Meetings May June 2023

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The perfect out-of-town venue

Africa’s BIG FIVE conference destinations

ADVENTURE TOURISM: SA’s sleeping giant

5 HOT TRENDS for exhibition stands

R55.00 (incl. VAT) ISSN 1684-9264
MAY/JUNE 2023 • Issue 107


The Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch is the premium business hotel in Johannesburg providing state- of-the -art business facilities within the Melrose Arch Precinct Featuring 306 rooms and suites, including a contingent of sharing rooms, the venue is ideal for groups

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us on For an extended stay, the Marriott Executive Apartments Melrose Arch offers premium, fully serviced apartment living within the Melrose Arch Precinct. Feel perfectly at home in your choice of one -, two - or three -bedroom apartments complete with a fully equipped kitchen, dining area and lounge designed for comfort, convenience and style. At African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, Autograph Collection , we welcome guests to the Melrose Arch lifestyle development Wrapped in five-star chic and allowing access to exclusive experiences that our surroundings offer – a glorious space to stay, eat, play and shop Enjoy star-studded glamour during your stay at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Johannesburg Melrose Arch Unwind in your lavish room inspired by iconic Hollywood A-listers and revel in some star treatment in the sought-after Melrose Arch Precinct. *Not applicable to Marriott Executive Apartments. Only applicable on group accommodation at African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection Hotel


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06 BLAAUWBERG BEACH HOTEL: THE PERFECT OUT-OF-TOWN VENUE Blaauwberg Beach Hotel, with its fresh, contemporary interior, has a lot to offer to business and leisure guests. Not only is it set on Bloubergstrand, a pristine and certified Blue Flag beach, but the views from the 140 bedrooms are to die for. Discover this Western Cape jewel with Meetings


2023 The recent WTM Africa show held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre broke attendance records with over 8 300 visitors, making it the most successful WTM Africa to date.


The highly successful Africa’s Travel Indaba in May gave Durban a huge financial injection and created a fantastic showcase for all that South Africa and the continent has to offer in the tourism sector.


The sixth Hotel & Hospitality Show, hosted by dmg events and Kaoun International, recently took place at the Sandton Convention Centre. The vibrant show left both exhibitors and visitors inspired.


South Africa’s adventure tourism offering has everything it needs to become a magnet for international tourists – particularly those looking for fresh and rewarding options for incentive travel.

21 BELONGING: THE NEW BUZZWORD Conference delegates want to feel a sense of belonging when attending an event. This is a trend that has surfaced after the pandemic and that event organisers are paying attention to in 2023.

23 THE BIG FIVE: AFRICA’S CONFERENCING CROWN JEWELS Five prominent cities have been nominated as Africa’s leading meetings and conference destinations in the 2023 World Travel Awards. Meetings explores what each city can offer the MICE industry.

26 SKILLS TRAINING: THE CALLING Working in the stand-building contractors’ industry can be tough, but it is a highly creative and exciting environment. Gill Gibbs shares more about some of the local training available and how the industry can open the door for the next generation.

28 SHOWCASING THE EVENTS INDUSTRY TO THE YOUTH EXSA recently joined forces with the Services SETA to communicate the message to high school learners that they could have an exciting and fulfilling career in the events industry, and how to achieve this dream.


29 Steering MICE to sustainability

30 The taboos of greenwashing and greenhushing


32 ANEW Hotel Centurion: from ordinary to extraordinary

34 MSC Splendida


@theplannerguru The Planner @theplannerguru the-planner-guru
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06 15 12 23 37 32
POINTS 40 AIPC 41 EGF & AAXO 42 EXSA & SAACI 43 SACIA REGULARS 03 Ed’s comment 04 Tidbits 44 Off the record

Managing Editor Lizette Jonker (

Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders

Head of Design Beren Bauermeister

Design Lizette Jonker

Contributors Lee-Ann Alder, Sven Bossu, Gill Gibbs, Justin Hawes, Glenton de Kock, Hannelie du Toit, Kevan Jones, Devi Paulsen-Abbott, Morwesi Ramonyai, Bonnie Smith

Production & Client Liaison Manager

Antois-Leigh Nepgen

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Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham

Advertising Vanessa Bisschoff +27 (0)84 805 6752 |


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Meetings MAY/JUNE 2023

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ISSN 1684-9264

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The MICE industry joins hands with SA Tourism



The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust, providing accurate and comparable circulation figures that protect the way advertising is traded. Meetings

The role of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in the global economy should not be underestimated. This was the message from the recently held panel discussion at the Global Exhibitions Day (GED), held at Gallagher Estate in Gauteng, organised by AAXO, EXSA and SA Tourism. It was inspiring to listen to the panel of experts unpacking the critical conversation on how the South African MICE industry contributes directly to tourism. Nomasonto Ndlovu, acting chief convention bureau officer and COO at South African Tourism, highlighted that events play an essential role in terms of South African social development. She also recognised the role the events industry plays in marketing South Africa as an attractive tourist destination. Event greening was discussed by Morwesi Ramonyai, chairperson of the Event Greening Forum. This has become non-negotiable for South Africa as well as the global community interested in bringing their events to our shores. She argued that the process of moving towards sustainable events would lead to job creation too, as we invest in greener facilities going forward.


• Adventure tourism emerged as one of the biggest tourism trends, and South Africa is jam-packed with opportunities

for adrenaline-hungry travellers. The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association shares a list of thrilling adventures that can be experienced across all nine provinces.

• It is always exciting to feature a postevent report of a fabulous convention or show recently held. We have no fewer than three reports in this issue – WTM Africa 2023, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 and Hotel & Hospitality 2023.

• Job creation is of utmost importance in our country: we talk to two industry experts about various ways to open doors to the next generation.

• We discuss greenwashing and greenhushing, and how TMCs steer business travellers toward greener choices. Enjoy this issue and please follow us on our social media platforms. Hope to see you at an exhibition or meeting!

is ABC audited and certified. ED’S LETTER
Left to right: Nomasonto Ndlovu, acting chief convention bureau officer and COO at South African Tourism; Projeni Pather, immediate past chairperson and spokesperson for the Association of African Exhibition Organisers; Morwesi Ramonyai, chairperson of the Event Greening Forum; Justin Hawes, managing director at Scan Display; and Noluthando Mthonti, media personality and discussion moderator

Boardwalk helps Gqeberha learners get ahead with careers in catering

Five 2021 matriculants can start their careers after graduating recently with National Certificates in Professional Cookery from the International Hotel School, thanks to a bursary from Boardwalk Hotel and Casino in Gqeberha. Two of the students – Yolanda Gelebha and Yamkela Vena – will complete a six-month internship at Sugar Beach Resort in Mauritius. It will be their first international trip and they are thrilled to gain experience in the kitchen of the hotel. The other three – Yonela Chophela, Ntombizanele Mthunzini and Bulelwa Nogqala – will immediately start working as permanent employees at Boardwalk.

“It is extremely heartwarming to hear these youngsters’ stories, and realise their resilience. To say that we are proud of them all is an understatement,” says Nopinkie Jacobs, HR manager at Boardwalk Hotel and Casino.

“Boardwalk is an important corporate citizen in Nelson Mandela Bay and we are pleased to play a role in empowering youngsters to become gainfully employed in the hospitality industry,” says Tati Tsunke, GM at Boardwalk Hotel and Casino.

Erinvale joins the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts programme

Erinvale Estate Hotel and Spa in the Helderberg region of the Cape Winelands has been included in the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts programme.

American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts is one of the world’s leading luxury accommodation programmes, giving their Platinum Card Members access to exceptional benefits at over 2 000 hand-picked hotels in beautiful destinations across the globe. GM Debbie-Lee Cockrell says it’s a proud moment for the entire team.

“Last year, Erinvale received its five-star grading, won the Best Historic Resort Award at the 2022 Historic Hotels Worldwide Annual Awards of Excellence Ceremony, and joined the Preferred Hotels & Resorts L.V.X Collection. It’s been an incredible journey for the team, and inclusion into American Express’ exclusive collection is another reason to celebrate. It’s a reflection of the team’s commitment to service and excellence – and a great way to introduce Erinvale, Somerset West and the Helderberg Wine Region to international guests.”

For more information or bookings, please contact

Hydrogen and electric aircraft for airports by 2050

According to a new white paper from the World Economic Forum, airport infrastucture would need upgrades to meet the demand from hydrogen and electric aircraft in 2050. These aircraft could require 600-1 700 terawatt hours (TWh) of clean energy, which would be the energy produced by a solar farm half the size of Belgium. It is estimated that hydrogen and electric planes could account for 21-38% of flights by 2050.

“The aviation sector must make key investments in its infrastructure now if it wants to reach its net-zero target by 2050,” says David Hyde, lead: Aerospace Projects, World Economic Forum. “Given that the share of aviation’s global warming impact is set to rise significantly if action is not taken, the sector must consider all the options available for decarbonisation. This includes preparing to use aircraft that are powered by carbon-free fuels at scale.”

The first elements of on-airport infrastructure must be in place by 2025 to meet the expected energy demand. Most airports have space for hydrogen liquefaction and storage infrastructure but not enough land to generate all of the clean energy needed to power battery-electric and hydrogen aircraft. Shifting to alternative propulsion will require capital investment of between US$700 billion (R1.33 trillion) and $1.7 trillion (R32.43 trillion) across the value chain by 2050.


