? Intimations by Zadie Smith. What three items do you never leave home without? Sad to say my mobile phone, blood sugar medication and car keys.

What is your most prized possession? Nothing really – I don’t consider myself to be at all materialistic.

Who was your role model growing up? Nelson Mandela.

Who do you currently aspire to be like and why? Also Nelson Mandela – to be as forgiving, realistic and the epitome of a real human being.

What quote best describes your outlook towards life? “Be selective in your battles – sometimes, peace is better than being right.”

What do people most often wrongly assume about you? That I am a softie and, thus, can be manipulated.

What values will you not deviate from? Commitment, open-mindedness, honesty, loyalty.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? Relax and spend time with family.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received?

What was your best holiday?

Never give up!

Visiting East London beaches with my family.

What was your very first job?

What are some of your ‘bucket list’ items?

Administration at an insurance company.

Peter McKuchane, GM: Business Tourism and Events at the Northern Cape Tourism Authority




NEW AGE SOLUTIONS The Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce’s Virtual Trade Fair is testament to how collaboration and innovation can come together to provide engaging solutions that have resulted in success far beyond expectation. Meetings chats exclusively with the organisers to understand how they are getting virtual exhibitions right.


uring March last year, the team at the Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce was getting ready to put together a small event for its members. Within a matter of weeks, South Africa was shut down after the first case of the novel coronavirus was announced in the country, with the number of infections rapidly increasing. “We were planning a small physical event for our Chamber members in April last year; many SMEs just can’t afford to be part of the bigger exhibitions, as the costs can be prohibitive. We had everything organised and people were starting to get ready, when – ‘Bang!’ – lockdown happened and that all vaporised in a split second. And we thought, ‘Okay, what do we do now?’,” recalls Ivan Andersen, owner of TSF Service & Solutions Firm, a partner at WISDOMS123


(see sidebar) and a founder of the Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce. Dawn Coulson Olivier, owner of Dzines and a member of the Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce, has been part of the exhibitions industry for more than 20 years. She worked with Ivan and Trevor Nel, the Chamber’s CEO and a strategist at WISDOMS123, to bring together an all-time first for the Chamber. “We collaborated with other skilled Chamber members and worked flat out for the first 21 days of lockdown on a Virtual Trade Fair to replace the physical event,” says Dawn, who – together with the creative team at Dzines, Alex Olivier and Irene Klue – was the brains behind the design of the virtual exhibition booths and contributed to the setup of an exhibition in general.

“We were very keen to get behind this innovation for our members,” adds Trevor.

BRIGHT BEGINNINGS The first Virtual Trade Fair, Virtual Trade Fair Africa (, ran from 19 to 22 June 2020. The Fourways Community Chamber of Commerce team sponsored 114 South African companies from all fields to take part, and saw 32 speaking sessions take place over the four days and attendance from over 2 900 unique visitors. “We sat locked on to Zoom for eight hours a day for four days straight!” exclaims Ivan. In trying to rebuild the economy of South Africa, the Chamber threw all its efforts behind the Virtual Trade Fair to provide South African companies with the opportunity for exposure to their company by exhibiting their products and services. The organisers believe that this, together with the setup of the platform, are key reasons behind the success of the event. “We wanted to keep this as simple and userfriendly as possible,” says Dawn. “A lot of people have made a break into this space but I personally feel that they have overcomplicated the tech. If you’re dealing with a broad-spectrum audience, you need tech that is user-friendly. While it’s great to have a fully immersive environment with all the bells and whistles, if this is challenging to use, you are going to lose a large percentage of your audience,” explains Ivan. The Virtual Trade Fair platform includes a page with information such as a directory to all the exhibitors, with some having e-commerce stores, while others can opt for interactive exhibition stands to

#VIRTUALTRADEFAIR We had gone into unknown territory – we literally jumped into the deep end and it was an amazing success, and we were all blown away!” Dawn Coulson Olivier

enhance products and services. Virtual Trade Fair Africa incorporated an auditorium, with seven guest speakers a day from all over the world, with diverse and interesting topics, while a WhatsApp group was created to keep all informed and updated with the event proceedings. Exhibitors at the Virtual Trade Fair platform are able to choose from one of three 3D booth designs that can be fully kitted out with branding. The booth is made up of various points of interest, or hotspots, that can all do a range of different things. It can incorporate videos, website links where visitors can view products, as well as contacts (including social media) – but, most importantly, the platform allows for direct engagement between the exhibitor and visitor. One of the major pluses of hosting events virtually is that content is archivable, meaning

an event has longevity far beyond the day it takes place. Recognising how valuable their content is, the organisers of the Virtual Trade Fair have packaged these sessions and made them publicly available, and shareable, on their website