The vision of Ola Tours, an Angolan tour operator, is to promote Angola as a tourist destination, and ultimately to make this beautiful and undiscovered country the best tourist destination on the African continent. Angola has much to offer the adventurous traveller – from the glorious Namib Desert and all the natural wonders and culture it offers to the rich waterways and wetlands, and the pristine beaches that attract 4x4 enthusiasts from all over the world.

Ola Tours offers complete all-inclusive packages, including accommodation, flights, food and day tours to different destinations in Angola. Tour guides are

multilingual and tours are conducted in English, French, German, Portuguese and Russian.

“We value culture, the environment and social responsibility, and we encourage our tour clients to donate some nonperishable goods to the disadvantaged,” advises owner Kelvin John.

The possibilities are endless, but Ola Tours recommends the following popular packages:

• Fishing Tours

• Adventure Tours

• Culture/historic Tours

• Golf and Beach Tours.

Contact Kelvin at +244 940 818 664 or visit the website COVER STORY

IMEX Frankfurt rewarding for Team SA

South Africa’s MICE industry was marketed to the utmost on the South Africa stand at this year’s IMEX Frankfurt trade fair. During the three-day gathering, many hosted buyers engaged with the South African exhibitors discussing potential opportunities for meetings and exhibitions in the country.

“There is magic in face-to-face connection. This is why the Covid-19 pandemic was so devastating to our sector. Bespoke networking events, where we get to understand client needs, are so important,” says Zinhle Nzama, acting chief convention bureau officer at the SANCB, a business unit of South African Tourism.

The SANCB team also met with various clients planning business events that are already in the pipeline for South Africa over the next year or two. One of these meetings was with a UK-based organiser bringing an international medical conference to South Africa in September. The conference attracts 700 delegates with an estimated economic impact pegged at close to R18 million. The conference will also include various legacy programmes focusing on key areas of need for the South African medical sector.

“Attracting conferences like this to South Africa assists with creating a lasting impact in key areas of need and showcases our country’s world-class expertise in different sectors,” concludes Nzama.

Prioritise your wellness during the cooler months at The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg, an iconic five-star hotel overlooking the ocean, has introduced a Royal Breakaway & Wellness package offering guests the opportunity for quality downtime in an idyllic setting during the cooler months.

The Royal Breakaway & Wellness package includes luxurious accommodation and a bottle of wine on arrival, as well as a delicious breakfast the next morning, served in the privacy of your own room or in The Restaurant. In addition, the package includes credit to be used in the spa or restaurant.

A wide range of skin and body treatments are available at The Fresh Wellness Spa, including touch therapies and spa packages. The ocean on your doorstep offers healthy cold-water therapy but you can also take the plunge in your choice of the hotel’s two swimming pools, one of which is heated all year round. Explore the Robberg Nature Reserve on foot or discover the new Plett Camino route. The Plett Trails app offers a comprehensive guide to all the hiking trails of the area.

World-class cuisine is served at The Restaurant, where Head Chef Kyle Macaskill makes it easy for those who like to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even while on holiday.


Best villages can be nominated for UNWTO award

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is running its third annual edition of its Best Tourism Villages award. The closing date for applications will be on 23 June 2023 and the winners will be announced later this year.

The applications are evaluated by an independent International Advisory Board consisting of experts in different fields (cultural and natural resources preservation,

sustainability, tourism product development, marketing, value chain, etc.) based on nine areas, including sustainability, infrastructure, connectivity and tourism value chain integration.

Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO was launched in 2021 in an effort to make tourism a driver of rural development and well-being.

To date, over 70 villages from almost 40 countries have been recognised as Best Tourism

Villages. A further 40 have been selected to participate in the Upgrade Programme, where they benefit from expert mentorship and networking opportunities.

The winners of the 2022 UNWTO Best Tourism Villages award were:

• Zell am See, Austria

• Wagrain, Austria

• Puqueldón, Chile

• Dazhai, China

• Jingzhu, China

• Choachí, Colombia

• Aguarico, Ecuador

• Angochagua, Ecuador

• Choke Mountains Ecovillage, Ethiopia

• Mestia, Georgia

• Kfar Kama, Israel

• Sauris-Zahre, Italy

• Isola del Giglio, Italy

• Umm Qais, Jordan

• Creel, Mexico

• El Fuerte, Mexico

• Ksar Elkhorbat, Morocco

• Moulay Bouzerktoune, Morocco

• Lamas, Peru

• Raqchi, Peru

• Castelo Novo, Portugal

• Pyeongsa-ri, Republic of Korea

• Rasinari, Romania

• AlUla Old Town, Saudi Arabia

• Bohinj, Slovenia

• Rupit, Spain

• Alquézar, Spain

• Guadalupe, Spain

• Murten, Switzerland

• Andermatt, Switzerland

• Birgi, Türkiye

• Thái Hải, Vietnam. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 5 Meetings’ must-know minutiae
Andermatt, Switzerland Isola del Giglio, Italy Mestia, Georgia Zell am See, Austria

Blaauwberg Beach Hotel is the perfect out-of-town venue at which to spend your holiday, host your next business event or even experience a team breakaway.


Blaauwberg Beach Hotel, with its fresh, contemporary interior, has a lot to offer to business as well as leisure guests. Not only is it set on Bloubergstrand, a pristine and certified Blue Flag beach, but the views from the 140 bedrooms are to die for. From each of the bedrooms, guests can gaze out over the vast Atlantic Ocean and admire magnificent Table Mountain or the historic Robben Island. Most of the rooms offer private balconies.

With the comfort of every guest in mind, all rooms are equipped with amenities such as robes, complimentary Wi-Fi, an interactive smart television, tea and coffee facilities (including an espresso pod coffee machine), an iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, as well as an in-room safe. Load-shedding is never a headache here, as there is power in all public areas and rooms during blackout times.


For the perfect dining experience, all guests are invited to enjoy a meal at Waves Restaurant, our Italian-inspired eatery, located on the ground floor of the hotel. Pebbles Gin & Cocktail Lounge, situated on the first floor, is open seven days a week and offers an array of speciality gins and cocktails along with local beers. With its ‘Tickle Those Tastebuds’ menu, Pebbles is the perfect place to unwind, relax and take in the beautiful sunset across Table Bay each evening. Follow our social media pages for information on specials and events.


With a great offering of 11 different function spaces, all with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the breathtaking Table Mountain, Blaauwberg Beach Hotel is also the perfect destination for conferences or private

celebrations throughout the year. Our venues are designed to inspire and offer an alternative to the conferencing norm. Let our team of skilled planners tailor event packages to your needs, for meetings of eight people to large conferences with up to 180 delegates.


The hotel’s lifestyle centre is also the place to pamper yourself. Enjoy a spa package or a couple’s massage in the relaxing atmosphere of Ohana Beauty & Wellness, where you can experience the art of healing and restored vitality with our thoughtfully selected treatments. Visit the juice bar, the well-equipped gym or our friends at William Roberts Hair Salon. Take a dip in the heated swimming pool or spend some time in the jacuzzi while listening to the waves crashing on the shoreline just a few steps away.


As one of the world’s most beloved tourist destinations, Cape Town has a lot to offer to Blaauwberg Beach Hotel guests. The surrounding area boasts several amazing dining options, with local restaurants and bars just a stone’s throw away.

The hotel is also situated close to the best of Cape Town’s shopping destinations, such as Century City and the V&A Waterfront, with the Cape Town CBD 30 minutes away. No introduction is needed to the renowned Cape wine farms for tastings or al fresco lunches overlooking vineyards and mountains. The Swartland and Durbanville wine routes are just around the corner. For the slightly more adventurous types, there are stunning hiking trails, quad biking experiences and, of course, wind and kite surfing literally on our doorstep. The airport is less than 28 minutes away and you have easy access up the West Coast –with its quaint coastal towns such as Paternoster and Darling and into the magical floral kingdom of Namaqualand.

Blaauwberg Beach Hotel is the perfect out-oftown venue for your next holiday, business event or team breakaway. It is our mission to help you create exceptional memories. Next time you are heading to Cape Town and perhaps looking for a break from the city centre, keep Blaauwberg Beach Hotel in mind, where “life’s a beach seven days a week”.

#BLAAUWBERGBEACHHOTEL BlaauwbergBeachHotel blaauwberg-beach-hotel blaauwbergbeachhotel


The 2023 edition of World Travel Market (WTM) Africa in the host city of Cape Town recently came to an end with a record-breaking attendance. Over 8 300 visitors from 100 countries attended the event.

The recent WTM Africa show held at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) broke attendance records with over 8 300 visitors (compared to more than 6 000 visitors in 2022), making it the most successful WTM Africa to date. There were six networking events, over 9 500 prescheduled appointments, and close to 200 speakers sharing their expertise with attendees.

Beyond the buzz on the show floor, WTM Africa’s bolt-on events were standout features of the show. This includes the Responsible Tourism Awards/Conference and Sustainability Village that offered a space where industry players could share ideas and experiences on responsible tourism practices, highlighting the growing commitment to sustainability in Africa's tourism industry.

“It’s remarkable to see how small changes can have such a big impact. From eco-friendly accommodations to community-based tourism initiatives, each winner has shown that sustainability is not only achievable but also profitable. Your success stories are a testament to the fact that responsible tourism is the way forward,” commented Megan Oberholzer, portfolio director: Travel, Tourism & Marketing, RX Africa.


The current skills gap in the tourism industry was high on the agenda, as was the future of small businesses, with WTM Africa asking a key question: How can small travel and tourism businesses become big ones?

Velma Corcoran, regional lead: Middle East Africa, Airbnb, raised the point that of the 11 million jobs by 2030 – as laid out by the National Development Plan – it is estimated that nine million of those jobs are expected from SMMEs. Two million of these will be from the often overlooked informal sector.