GOING GLOBAL While speaking sessions have transitioned from in-person to virtual platforms with relative ease, creating a successful exhibition is another challenge altogether; however, the team behind the Virtual Trade Fair is making decent inroads into achieving what was once thought of as being impossible – and this is leading to increased demand for their product. Following the success of Virtual Trade Fair Africa, the organisers decided to take their concept across South Africa’s borders. Intending to target Southern African companies with a push towards Africa, the Virtual Trade Fair went global. The Chamber has since run four other successful events and is now hiring out their platform for any company wishing to brand it as their own event or exhibition that is then hosted by the team. “We are now envisioning that the virtual will be a hybrid solution with the physical exhibitions, as it will maximise the exposure,” says Dawn.

WISDOMS123 Through a number of tools such as blogs, videos and content pieces, WISDOMS123 demonstrates how the power of digital is also delivering key life insights to inspire positive shifts in thinking and behaviour. According to its website: “WISDOMS is a world centre for personal and business success. Through various media, new thinking is prompted based on provocative images and statements. The idea is to create conversations that challenge people’s thinking and preconceived ideas about themselves, others, and the world we live in. “Our intention is to flip our tendency to the negative and so stimulate fresh ideas, new opportunities, changed behaviour and results that positively impact our personal, business and social lives.” Visit for more information





IDENTIFY THE RIGHT VIRTUAL EVENT HOSTING PLATFORM Meetings makes finding the right virtual hosting platform for your events easy as pie. USABILITY Choose functionality over fancy add-ons. The simpler, the better but don’t skimp on making sure your virtual platform incorporates, at the bare minimum, the essentials…

THE ESSENTIALS Your virtual platform must allow for control of who enters the session, as well as cameras and mics, and, of course, your virtual hosting platform must be able to record…

RECORDING The recording of your event is invaluable – not only is this archivable but it can be packaged to provide a wealth of impactful content items and ongoing value for clients and attendees…

ATTENDEES Give thorough consideration towards how your attendees will experience an event on your virtual hosting platform and how they are able to engage…

ENGAGEMENT Personalised and responsive engagement on the organiser’s part is a must. Deliver a swift turnaround on queries and comment openly and positively on contributions to the dialogue…

DIALOGUE Ensure your virtual event hosting platform allows you to deliver on your objectives and supports a seamless dialogue that is both well aligned to your audience and your brand!




On 16 March 2021, Niche Partners, together with Meetings magazine, hosted the first of its African Perspectives Stakeholder Roundtable series. Londi Khumalo shares some of the highlights.


fter closing off responses to surveys for the African Perspectives Report on the MICE Industry on 15 March 2021, Niche Partners hosted the first in a series of dialogues that will seek to not just bridge the data gap within the MICE industry, but identify shared opportunities, and strengthen and align the industry’s network in order for its stakeholders to realise these objectives together. Held in conjunction with our publishing partner, Meetings magazine, the goal of the African Perspectives Report and our goal in

CONNECT WITH US! If you would like to find out more on how you can participate in the African Perspectives projects and initiatives, contact Londi Khumalo ( or Shanna Jacobsen (

convening the African Perspectives Stakeholder Roundtable on 16 March 2021 is to better understand the opportunities that exist on the African continent for the MICE industry.

ALIGNING TO THE AFCFTA A key area of focus during the roundtable was on the African Union’s agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). With a combined GDP of US$3.4 trillion (R50.1 trillion), the free trade area has the potential to be the largest in the world and, according to World Bank figures, reduce the poverty of 30 million people. For this reason, we believe it is important to unpack the MICE industry’s value proposition within this. In line with the AU’s Vision 2063 that seeks to create the Africa we want to see, as the facilitators of trade and professional services across the continent, the MICE industry needs to strongly weigh up how business events support this agreement. John Rocha, chief director: Trade Invest Africa, and Sandile Tyini, GM: African Multilateral Economic Relations, both from the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, joined the session to discuss how the AfCFTA agreement will impact business opportunities in Africa. “The AfCFTA will create a market for 1.3 billion people across 55 countries and it’s going to lead to the integration of markets, the aggregation of markets, and allow countries to access markets beyond their borders,” noted John.

Professor Nellie Swart, an associate professor of tourism at the University of South Africa, explained why she endorses the African Perspectives SWOT analysis project: “One of the key strategic interventions is to have a sound knowledge platform, as well as to create our own business and market intelligence.” We would like to thank each of our stakeholders for their participation in our first stakeholder roundtable and look forward to sharing more insights with you in the future!

SWOT ANALYSIS Another important discussion during the roundtable was centred on the reasoning for the African Perspectives regional SWOT analysis and the factors we need to consider in order to complete a thorough analysis. The purpose of this is to start understanding how each business events region is represented so that our strategic decisions take these specific factors into consideration.





Make your comeback, and make it count

The ‘green’ reset

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the course of human history. It’s a destructive, messy change, but it also presents an opportunity for each of us to reset our business, believes Greg McManus.


ow is the time to hit the reset button for your business – the ‘green’ one that prioritises sustainability and will benefit you and your staff, clients, community and city. Globally, there is growing consensus that the future of tourism and its associated industries will be based on sustainability and a greater commitment to our environment. The UN’s World Tourism Organization concurs with the view that sustainability will become one of the pillars of industry in the post-Covid period, and that environmental responsibility is becoming an expectation of travellers and communities across the world.

the technology and expertise behind them are improving. Currently, most of us are spending 99% of our time at home and online, which can lead to ‘Zoom fatigue’, but this will not always be the case. When we have the freedom to choose, we will certainly want live events. We must believe that the ‘old’ face-to-face meetings will return. But embracing the new business model is important to the revival of the meetings and events sectors, and we should pause before we disregard the time, cost and carbon saving opportunities that virtual events offer. These are three important factors that will drive future corporate decisions.


GREG MCMANUS is the chairperson of the Event Greening Forum (EGF) – a member of the SA Events Council.

It’s clear that none of us want the ‘same old, same old’. We’ve been forced to pause and re-evaluate our priorities and to embrace technologies that seemed ‘experimental’ a year ago. Sustainability issues have come to the fore, and consumer choices are being driven by what will do more good and less harm. For example, research by Global Web Index found that 57% of South Africans identified with at least one of the following issues as a result of Covid-19: reducing the use of single-use plastics, reducing their carbon footprint, or supporting companies that behave more sustainably. And we’ve known for years that millennials tend to be conscientious consumers, willing to pay more for sustainable goods. They are now 25 to 40 years old, representing many of your customers, not to mention staff, colleagues and suppliers. Bear in mind that corporates have now seen that virtual and hybrid meetings can work. While these channels are still in their infancy,


Finally, sustainable businesses have proven to be more resilient when facing crises like the current pandemic. Why? I believe that companies that embrace sustainability as a core strategy tend to look at the broader landscape in which they operate. They recognise their impacts as well as the opportunities that sustainable business practices present to be more effective and efficient. They are forwardthinking and innovative, and they tend to follow the facts, not the fads. These characteristics make for stronger businesses. It’s time to stop wishing for a return to the pre-Covid era and start planning for a postCovid reality if we want to remain relevant. This is a chance to start over with what you now know. Being sustainable will be an important business differential and a growth opportunity for the future. Don’t let it slip away.

The Event Greening Forum (EGF) is a non-profit organisation promoting sustainability within the business events sector. To find out more, visit


INDUSTRY VIEWS Convention centre custodians

New opportunities Over the last 12 months, conference centre teams had to deal with continuous and profound change over which they had little or no control, but they are now playing a much greater role in shaping the future of organised events, writes Sven Bossu.



e recently organised a Risk Management and Crisis Communication Masterclass. The participants came from different geographical areas and had management responsibilities in all types of departments, from sales to operations and HR. It was a mix of short theory and intense ‘practical’ sessions. The group was split into two teams and had to detail how they would manage a Covid-related crisis under time pressure. The speed and agility with which the theory was put into practice was impressive. I’d like to believe that this was entirely due to the quality of the course and the teachers. But I think it points to a much greater consideration – venues were shut down, reopened and shut down again. Safety protocols changed overnight. Digital solutions were needed yesterday. And let us not forget the conference centres being transformed into hospitals, vaccination centres, parliaments, or court houses. All of this has created an increased risk awareness across the organisation, which is a great asset to have. In my view, several assets have been developed over the last 12 months: digital capabilities in all shapes and forms, out-ofthe-box thinking when it comes to using spaces, the use of technology to create ‘low-touch’ customer experiences to meet new safety requirements, the development of hybrid events (still under construction!), and more. Now, it is time to use those assets for a different purpose: not to extinguish fires but to script the future of organised events. Compared to 12 months ago, convention centres are able to offer a far wider set of products and services to event organisers. The classic example is ‘Auditorium Y’ – the virtual conference room, allowing one to stream content and reach new audiences worldwide. However, this is not

as straightforward as may sound, and many organisers have been struggling to find the magic formula. Convention centres now have the knowledge to come up with solutions that fit the purpose and objectives the organiser wants to achieve, as every event is different and there is no such thing as one size fitting all.