The youth has an important part to play when addressing the skills gap. To that end, WTM Africa introduced a new programme – dubbed Leaders of Tomorrow – aimed at educating young people about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the future of work and society. This programme was organised by Katie King, UK author of AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing

The students of Manenberg Secondary School and Gardens Commercial High School participated in learning sessions delivered by various industry experts, including Katie, Amadeus and Profitroom.


Best for Addressing Climate Change

GOLD: Tourism Authority Mauritius

GOLD: Weeva

Best for Diversity and Inclusion

GOLD: BirdLife South Africa

SILVER: Liveable

Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food

GOLD: Ngwenya Glass

GOLD: Tourism Authority Mauritius

SILVER: Artisans Co Ltd

Best for Meaningful Connections

GOLD: uThando South Africa

SILVER: Happy Soul Adventures

Best for Nature-Positive Tourism

GOLD: Wildlife ACT

SILVER: BirdLife South Africa

ONE TO WATCH: Cape Vulture Lodge

Best for Tackling Plastic Waste

GOLD: Lemala Camps & Lodges




Sustainable travel is gaining traction worldwide, with 69% of travellers looking for eco-friendly options. Unsurprisingly, sustainability was the silver thread throughout the panel discussions and presentations at WTM Africa. The Africa Travel Week Trend Report unpacked how eco-conscious travellers are now opting to travel almost luggage-free and supporting local suppliers by purchasing holiday essentials from them and donating these items to charities and communities before their return flight.

After completing their training, the students participated in a competition where they applied AI to real-world problems impacting the travel industry. The two finalist teams presented their ideas in front of a live audience at the World Travel Market Africa event at the CTICC on 4 April. The judging was done by Katie and Lord Tim ClementJones, co-chair of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence.


A huge success story for Africa has been adventure tourism, as travellers seek to connect with new cultures and landscapes while being physically active. As adventure tourism continues to grow, new products and experiences will be created to transform the travel landscape. This is already evident in rural areas where cultural activities are now included in tour itineraries, bringing new opportunities to those who live there. However, to make sure adventure tourism is a safe experience, a regulatory framework is needed. During a panel discussion at WTM Africa, SATSA announced the release of its adventure tourism self-regulation roadmap and Code of Good Practice documents for public comment. The draft selfregulation documents were developed in consultation with industry stakeholders and aim to provide a framework for adventure tourism operators to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner while promoting growth and development in the adventure tourism industry.

The winning team from Manenberg Secondary School considered how AI could be applied to enhance three different forms of sustainability in the tourism industry: economical, ecological, and cultural/social. Their project examined each of these areas in depth and considered the impacts that technology could improve profits, the planet and the lives of people. The group is the programme’s third winners and the first international winners.

Lord Clement-Jones was very impressed by the winning team. “The ideas of these young students never cease to amaze. I was very impressed by all of the projects submitted, but the winning project was a real standout for me. A well-rounded AI approach is one that considers impacts not just on profits, but also on humans and the environment. These young people kept that at the idea and managed to come up with applications that were both impressive and feasible. I would certainly love to see some of their ideas come to life someday!” he said.



Another interesting trend revealed at WTM Africa is that Netflix has become an important promoter of tourism and travel. Exposure to content featuring South Africa on the platform has made viewers 3.1 times more likely to consider it as a top travel destination. This has led to the emergence of niche tourism offerings like marine safaris and kelp forest snorkelling.

Next year’s event promises to be even bigger and better. Under the theme ‘Your Journey Starts Here’, it will focus on experiential travel, which is set to be the next big thing in Africa.


Inclusivity ranked high on the agenda this year. Panel discussions addressed the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ travellers and discussed how the travel community and professionals could better support them and relook marketing efforts to attract them to their destinations.

WTM Africa 2024 is scheduled to take place from 10 to 12 April 2024 at the CTICC, while ILTM Africa will take place from 7 to 9 April 2024 at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.


Accessibility – 16% of the world's population live with disabilities and this is an untapped tourism market. Safaris and other travel experiences are becoming more accessible to people with disabilities, with a multisensory approach that capitalises on other senses like hearing, smelling, and tasting.


The new luxury traveller is younger and is interested in personalised travel experiences.

7 Faith-based tourism, where travellers visit destinations that are significant to their religions.


The rising popularity of digital nomad tourism, where people live and work remotely at their travel destination. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 9
Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille Katie King, UK author of AI Strategy for Sales and Marketing


The highly successful Africa’s Travel Indaba in May gave Durban a huge financial injection and created a fantastic showcase for all that South Africa and the continent has to offer in the tourism sector.

The 2023 edition of the Travel Indaba significantly outperformed last year’s event, boasting an impressive 21 000 meetings compared to a mere 13 000 in 2022, according to Zinhle Nzama, acting chief convention bureau officer at the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB).


The event – hosted by Durban Tourism, KwaZuluNatal Tourism, South African Tourism and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) – gave the city of Durban a wonderful boost.

“We are likely to exceed our projections for Africa’s Travel Indaba, which contributes significantly to the Durban GDP (estimated at R130 million), hotel and non-hotel occupancy (at 80%) and actual spending (amounting to R78 million), resulting in the creation of 250 job opportunities,” Winne Mntungwa, deputy head of Durban Tourism, revealed.

Mntungwa emphasised that the experience of hosting the event in Durban was profound. “Indaba is a mega event for the city, providing immeasurable exposure to the world.”

She also revealed Durban’s exciting plans, including:

• establishing an international film city

• a new shopping centre (West Town)

• a mixed-use development

• efforts to enhance cruise tourism

• the revival of the Waterfront Point Development.
Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille


Phindile Makwakwa, COO at KwaZulu-Natal Tourism, is eagerly anticipating Durban becoming the permanent home of Indaba. She expressed confidence in the partnership between Durban ICC, the City of Durban, Tourism KZN and South African Tourism, emphasising that they have been putting their “best foot forward.”

Makwakwa highlighted the ongoing project of hosting buyers before and after the panAfrican event, allowing them to experience the best KwaZulu-Natal and already “yielding substantial benefits”.

John Aritho, COO at Durban ICC, expressed his admiration for South African Tourism. He shared the good news that there were zero incidents of security breaches or crimes throughout the duration of the pan-African trade show. He also announced that the Hilton Hotel, located within the convention centre precincts and closed during Covid, will reopen in time for next year’s edition of the event.

He also mentioned that the ICC is currently reimagining the precincts to include restaurants and other amenities essential for hosting conferences of the ICC’s magnitude. “We aim to be a 52-week establishment.”


Speaking during the official opening on Tuesday, Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille expressed her commitment to collaborating with counterparts across the continent to address visa processing issues. De Lille also announced the addition of 20 more countries to the South African e-visa regime.

“Our goal is to establish a unified visa system across the continent, ensuring seamless travel


The 2023 Africa’s Travel Indaba was a phenomenal success, surpassing all projections:

8 629 delegates

286 products showcased 250 job opportunities created by the event

21 000 meetings between exhibitors and international buyers hosted

1 737 international buyers

80% hotel and non-hotel occupancy in Durban during the event

1 023 exhibitors

21 African countries participated

6 000 daily meals served over four days

for visitors between countries. Simplifying the e-visa application process and reducing visa costs are essential steps in making Africa an attractive destination for both Africans and international travellers,” she emphasised.

Minister De Lille released the tourism performance data for the first quarter of 2023, which revealed significant progress. According to the statistics, Q1 2023 witnessed an impressive 2.1 million visitors, marking a 102.5% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Africa led the way, with 1.6 million arrivals, followed by Europe, with 387 000 visitors, and the Americas, with 104 000 visitors.

Domestic overnight trips exceeded both prepandemic and 2022 levels by 41%. Additionally, overnight domestic spending saw a notable increase of 24.4% compared to Q1 2022. However, the total number of nights spent away from home reached 27.9 million, reflecting a 32.9% increase over the same period in 2022. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 11 #AFRICA’STRAVELINDABA


The two popular competitions associated with the show – the 2023 Global Pizza Challenge (South African leg) and the 2023 Southern Africa Housekeepers League of Champions – were well attended by participants and their supportive fans. Both competitions stretched over the entire three days of the show and brought an electric atmosphere to the Sandton Convention Centre. The interesting programme with panel discussions by industry experts also saw a solid turnout.


“The Hotel & Hospitality Show connects brands and bolsters networking opportunities across Africa’s hospitality market,” said Evan Schiff, group event director at dmg events.

“The turnout this year indicates confidence in the industry and the desire to keep doing business, better than ever.”

The sixth Hotel & Hospitality Show , hosted by dmg events and Kaoun International, recently took place at the Sandton Convention Centre. The vibrant show left exhibitors and visitors inspired.

Participation in international travel trade shows also puts brands on the map. “Events like the Hotel & Hospitality Show help to promote new business,” Graham Wood, COO of Sun International, commented.

Schiff and Jeff Blackbeard, regional director: Africa and Middle East for Moore Global, confirmed how important big events have been in the global hospitality market’s recovery overall. Even though there are challenges, the industry feels confident and optimistic about the future.