SAFEGUARDING THE INDUSTRY More than ever, convention centres can indeed become the trusted advisors of event organisers, especially because the landscape is still in the full evolution stage. Existing platforms come up with new features almost on a weekly basis, and new platforms seem to be mushrooming. Offering organisers a set of solid solutions – covering both digital and on-site – is what is needed to create a zone of comfort as far as technology and logistics are concerned. Because this should not be the concern of the organiser. To achieve this, convention centres will need to invest even more in their core asset: their staff. The skill sets needed 18 months ago and the ones needed today are very different. By surfing a rather steep learning curve, we are now where we expected to be in five years’ time in terms of digital solutions. Making sure these solutions are used in the most optimal way will require continuous improvement and learning. It might even require completely rethinking what we do in order to create new business opportunities. Fortunately, this is not new to convention centre staff. They are used to dealing with changing requirements, last-minute decisions and other surprises – way before Covid-19. What is different is the new set of tools that need to be integrated in the overall solution offered to the customer to improve relevance in terms of impact and reach. In the end, that is what both organisers and convention centres want to achieve.




INDUSTRY VIEWS All about well-being

A better way to do business The SA Events Council and EGF are proud to announce their upcoming webinar on the well-being economy – world-renowned Professor Fioramonti’s proposal on a better way to live, do business and prosper, writes Lynn McLeod.

A LYNN MCLEOD is the Event Greening Forum (EGF) secretariat.

INDUSTRY VIEWS It’s the small things

good day at the office is one that comes to an end – something that is a rarity in the eventing industry. Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti has been advocating a new theory and practice called the ‘well-being economy’ to demonstrate the shortfalls of our obsession with economic growth and rather to place personal and ecological wellbeing at the centre of development policy for governments and businesses alike. He feels that making a well-being economy a reality means changing your thinking about what achievement means to you and whether it comes from continuous growth, from never-ending consumption, accumulating stuff, and our obsession with measuring standards like bank balances. It goes without saying that the events industry has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The EGF will therefore focus discussions in 2021 on exploring opportunities for

Addressing the digital conundrum Like many of you, we have been navigating our way in understanding how to deliver value to our customers through digital platforms. But is digital a threat to live events, asks Chanelle Hingston.

T CHANELLE HINGSTON is the group director for Power & Energy Africa at Clarion Events Africa – a member of AAXO.

change in the way businesses are run in the future. Our first webinar, in conjunction with the SA Events Council, on Thursday 15 April 2021 from 11:00 to 12:00 is titled ‘Taking the leap into the well-being economy – redirecting the economy toward community, the environment and a sustainable future’. The topic will be presented by distinguished academic Professor Fioramonti, who is a world-renowned proponent of the concept of the well-being economy. We do hope you will be able to join us for this free webinar. You can find further details at Professor Fioramonti is a professor of political economy at the University of Pretoria, the founding director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, and the deputy project leader of the Future Africa initiative, among other exceptional academic positions.

oday, we are living through an era where we need to sniff the air carefully. Because change is coming. It’s coming fast, and it is not going to give us much time to think about it… if any. What we are starting to see is that technology backed by the ability to process data is accentuating what we do at events, bringing people together through connections and content. It is often assumed that digital can replace the live experience; however, in my opinion, this is not the case. Rather, I believe there’s plenty of opportunity for digital to enhance live events and play a vital role to enhance the experience. Technology and digital offerings should be incorporated into our events going forward and not just be an afterthought. Of course, there is no doubting the power of digital, and the impact it is having on reshaping


our industry. It has driven much-needed innovation that we have been ignoring for years and has now been accelerated by Covid-19. Another question that is coming up a lot these days is whether content should be offered free or charged for? Our audiences have been paying for content at our live events and it is my belief that they should pay for that same content at our digital events. It is up to us to continue to innovate the platforms on which we deliver, thus ensuring the perceived value of digital events. Events and meetings will recover but won’t be quite the same. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing – as we emerge from this period of chaos and the dust starts to settle, we need to ensure that we position and rebuild our businesses for the future.


INDUSTRY VIEWS Content is king

Make your message stand out As many planners and clients consider programmes for events in the near future, captivating content that brings your message to life by leveraging multimedia like videos and infographics must be considered, urges Glenton De Kock.