Collaboration can create immense success. This is particularly true in the township economy if leveraging off each other to create a value chain. According to Wendy Alberts of the Restaurant Association of South Africa, there is immense local talent


CATEGORY 1 (Graded properties 1-2 star hotels and BnBs)

Winner: Sun1 Pretoria

1st Runner-up: Stay Easy Pretoria

2nd Runner-up: Stay Easy Eastgate

CATEGORY 2 (Graded properties 3-4 star hotels and BnBs)

Winner: Southern Sun OR Tambo

1st Runner-up: Riverside Sun

2nd Runner-up: Garden Court OR Tambo

CATEGORY 3 (Graded properties 5 star and boutique hotels)

Winner: Sandton Sun

1st Runner-up: Sandton Towers

2nd Runner-up: 54 on Bath

Winner Independent Hotel: Manhattan Hotel Pretoria

Winner Newcomer: Mint Express Melrose View

Most Improved: Ekuthuleni Guest House


and an opportunity to combine passion and community upliftment. She noted how important it is to remove reliance on landlords and government to fund progress. “We need people to invest time and energy towards self-sufficiency and sustainability. If everyone contributes, everyone benefits,” she said.


This competition, in its 14th year, is endorsed by the South African Chefs Association (SACA) and open to all individual pizza makers – from stand-alone pizzerias, restaurants and takeaway outlets to hotels.

This year’s 20 finalists, chosen from recipe entries, were invited for the cook-off at the Hotel & Hospitality Show. The audience could sample the pizzas every day. The judges included Martin Kobald (vice president of Worldchefs), Chef Jeff Schueremans (Academy of Chefs), Chef Trevor Boyd (group executive chef for City Lodge Group), and Chef James Khoza (executive chef at Sandton Convention Centre and current president of the South African Chefs Association). Other judges were members of the Academy of Chefs.

• OVERALL WINNER of the Global Pizza Challenge South Africa 2023: Chef Tracey Norton from City Lodge Hotels Limited

• The winner of the Best Vegan/Vegetarian Pizza: Azhar Mohamed

• The winner of the Best use of Soweto Hot Sauce: Jaco van den Berg (student at Capsicum school)

• Luayys Alvarado, eight-year-old son of Chef Zana, won the prize for The Most Inspiring Chef

Bheki Twala, president of the Township Economy Chamber of Commerce & Industry, encouraged enhanced professionalism. “It’s crucial to instil a professional approach – from the parking attendant to the hotel desk, to the bartender. Excellent service leads to repeat business,” he emphasised.

By incorporating top service, local culture and through using technology, hospitality establishments can provide guests with a genuine and meaningful experience, fostering a sense of connection and increasing visitor satisfaction.


Next year, the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa and Africa’s Big 7 will join forces with renowned trade show brand in the global interiors industry INDEX Africa , to bring you one of the largest retail food, hotel, hospitality and design events Africa has ever seen.

“Through continued strengthening of the industry at tailored events and concerted efforts from stakeholders, Africa can position itself as a premier destination, offering exceptional hospitality experiences,” Schiff concluded.

For more information on the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa and to download the latest Hospitality Confidence Index, visit

Luxury Accommodation • Five Star Conference Facilities Eco-Education & Spa Facilities Community Development Central Reservations for Convention & Individual bookings: Tel: +27 (0) 11 466 8715 Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8816 E-mail:
on your holiday this year
the sun go down


South Africa’s adventure tourism offering has everything


According to a recent trend report by Africa Travel Week, adventure tourism holds immense potential for the country’s broader tourism market. With adrenaline junkies worldwide eyeing Africa for heart-pumping experiences, the global adventure tourism market is projected to reach an astounding US$1 169.09 billion (R23.13 trillion) by 2028, as forecasted by Allied Market Research.

Hannelie du Toit, COO at Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), agrees

it needs to become a magnet for international tourists – particularly those looking for fresh and rewarding options for incentive
Hannelie du Toit, COO, SATSA

with this. “Adventure tourism is the fastest-growing subsector of tourism. It is our sleeping giant! With our abundance of activities, rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and excellent climate, there is great potential for adventure tourism in South Africa.”

In fact, according to Du Toit, we are sitting on a goldmine, and adventure tourism is a perfect fit for our country’s economic and employment goals. It is resilient to natural and political setbacks and attracts big-spending travellers. “Plus, it’s a win-win situation because it empowers rural communities, opens up job opportunities and promotes regional collaboration,” she continues.


South Africa isn’t new to the game of adventure travel. In 1927, the first three vehicles, carrying a dozen visitors, entered the Kruger National Park. The adventure tourism industry began building momentum in the 1980s, with activities like white-water rafting, shark cage diving and bungee jumping gaining popularity.

The launch of the famous Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump in 1997, which held the title of ‘the world’s highest commercial bungee jump’ at the time, further solidified South Africa’s reputation as a premier destination for adrenaline-fueled pursuits. And our industry is continually evolving in response to trends and changing tourist values. For example, the award-winning My Octopus Teacher documentary has spawned a thriving kelp-diving and tidal pool tour industry in the chilly waters of the Western Cape.

It is clear many tourists are always looking for new, exciting destinations and, with its

Adventure tourism is the fastest-growing subsector of tourism. It is our sleeping giant! With our abundance of activities, rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and excellent climate, there is great potential for adventure tourism in South Africa.”

TOP 10


Thrilling adventure tourism offerings in South Africa’s provinces.

1 LIMPOPO Ziplining

Waterberg Zipline tours, nestled amid the rugged wilderness between BelaBela and Modimolle, beckon the intrepid adventurer. This exhilarating escapade boasts 10 heart-pounding slides spanning 70 m to 230 m for a wild ride, zipping over the tree canopies for two to three hours.

2 MPUMALANGA Canyoning

Canyoning, also known as ‘kloofing’, is a thrilling adventure that involves hiking, jumping into pools, swimming, scrambling over rocks, climbing, abseiling down waterfalls and cheering in excitement. On a kloofing expedition, experience the stunning Panorama Route in Mpumalanga and make the most of the breathtaking scenery.

3 GAUTENG Via Ferrata hiking

Conquer Africa’s only Via Ferrata: ascend Magaliesberg summit for stunning 360-degree views, then abseil down the cliff face on a thrilling 100 m double pitch descent. The term via ferrata translates to ‘iron road’. It refers to a mountain climbing route equipped with ladders, steps and cables strategically placed along the path, providing accessibility to seasoned and general mountain hikers.

4 NORTH WEST Hang-gliding

Experience tandem hang-gliding over the magnificent Magaliesberg mountain range. Towed by a microlight from Aviators’ Paradise near Brits, soar to 2 000 feet before gliding back down, revelling in breathtaking views. Stay snug and secure in a comfortable harness as you soar through the sky.

5 FREE STATE White-water rafting

Thanks to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, the Ash River from the Rooiberg range near Clarens offers year-round whitewater excitement. Along with experienced river guides, you’ll conquer the Ash River’s exhilarating class 3 and 4 rapids. During the three-hour rafting trip, you’ll have many opportunities to admire the beautiful scenery and diverse birdlife.


KWAZULU-NATAL Foil surfing

Foil surfing involves riding surfboard with a hydrofoil instead of a fin, allowing the board to soar above the water. KwaZuluNatal’s coastline and warm waters are ideal for foil surfing and kiteboarding.

7 EASTERN CAPE Scuba diving

The Eastern Cape boasts 800 km of pristine coastline and abundant scuba diving opportunities. The Sardine Run captivates adventure seekers in winter as millions of sardines migrate along the Wild Coast. This phenomenon attracts thousands of birds, game fish and sharks, creating a thrilling spectacle. Dolphins join the frenzy, herding the sardines into balls and feasting on them at the surface. It makes for a unique diving experience.


4x4 tours

The Northern Cape can be aptly described as rugged and perfectly complements the thrill of 4x4ing. From the untamed and desolate West Coast to the striking red dunes of the Kalahari, this terrain presents unparalleled opportunities for exhilarating 4x4 adventures in South Africa.

9 WESTERN CAPE Shark cage diving

Shark cage diving offers an exciting opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring great white shark up close, making it a top choice for visitors to Cape Town. The experience combines the exhilaration of locking eyes with these majestic predators and marvelling at their sheer beauty.

10 LIMPOPO Walking safari

Safari experiences now offer an extra thrill by incorporating adrenalineinducing activities. These can include guided walking safaris led by highly trained experts. Additionally, there are safaris that focus on conservation efforts, involving activities like assisting in tracking and tagging wildlife for veterinary or research purposes in game reserves. Africa on Foot Wilderness Trails is located in the Maseke Balule Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger, situated between Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa in Limpopo. Each day of your walking safari is spent walking through the 8 000 hectare reserve in the Greater Kruger Park, and each night is spent at a new, fully setup mobile campsite in a scenic location. A professional Africa on Foot trained guide and tracker team will lead an informative, thrilling and unforgettable walk in the wild. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 17

diverse landscapes, South Africa has much to offer. But SATSA is asking the question: how do we spread the love so that the entire industry reaps the benefits?

A University of Johannesburg study showed that the Western Cape, KwaZuluNatal and Gauteng had the biggest geographical distribution of adventure tourism operators by province, and operator numbers are linked to local residents having sufficient disposable income to purchase an adventure tourism product. Other provinces, however, are struggling to attract travellers even

though they have amazing destinations in this market.

This is why we need to promote adventure tourism to international markets with wallets and wanderlust to explore the offerings of Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape, which have higher unemployment rates and lower GDP. All of South Africa’s provinces are gifted potential money spinners in adventure tourism.


The answer, says Du Toit, is to create a database of credible products that we can



1 Research and Plan: Understand the level of physical fitness and skills required for your chosen adventure. Research the destination, climate, safety precautions and necessary equipment.

2 Fitness Preparation: Engage in regular exercise and conditioning to improve your stamina, strength and flexibility, ensuring you’re adequately prepared for the physical demands of the adventure.