INDUSTRY VIEWS Looking ahead

eeping your audiences engaged remains key for many event planners. Actively listening to the drive of messaging that directs implementation for solutions in our current operating environment is a growing challenge. Many of us grind to a mental halt after 25 minutes, due to the year-long Zoom fatigue. So, whether your event is live, virtual or hybrid, content is still king and the need to keep audiences engaged calls for creative thinking. With the rapid evolution of delivering hybrid events within South Africa, the use of visual content such as motion graphics and animations during an event via snippets or speaker video introductions – to ensure attendees remain engaged throughout the event – is highly recommended. In addition to this, well-utilised advertising panels, logo banners and media walls with a range of content and virtual backgrounds for your hosts and speakers will grab your attendees’ attention.

Turning it around As lockdown regulations ease and activity starts picking up, Travelbags is being the change it wants to see, says Michelle Hinrichsen.


MICHELLE HINRICHSEN is the president of Travelbags.

Interactive content – such as live polls – can also make sessions more engaging and provide insights to help tailor content in real time. A challenge that digital/ hybrid events may face is that virtual attendees will be multitasking while tuning in to the event, and are likely to be distracted. You can overcome this by carefully curating your content; each session should not be more than an hour – some may say that 20-minute sessions, similar to a TED Talk format, may be a comfortable norm now; however, exceptions can be made for keynote speakers and content champions. Shorter sessions can also be rolled out over multiple days (and be made available ondemand after) for easier content consumption. As our industry builds back confidence for in-person events, live sessions should be utilised to create impactful moments that can only be experienced in person, with a focus on creating shared and memorable moments.

e have reached Alert Level 1, and things are looking up for events and tourism. It is going to take some time for the industry to rebuild itself and, while Travelbags has been very hard hit during the pandemic, we are continuing to remain positive. Travelbags is looking forward to hosting our first event for 2021. Our members and guests have kept us positive and our club going. We have faced challenging times and adapted with online events and meetings, and we are so excited to see everyone in person again! Travelbags will work with like-minded venues and suppliers and will ensure top safety for all guests in attendance by following strict Covid-19 protocols. Travelbags is hoping for a positive 2021 in which we can look forward to improved all-round health,

happiness and more exciting events and experiences for all our supporters. We will be joining in the virtual World Travel Market 2021, which we are so excited to be part of. Together, as an industry, we will fight through these hard times and come out on the other side stronger and wiser, and move beyond the adverse impact of the pandemic, to better times. The best is yet to come.

While Travelbags has been very hard hit during the pandemic, we are continuing to remain positive MEETINGS l MARCH/APRIL 2021 •



Looking back on the year that defined the industry, is there anything we could have done differently, ponders Miss Meet.

In hindsight A

year in lockdown has been a game changer – not just for the business events industry but for the whole world. Many of us have lost loved ones to the Covid-19 pandemic, while others have faced personal hardship as they battle to make ends meet in the face of financial uncertainty… not to mention how our day-to-day lives have been impacted. And the one thing we all own now that seemed preposterous before 2020? A face mask. While we are seeing the beginnings of an upturn as vaccinations start to offer a degree of protection against the virus and the global economy slowly stabilises, the losses we have experienced, particularly those of lives, can never be recovered, but could they have been avoided? The likes of Bill Gates and Barrack Obama may be inclined to think so; both were advocating for the implementation of measures to safeguard


our populations against the devastating effects of a pandemic long before the virus hit. It wasn’t the predictions of a magic crystal ball that they were acting on but the findings of science.

BE PREPARED – TOGETHER It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of complacency and turn a blind eye to the potential threats; however, the year gone by should be a lesson to us all – we must be aware of the possible perils and pitfalls we may face and ensure we put in place measures to minimise all of these risks. We need to follow the science and identify credible sources of information… and no, your very opinionated aunt broadcasting her pearls of wisdom on Facebook doesn’t count! With all the marvels of modern medicine, before 2020, the idea of a pandemic on the

Barmotion OBC

Johannesburg Expo Centre

Cape Town ICC

Monte De Dios

Emperors Palace Fancourt Hotel


scale of Covid-19 seemed to be somewhat abstract, and perhaps something more suited to Hollywood (think 2011’s Contagion). Yet, it happened, and it should highlight to us that there are other very real threats that we can and must pay attention to, one of the most serious being climate change. Scientists say that the rate at which global ocean levels are currently rising exceeds their ‘worst case scenario’ models. This isn’t something out of the movies; this is our reality, and if we do not start changing our behaviour to adequately prepare for what is quite clearly looming on the horizon, we will find ourselves in serious trouble. The MICE industry can play a vital role in driving discussions that will safeguard the well-being of our world and its people for many generations to come. Let’s identify those discussions and ensure they take place! .

IFC 25 8


Northern Cape Tourism Authority


Sun International



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