3 Seek Professional Guidance: Join organised tours or hire experienced guides who can provide expert instruction, safety measures and local knowledge.

4 Pack Smart: Carry appropriate gear, including comfortable clothing, sturdy footwear and necessary equipment.

5 Embrace the Experience: Be open to new challenges and immerse yourself in the local culture.


achieve through an evidence-led process to demonstrate safety and credibility. “This will help protect our tourists, grow the industry as a whole, and provide authorities and trade unprecedented confidence in products that meet market demands for safe, reliable and exciting customer experiences,” she says.

The local industry is currently confronted with several significant challenges. These include:

• the vulnerability to untrustworthy suppliers

• concerns regarding safety and reliability

• an industry largely fragmented and lacking coordination

• the sector is underrepresented in tourism markets

• there is a pressing need for more cohesive marketing strategies – such as promoting adventure travel opportunities for incentive travel and, as an experience, business travellers can include it in work travel to add a ‘bleisure’ component.

SATSA is playing its part in seeking solutions for the problems the adventure tourism industry in South Africa are facing. “We have created a General Code of Good Practice for Adventure Tourism and are developing standards and training for the industry. We have also identified 101 different adventure activities and will soon launch a #101AdventuresSA campaign,” says Du Toit.


What’s evident is that adventure travel is increasingly popular as an exhilarating escape from the mundane routines of everyday life. It allows individuals to push their boundaries, discover new horizons and create lasting memories. Extreme experiences typically require a higher fitness level and often involve physically demanding activities such as mountaineering, rock climbing or longdistance trekking. They test your endurance, strength and mental resilience.

However, adventurous experiences aren’t all about danger and adrenaline – they are more about getting out of your comfort zone and seeing and experiencing a destination differently. Du Toit believes adventure travel is an excellent choice for team building, events and incentives. It brings people together, strengthens bonds and fosters camaraderie. Outdoor challenges like hiking, rafting and climbing require teamwork, communication and trust, which are vital for effective collaboration. These activities break the routine, push individuals out of their comfort zones and encourage them to face new challenges.

“Conquering obstacles and pushing boundaries creates lasting memories and a sense of accomplishment, fostering a positive team spirit. Adventure travel offers a refreshing change from traditional corporate events, making it a memorable and motivating choice for teams looking to enhance performance,” says Du Toit. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 19 #ADVENTURETOURISM
Adventure travel is an excellent choice for team building, events and incentives. It brings people together, strengthens bonds and fosters camaraderie. Outdoor challenges like hiking, rafting and climbing require teamwork, communication and trust, which are vital for effective collaboration.”

Meetings magazine is a popular B2B title for professionals in the business tourism and business events ecosystems, who need to keep their finger on the pulse of the latest news, trends, expert opinions, thought leader insights, best practices and more. We pride ourselves on having original, relevant and in-demand content – as well as being accessible, being freely available across multiple channels.

What makes Meetings UNIQUE?

It is a leading source of business intelligence for the MICE and business events market;

It is distributed to key industry decision-makers and is ABC audited;

It is accessible through multiple channels: print, newsletters, web, video and social media; Endorsed by several leading industry associations, including AIPC, SAACI, EXSA, AAXO, the PCO Alliance Network and the EGF.


This annual publication is an essential resource for event planners, cataloguing the industry’s leading venues and suppliers in a way that makes it easy to find the perfect solution for your next event. Complemented with handy advice, tips and insights, it’s been dubbed ‘the event planner’s bible’.


Looking for new and exciting

The Incentive Planner is jam-packed with fresh ideas and top tips to turn any incentive trip into a memorable experience. Published annually


The Exhibition Planner is an essential tool for exhibitors. Information is packaged in an easily digestible format addressing the entire process of planning and arranging a show stand, what to do pre-show, during and post-show. Published annually.

the lanner is an easy-to-access resource for MICE professionals who are on the go and need to stay up to date with the latest industry news, current trends and best practices - and South Africa’s leading venues and suppliers are just a quick click away. With a weekly newsletter and strong social media presence, we’ve got you covered.

Vanessa Bisschoff t +27 (0)11 233 2624 c +27 (0)84 805 6752 e +27 (0)11 233 2600 The Planner @theplannerguru @theplannerguru the-planner-guru SCAN FOR FREE NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION TO ADVERTISE EASY WAYS TO SUBSCRIBE3



One of the first event trends we saw emerging after Covid travel and social gathering restrictions were lifted was the fact that people were hungry for physical contact, and they wanted to meet each other in person. Face-to-face meetings on the exhibition stand have become popular as a result, but organisers have also started paying attention to creating personal spaces for delegates.


Inclusivity is not a new concept for event organisers. They already know that their venues should be accessible to those with physical disabilities – from restaurants, restrooms and auditoriums with seating areas for wheelchairs to drop-off points at entrances.

However, the mental and emotional wellness of people should also be taken into consideration. This may include delegates who are not comfortable in crowds and who choose to join events online.


Consider adding a livestream, or posting a video on your website of show activities to include those people who live too far away or might have been too sick to attend. If you do that, you might see them at the next show.

To be more inclusive and create that feeling of being special and belonging somewhere, stands can be designed to have sit-down areas with coffee, or interactive areas with touch screens.

Everybody wants to feel special and included, and short video interviews could be conducted with delegates and posted online (of course with their permission) or you could have a photo booth and email photos with a post-event report to delegates after the show.

Consider screens with captions in different languages to make it easy for all to get the message or understand the brand. After all, we do have 11 official languages in South Africa. Organisers should create spaces for likeminded communities where attendees can congregate and spend time. Live competitions are always exciting at a show and draw attendees.


In 1996, the South African Constitution identified South African Sign Language (SASL) as one of the languages in our country to be promoted and developed. In 2018, SASL became the official language at schools for the hearing impaired in South Africa. SASL development and standardisation started. On 2 May 2023, a historic milestone was reached – National Assembly

approved SASL to become South Africa’s 12th official language. This means the hearing impaired community of our country is a step closer to truly belonging in the workplace.

This news opens up new career possibilities for young people, who could qualify as SASL interpreters. There are a number of very good certificate courses available at tertiary institutions such as Wits University, University of the Free State, North-West University, Stellenbosch University, University of Pretoria, University of KZN and Eden Language Academy.

Meetings asked Carol Weaving, managing director, RX Africa, whether the events industry is ready to embrace SASL as a new language at conferences. “I think as an industry we should have already been having a sign language expert at our live conferences. This of course adds a layer of costs to the budget but could also be a sponsorship opportunity for event organisers and partners to collaborate on.” She adds that registration and event staff would also have to be trained, but that many people want to have this as an additional skill in their armoury. “Furthermore, event organisers and exhibitors who provide sign language interpretation may attract a larger audience and reach a wider market.” MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 21 #MICETRENDS
Conference delegates want to feel a sense of belonging when attending an event. This is a trend that has surfaced after the pandemic and that event organisers are paying attention to in 2023.
Contact us - D o ck Ro a d , V &A Wat e r f r ont Tel : +27 (0)21 418 382 3 venue with a view Unique


Five prominent cities have been nominated as Africa’s leading meetings and conferencing destinations in the 2023 World Travel Awards. Meetings explores what each city can offer the MICE industry.

The nominations of Africa’s leading meetings and conferencing destinations in this year’s World Travel Awards came as no surprise: South Africa’s Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, along with Kigali, Rwanda, and Nairobi, Kenya.


Kenya’s capital city is the only city in the world with a national park, and is one of the biggest cities in East Africa, being the commercial and financial hub of the region. Many exciting plans for development are being implemented in terms of railway lines and highways, and this will boost not only trade in the region but also the socioeconomic welfare of the people.

Conference venues: The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) is a world-renowned conference venue in Nairobi, dominating the skyline with its 28-storey tower. Many hotels in the city also have excellent conference facilities, such as Muthu Sovereign Suites,


The City of Gold – eGoli – is regarded as the financial heartbeat of South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa; South Africa’s only stock exchange, the JSE, is located here. It generates 16% of Mzansi’s GDP. This vibrant city has excellent infrastructure and exciting attractions within the city limits and on its outskirts. A whopping 74% of corporate headquarters can be found here. The greater Johannesburg metropolis covers an area of 2 300 m2, which is larger than New York and London, and as big as Los Angeles.

Kwetu Nairobi Curio Collection by Hilton (reopening in August 2023), and Hotel Central Park & Conference Centre.

Attractions: Visit the Nairobi National Park on the city’s outskirts, the Bomas of Kenya to experience the country’s rich culture, the Karen Blixen Museum, Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Centre (with rescued endangered Rothschild’s giraffes), Mamba Village (ostriches and crocodiles), and Nairobi Railway Museum when in Kenya’s capital city.

Accessibility: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Travellers use shuttles, trains, matatus (minibuses) and Uber/Bolt in the city.

This bustling city is not your average concrete jungle – it has stunning green spaces too. It is well known for its 6 million trees, making it among the largest man-made forests in the world, and has 17 nature reserves, 80 hectares of botanical gardens, 87 hectares of nature trails, 63 hectares of bird sanctuaries, 106 dams and 4 443 hectares of open veld.

Conference venues: The city has numerous very large to smaller conference facilities, including Gallagher Conference Centre, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg Expo Centre, Emperors Palace Convention Centre and the Soweto Conference Centre. The city is also home to numerous hotels with conference facilities.

Attractions: There are many game lodges just outside or close to the city, including the Lion & Safari Park, Dinokeng Reserve, Anne van Dyk Cheetah Centre and Rietvlei Nature Reserve. Numerous game lodges and reserves are one to three hours away from the city, including the Pilanesberg National Park. Recommended: a day tour to Soweto, an outing to the Cradle of Humankind, and a visit to the Johannesburg Botanical Garden or Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden.

Accessibility: Two international airports – O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) and Lanseria International Airport. The Gautrain transports you from ORTIA to Johannesburg, Rosebank or Pretoria. Shuttles, taxis, Gautrain buses and Uber/Bolt rides available.



With its hot and humid subtropical climate, Durban is a popular holiday destination. It has the biggest port in South Africa and the fourth busiest port in the southern hemisphere. The city has 3.7 million inhabitants and looks out over the Indian Ocean.

Conference venues: Durban boasts many large and smaller conference venues, including Durban International Conference Centre, Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel & Conference Centre, Olive Conference Centre, Greyville Convention Centre and Mount Edgecombe Convention Centre. There are many hotels with medium and small conference facilities.

Attractions: The city has it all – beaches, warm weather almost all year round, boat trips, cultural villages, reptile and bird parks, museums, horse riding, ziplining, hiking, upmarket shopping malls, uShaka Marine World, Umgeni Steam Railway, the Valley of a Thousand Hills, as well as a number of nature reserves such as Paradise Valley and Kenneth Stainbank.

Recommended: a visit to the Durban Botanic Gardens, shark cage diving, a walk along the Durban Promenade (the longest beachfront promenade in subSaharan Africa), a three-hour drive north to iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a three-hour drive west to the mighty Drakensberg range and its many mountain lodges and quaint towns, as well as the annual sardine run at the South Coast.

Accessibility: King Shaka International Airport. Visitors can use the bus service, taxis, shuttles and Uber/Bolt rides.


South Africa’s oldest city lies at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain, and is regarded by many as the most beautiful place to visit in the world. The Cape floral kingdom is the biggest in the world, and the Mother City, with its beautiful historic architecture, is surrounded by beaches and wine routes.

Conference venues: Cape Town has several large conference centres, such as Cape Town International Conference Centre and Century City Conference Centre, as well as many hotels with fabulous medium and small conference facilities.

Attractions: Table Mountain has amazing flora, hiking trails and a cable car, while Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, is a Unesco World Heritage Site of historical significance. There’s also the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, V&A Waterfront, Castle of Good Hope (the oldest building in Cape Town), Slave Memorial, District Six Museum, wine routes, many quaint neighbouring towns such as Kalkbaai, and pristine beaches such as Bloubergstrand.

Accessibility: Cape Town International Airport. The city has good bus and train services, shuttles, taxis and Uber/Bolt rides.

The capital of Rwanda is clean, quiet, well organised and boasts tree-lined streets. It is described as one of Africa’s most beautiful cities.

Conference venues: The city has beautiful large conference venues such as the BK Arena, Kigali Marriott Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, The Four Points by Sheraton Kigali, and many other hotels with facilities for meetings and conferences.

Attractions: The Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi, Rwanda Art Museum, Umusambi Village (home to more than 50 grey

crowned cranes saved from the illegal pet trade), Akagera National Park (one of the oldest savannah parks in Africa), gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park (the largest mountainous rain forest in central and east Africa), Lake Kivu and Mount Bisoke volcano are worth checking out.

Accessibility: Kigali International Airport. A new, much bigger airport 40 km from Kigali will be completed in 2026. Visitors use buses, taxis, matatus (minibuses) and motos (motorcycle taxis) to travel within the city.



Dream Hotels & Resorts specialises in destination conferencing experiences across South Africa, offering you an immersive, bespoke solution to suit your needs. From the idyllic bushveld to scenic ocean views, our varied range of destinations cater to all. Each property offers all the essential facilities needed to make your stay both convenient and comfortable.

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the calling

Working in the stand-building contractors’ industry can be tough, but it is a highly creative and exciting environment. Gill Gibbs* shares more about some of the local training available and how the industry can open the door for the next generation.


Our collective journey as the stand-building industry is nothing short of a calling – to serve – and, in that, to acknowledge and celebrate the integral role we all play.

The story of our industry is a story of transformation and adaptability where, for many of us, survival is the only imperative. Post the Covid outbreak, globally, there is a void in our industry workforce. But we cannot only attribute the current skills gap to the impact of Covid. It is essential to our industry’s survival that we address this.


How should we package our industry’s potential, its offerings and rewards to the next generation?

On the one hand, the hours we work might be long and irregular, yet there are the exciting conceptualisation, planning and preparation phases that require solutions as well as challenge and train our brains, keeping us alive, awake, alert and challenged.

Yes, there is physical hard work to be done: the building of the structures and components and then… then you step back to take it all in. That moment when you shake a client’s hand after

1 Adaptability, balance and flexibility
Inner strength, grit and resilience
Respect for people and the environment
A yearning to learn, develop, evolve
Gill Gibbs, CEO of Concept G Global

enabling a brand to come alive through your creative concept, even if it is for a fleeting two, three, four or five days – what a ride!


Perhaps the answer to attracting the next generation requires us as the industry stalwarts and leaders to walk the talk and truly serve – each of us is required to refuel and refill our own tanks, to nurture ourselves so that we may exude and impart


• A national qualification providing benchmark competence against local and international standards, with recognition of excellence as an important element in the spirit of fostering healthy competition and ensuring professional standards.

• Developing competence and performance within the exhibitions industry, providing both theoretical and practical application of learning of the knowledge and applied elements within the qualification.

• Applicable to any individual who is already in or who wishes to be involved in the exhibitions industry.

• Serving as a further and higher-level qualification leading on from Exhibition Support.

• The exhibitions and events industry is one of the fastest growing industries in South Africa in that it markets itself globally and it is an essential and unique marketing platform for business and government to build their image and customer base in order to grow and develop.

• Skills that will be developed include: market, design, organise and implement an exhibition, apply sound business activities and manage safety at an exhibition, manage and work with team members on an exhibition.

Source: South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

the right amount of energy, experience, knowledge and balance. This must hold true for every facet and sector of our industry, not only the contracting fraternity.

Our objective should be to impart our knowledge to allow the next generation and the people of our industry to achieve and sustain high performance in our eternal pursuit of mastery, even under pressure.

There are courses available that should be marketed effectively to the current



1 Evoke and instil a culture of learning

2 Encourage self-improvement training

3 Teach and nurture industry history, experience and knowledge

4 Show – break each task and project down, on-the-ground training

5 Mentor – impart our skills and knowledge

industry community and the next generation – well-packaged and presented –of which one is the SAQA Further Education Certificate (FETC) NQF Level 4: Trade Exhibitions. SACIA too, has professional training courses available: visit

*Gill Gibbs is a specialist project architect and CEO of Concept G Global. She has served as chairperson of EXSA and SAEC. MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 27 #TRAINING


EXSA recently joined forces with the Services SETA to communicate the message to high school learners that they could have an exciting and fulfilling career in the events industry, and how to achieve this dream.

The eventing and exhibitions career path is not a choice the young people of South Africa is exposed to enough, and skills shortage in this industry is a real headache. EXSA showcased the exhibitions industry to high school learners at four different occasions recently.

A combination of formal qualifications and skills is needed to navigate this exciting industry. Project management, event management, design, rigging and public relations are some of the qualifications young people can obtain, and there are also skills-based programmes such as first aid, health and safety, electrical and construction, among many others.

Most of these skills and programmes are offered through Services SETA and learners can apply for funding through them as well. EXSA is in the process of formulating a formal mentorship programme.


EXSA was extremely fortunate to be invited to join the Services SETA on a career exhibition journey. We visited the most beautiful areas in the Cape and local government was so accommodating, voicing the need to educate the youth as to various career paths, even in areas not close to central Cape Town.

The three places visited were Caledon, Villiersdorp and Grabouw. These youngsters had not really been exposed to events or exhibitions. They were so excited to see the various career paths they could pursue.


During the week of 8 May, Finance Magnates

Africa Summit (FMAS) hosted an international exhibition in South Africa for the first time. EXSA was very privileged to partner with them for this exhibition at Sandton Convention Centre and it was a great success.

Through Services SETA, we invited two learners to see how an exhibition with an event is put together. They also had the opportunity to learn from the stakeholders present about the world of finance.

The learners were pleasantly surprised to learn how much planning and work are done to arrive at the finished product that the visitor and client get to see. It was amazing to be able to show both Services SETA representatives and the learners how vibrant and exciting the industry is, even though it is hard work.


On Friday 12 May, we joined forces with Services SETA again for a career exhibition in Cosmo City, where there were around 750 learners from various schools. Again, they had no real idea of what a career in the events industry was about. Neither did they know what they were going to do after school, or how to start planning for their careers. This is where there is a gaping hole in youth development: they go through 12 years of schooling but don’t know what they want to do. They also have no funds for tertiary education nor sometimes the marks needed to get into certain courses. Seeing the harsh reality is very sad, so the skills training that Services SETA is offering is so valuable; hopefully

the learners will take the opportunities offered and grow themselves.


South African Creative Conferences invited EXSA to partake as a keynote speaker at a Music Business Symposium, in conjunction with the Cultural & Creatives Federation of SA (CCIFSA). This was to educate the youth wanting to break into the music industry and how they go about it. EXSA’s segment was on event planning and management.

It was a great event and the youth learnt from a whole array of professionals. This gives them tools to move in the right direction and ways in which to develop their talents and grasp opportunities available to them, as well as encourages them to network with professionals in their industry.


EXSA believes that the way forward is communication with youth that might not have open access to information. The more we can spread advice and inspiration, the more we can motivate the youth to enter careers and not believe school is the end of their learning. We are so grateful to have been able to partner with the bodies that approached us and hope we can continue to work together as these youngsters are the future of our country.

Lee-Ann Alder, association manager for the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA)

The MICE industry has boomed in the past two years. However, its carbon footprint is a glaring challenge. Bonnie Smith believes business travel can be green when booked through a travel management company (TMC) dedicated to sustainability.

STEERING MICE TO Sustainability

In the post-COP27 era, everyone is acutely aware of their environmental responsibility. Our planet is 1.1°C hotter than a century ago. Earth’s ecological alarm clock has been ringing, and we need to wake up. We should be sprinting towards a 45% cut in global carbon emissions by 2030. As a result, employees and delegates are increasingly aware and keen to participate in green practices.


TMCs have a pivotal role in bolstering sustainable practices. A TMC’s role isn’t just facilitating travel – it is about enabling corporations to travel responsibly. From picking green accommodations to comprehensive CO2 emission reporting, TMCs offer bespoke services in sync with your corporate ethos. “We provide our clients with information on eco-friendly accommodations and detailed reports on the carbon footprint of their trips,” Bonnie Smith, general manager of FCM Travel, adds. Green is the new black in the MICE industry. A TMC not only streamlines operations but also ensures they’re sustainably efficient. “FCM helps companies adopt travel policies that benefit their business and the planet. In practice, this involves reducing unnecessary travel, supporting airlines with sustainable aviation fuel programmes and educating travellers about sustainable practices. These changes might appear small but can contribute massively to reducing your MICE operation’s carbon footprint,” explains Smith.

“Carbon calculators are a great start,” Smith advises. Modern travel platforms calculate CO2 emissions per flight, suggest eco-friendly routes and recommend greener accommodations. These tools don’t merely facilitate bookings; they

are change catalysts, transforming the way we perceive and conduct travel in the MICE industry.


As the world turns greener, choosing a TMC committed to sustainability isn’t a luxury – it’s an imperative. Look for a TMC with:

• environmental enthusiasm

• carbon consciousness

• sustainable selection

• tech-savviness

• strong relationships with travel suppliers

• the power to engage employees in the sustainability journey.

“When considering a TMC, ask them for specific details about their sustainability practices. If they’re unable or unwilling to provide this information, it may be a red flag,” warns Smith.


Direct bookings may seem to offer an attractive proposition to businesses by simplifying the booking process. However, there’s a critical element that’s often overlooked: the comprehensive service and value proposition that a TMC brings to the table, says Smith. She gives the reasons why people should trust TMCs with their business travel bookings:

1 They provide the expertise and technology to navigate complex travel landscapes and manage entire travel programmes.

2 They deliver personalised solutions.

3 They resolve issues promptly.

4 They have the capability to provide emergency assistance or rerouting in the event of unforeseen circumstances – a level of service hard to match by a direct booking platform.

5 They harness the power of data to provide insightful reporting and analytics that enable businesses to optimise their travel spend and enhance their travel policies.

Through their strong industry relationships, TMCs can negotiate better rates, ensuring cost-effectiveness over time.

Bonnie Smith, general manager, FCM Travel

The TABOOS of greenwashing and greenhushing

These days, everyone is talking about a net-zero future – one where our greenhouse gas emissions will be drastically reduced, and the remaining emissions offset so that we can mitigate climate change.

“It is heartening to witness the current shift in awareness that has seen individuals and businesses start to accept that climate change is a man-made phenomenon and one that we need to urgently address. With this has come much-needed action,” says Morwesi Ramonyai, an impact entrepreneur and chairperson of the Event Greening Forum (EGF) NPO.

However, she adds that, with these positive changes, a few worrying trends have emerged in the way businesses are communicating their sustainability and net-zero intentions.


The first of these trends is not a new one: greenwashing. Based on the term ‘whitewashing’, it refers to misleading communication that makes something appear more ‘green’ or environmentally friendly than it is. There are many types of greenwashing, as outlined in the sidebar on page 31, all of which are harmful to the sustainability movement.

Morwesi explains, “Greenwashing is used to cover up a lack of genuine commitment to going green. Paradoxically, the fact that it happens proves there is a recognised value in being a sustainable business. Some of the

damaging consequences to greenwashing include diverting sales and profits away from companies that offer authentically green products and services, as well as confusing and alienating conscientious consumers and clients. This slows down our progress towards a more sustainable future.”


As net zero has gained traction, so too

Morwesi Ramonyai, chairperson of the Event Greening Forum, sheds light on how to avoid the pitfalls of greenwashing and greenhushing, while still sharing your sustainability story.

cases of legal and financial repercussions to greenwashing. For instance, last year, Deutsche Bank’s DWS asset management unit in Germany was raided and investigated following claims that they had exaggerated the sustainability of the investments they were selling.

Advocate Louis Nel, also known as Louis the Lawyer, says that while South African law does not address greenwashing (yet), it does provide a framework to address greenwashing through the Consumer Protection Act (No. 68 of 2008 [CPA]). He explains that greenwashing is in contravention of the CPA because it does not meet the criteria of fair, responsible marketing and may in fact amount to misleading advertising. Those who fail to adhere to the CPA may find themselves liable for a fine and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.

Even if legal action is not applied, businesses that are called out for greenwashing risk significant reputational damage, especially in our age of social media.


While the criticisms and legal consequences of greenwashing are necessary and welcome, there has been an unfortunate side effect in greenhushing. Morwesi explains, “Many businesses and organisations are now reluctant to disclose their sustainability goals and action plans for fear of being accused of greenwashing. This new trend has been labelled greenhushing, as it’s keeping them quiet.”

This in turn is leading to a lack of open dialogue and transparency around becoming more sustainable, which curtails the opportunity for companies to share ideas, inspire each other and hold themselves accountable.


Morwesi believes that there is a far better alternative to keeping quiet, and that is to keep talking about your sustainability goals and efforts, but to always be clear, consistent and transparent.

“It’s really that simple. When you look at the six types of greenwashing, you can see what kind of errors to avoid. For example, don’t make false or vague claims, be transparent about areas that you are still working on and that could be better, and so forth. Key


TerraChoice Environmental Marketing Inc. identifies six categories of greenwashing in its study ‘Six Sins of Greenwashing™’:


The Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off: Suggesting a product is green based on a single environmental attribute or narrow set of attributes, while ignoring other important, or perhaps more important, environmental issues. For example, Coca-Cola claims its plastic bottles are made from 25% marine plastic, ignoring the fact it is the world’s single biggest plastic polluter.


The Sin of No Proof: Any environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification.


The Sin of Vagueness: This is committed when a claim is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the intended consumer. Common examples include: chemical free (nothing is free of chemicals, including water and all plants and animals); non-toxic (everything is toxic in a high enough dosage); all natural (many natural substances, such as arsenic, can be harmful); green or environmentally friendly (these mean nothing without an explanation as to why).


The Sin of Irrelevance: This is committed by making an environmental claim that may be truthful but is unimportant and unhelpful for those seeking environmentally preferable products. It is irrelevant and therefore distracts the consumer from finding a truly greener option. For example, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a principal contributor to ozone depletion. A product boasting it is CFC-free commits this sin since CFCs have been legally banned for several decades.


The Sin of the Lesser of Two Evils: These are green claims that may be true but that risk distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the actual product. Examples include organic cigarettes or ‘green’ insecticides and herbicides.


The Sin of Fibbing: This sin is committed by making environmental claims that are simply false. These commonly include the misuse or misrepresentation of certification by an independent authority.

Find the full ‘Six Sins of Greenwashing™’ brochure at Go to the ‘Downloads’ page under the ‘Resources’ tab.

to all of this is that you need to genuinely want to be more sustainable and be taking the appropriate steps before you start marketing yourself as sustainable. We’re not saying you must achieve net zero first. We’re saying you need to start making changes –

even small ones – first,” she explains, adding that honesty should always be central to your communication and that clients and consumers tend to find this refreshing, rather than disappointing.

If you operate in the events industry and are ready to start your sustainability journey, it might be time to consider joining the EGF. Find out more about the various EGF membership options, costs and requirements at, or by contacting Lynn McLeod at


ANEW Hotel Centurion:

from ordinary to extraordinary


ANEW Hotel Centurion – nestled in the business hub of Centurion, Gauteng – is currently undergoing several modern refurbishments to the property. The ANEW Hotels & Resorts Group is investing significantly in enhancing guest experiences across its property portfolio, with a careful blend of the latest hospitality technology, modern decor, new facilities and refreshed conferencing spaces.

Conveniently located near major sports stadiums, multiple businesses and the Gautrain station, ANEW Hotel Centurion offers you the perfect base to discover the gateway to Gauteng. Adjacent to it is the Centurion Mall, where guests can explore various stores, eateries and boutiques.

Some key transformations guests can look forward to include:


The refurbishment at ANEW Hotel Centurion has brought about a revitalisation of the layout in the rooms, taking the guest experience to new heights of comfort. Both the rooms and bathrooms have been meticulously revisited, incorporating modern fixtures and finishes with a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetics.

Regular guests will note that the bathroom space has been restructured, with all baths being removed. The attention to detail is evident, with thoughtfully selected materials, contemporary lighting and spacious showers that offer a delightful retreat for relaxation on your business trip. In addition, all free-standing basins are set to be removed in the rooms. This new room layout embraces a more intuitive and efficient use of

space, creating a seamless flow that optimises both comfort and functionality. Each element within the room has been carefully curated to enhance the overall experience – from the plush bedding to the ergonomic furniture.


In an exciting development, ANEW Hotel Centurion will see a significant upgrade with the addition of a convenient and streamlined online self-check-in service. Guests will have the option to access their rooms (and floor) using personalised QR codes. This feature will eliminate the need for physical key cards, although these will still be available to guests preferring this option to access their room.

A further big investment will see the inclusion of a Samsung Smart TV in each room and across the property. With uninterrupted high-speed internet access, guests can remain connected and entertained throughout their stay.


ANEW Hotel Centurion’s modern refurbishments have been thoughtfully designed with the

ANEW Hotel Centurion’s
refurbishments are sure to set a new standard for business travel.

wellness and fitness needs of its guests in mind. Among the exciting additions is the inclusion of a state-of-the-art gym facility, providing a perfect space for guests to stay active and maintain their fitness routines while travelling. The gym will boast a range of modern exercise equipment, carefully curated to cater to guests of all fitness levels and preferences – from cardiovascular workouts to strength training.

With its compact, yet spacious layout, sleek design and ample natural lighting, the gym provides a motivating and invigorating environment that inspires guests to achieve their fitness goals. The inclusion of this top-notch gym facility is a testament to ANEW’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and holistic experience for its guests, where both comfort and wellness are seamlessly integrated.


ANEW Hotel Centurion has long been a preferred choice for hosting corporate events and conferences in the area. The conference facilities will undergo a soft refurbishment, elevating the space to new heights of sophistication and functionality. Whether for a corporate event, team-building workshop or professional conference, the spaces are poised to cater to the diverse needs of guests, ensuring a seamless and successful event experience.

Beyond all these physical transformations, ANEW Hotel Centurion will continue to place great emphasis on delivering exceptional service and personalised hospitality to its most valued guests. Be sure to book your stay at ANEW Hotel Centurion today and secure your base at the gateway between Pretoria and Johannesburg.


Looking for an easy way to save money and enjoy exclusive benefits during your travels? Look no further than ANEW Rewards – ANEW Hotels & Resorts’ very own loyalty programme!

As a new member, you’ll automatically qualify for a 12% discount on your booking and become a Gold member, unlocking even more perks. Sign up today and start earning rewards for every stay!


ANEW Hotels & Resorts has evolved as a family business that started in 1952. Family culture and attention to detail are firmly grounded in its people, and the group prides itself on the personal touch. The ANEW Hotel & Resorts Group owns and manages various properties in South Africa, with a vision to grow the brand by acquiring additional properties and management contracts in strategic locations.

Over the past three and a half years, despite the pandemic, the brand has experienced tremendous growth and is looking for

To book your next stay, sign up for ANEW Rewards or find more information, visit

opportunities to provide premium products to local and international leisure and business markets. The group conducts its business within legal and ethical parameters, while striving to provide customers with world-class service. Three awards were given to the brand in 2022, demonstrating its resilience. A celebration of business excellence was held by the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the 2022

Business Excellence Awards. ANEW Hotels & Resorts received two awards at this prestigious event: Runner-Up in the Best Tourism Business of the Year category and Runner-Up in the Employer of the Year category.

ANEW Hotels & Resorts received The Inspiration Award at Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2022, as the organisation that has for the past two years inspired Africa’s Travel Indaba community by the way in which it has challenged the odds to rise-up and shine.



THE PERFECT SOLUTION for your meetings, conferences and events! MSC Cruises offers you a one-stop solution that is not only unique, flexible and tailor-made to suit your needs, but also ensures your event is the talk of the town. With a range of venues, entertainment options, leisure activities, and dining options, plus our expert support teams, planning your event has never been easier.


Discover the future of cruising with MSC Splendida, the first of its class and the highest cruising standard yet to join the South African local cruise season, which starts November 2023. The 2023/24 cruise season consists of 35 departures to various destinations including Pomene, Portuguese Island and Walvis Bay.


What’s included?

• Accommodation in selected cabin categories

• No venue hire fees

• Private venue options for events and conferences

• AV equipment and technical assistance

• All meals

• All entertainment on board

• Use of standard leisure facilities including the stateof-the art fitness centre

• Dedicated staff to assist with your event

• 1 FREE cruise fare for every 23rd guest booked: (Subject to terms and conditions)

The ship is equipped with advanced audiovisual equipment with high-tech vision sharing functionality that enables a video feed to be shared throughout the ship or specific areas.






A Wi-Fi internet connection is available in all public areas at an optional add-on cost.


MSC Splendida offers a superb choice of 1 637 elegant accommodation options. Cabins range from interior and ocean-view to balcony cabins and luxurious suites. MSC Splendida also offers guests the MSC Yacht Club experience with the best location of cabins nestled in the foredecks, a reserved area only accessible for Yacht Club members. A reserved area only accessible for Yacht Club members. The luxury of a private club, with 24-hour dedicated butler service, exclusive access to the MSC Aurea Spa with a private lift, a large private pool area with solarium and whirlpool baths, while still enjoying access to all the recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship offers.


All meals are included in the cruise fare and groups can be seated together at the restaurants. (This excludes dining at specialty restaurants.)

Main restaurants (included in cruise fare)

• La Reggia Restaurant (split on two decks, 626 seats + 529 seats)

• Villa Verde Restaurant (766 seats)

• Pago Pago Buffet (self-service buffet, 404 seats)

• Bora Bora Buffet (self-service buffet and pizzeria, 412 seats)

Speciality restaurants (not included in cruise fare)

• Butcher’s Cut (American steak house, 121 seats)

• Sea Pavilion by Jereme Leung (hot pot restaurant –Chinese and Japanese cuisine, 72 seats)

Exclusively for MSC Yacht Club Members

• MSC Yacht Club Restaurant (à la carte gourmet, 136 seats)

• Top Sail Lounge (panoramic forward lounge and bar, 141 seats)

Additionally, there are 12 bars and lounges (9 indoor and 3 outdoor), including a jazz bar, piano bar, wine bar, coffee bars, cigar lounge, and a bar with live shows, music and a dance floor. (Ranging from 17 to 268 seats.)


MSC Cruises is committed to providing world-class entertainment on its ships to constantly surprise and delight guests. MSC Splendida offers aroundthe-clock entertainment for all ages in a range of venues ensuring there is never a dull moment on board.

Theme parties

• White Party: One of the most popular theme parties of the cruise. Dazzling decor and costumes plus a special performance starring our theatre cast make for an unforgettable night of fun on board.

• Sailaway Party: The entertainment team and dancers lead guests in this start-of-the-cruise event celebrating the ship’s departure.


• MSC Factor: Encouraging guests to showcase their talents, this is the most exciting talent show at sea.

• MasterChef: The world's best-loved food show

awaits guests on board. With competitions for both adults and children, guests can experience the adrenaline-fueled creativity of an extraordinary onboard cooking competition.

• Dance classes: Daily dance classes are designed to teach guests classic dances that they can practice nightly to live music in the ship’s lounges, and the latest pop routines give them confidence to join the dance floor crowd in the disco. Beginners welcome!

• Royal Palm Casino: The onboard casino offers a wide variety of games for all types of players including slot machines, electronic roulette,

poker, blackjack, baccarat tablets and the ultimate Texas hold ‘em.

(Themes of parties and activities are subject to change)

Other leisure options

• 6 swimming pools

• 10 whirlpools

• 4D cinema

• Video game arcade

• MSC Arena (basketball, tennis court, volleyball, squash court and shuffleboard)

• Bowling

• MSC Aurea Spa

• Retail and duty-free shopping MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 35 Room name Floor space (m2) Seats Business Centre 47 36 Sea Pavilion by Jereme Leung 510.5 174 MSC Arena 290 120 The Aft Lounge 888 192 The Purple Jazz Bar 235 106 The Strand Theatre 2 086 1 603 VENUES AND CAPACITIES +27 (0)11 844 6072/3 MSC.Cruises.SouthAfrica @msccruisesofficial

The hottest

South African exhibitions, events and display specialist Scan Display has visited EuroShop – the largest retail trade fair in the world –since 1999. Justin Hawes , MD of Scan Display, brings us the most eye-catching trends for exhibition stands seen at EuroShop in 2023.


EuroShop, the largest retail trade fair in the world, takes place every three years in Düsseldorf, Germany. This year’s show drew 81 000 visitors from 141 countries, and the 15 exhibition halls showcased 1 830 exhibitors. All the latest developments in exhibitions and events, retailing, merchandising, shopfitting and displays can be seen at the show, and an entire hall is dedicated to the exhibitions and events sector.

Bold-coloured stands

Clever mood lighting casting shadows

This was the third time that Scan Display has exhibited as part of the International Federation of Exhibition & Event Services ( pavilion.



Vibrant, colourful exhibits could be seen everywhere instead of the monochrome palette

of the last few shows. It felt like – post-pandemic – exhibitors wanted their products and services to be showcased and stand out with the use of bold colours.


The bright lighting on the stands made a statement. Exhibitors used extensive backlighting, enhancing the bold colours and making the graphics really pop. Uplighting and

The Scan Display team at EuroShop 2023

mood lighting were used very effectively by some exhibitors.

The quality of lightboxes was also better than before, creating eye-catching displays. There were quite a few stands that used a combination of semi-transparent or gridded structures paired with different lighting techniques, which created a whole new visual layer in the stand presentation.


Plasma screens and monitors have become outdated and were used in a limited way, but there was extensive use of LED walls. Historically, the risk of damage has made exhibitors reluctant to use LED panels. However, the latest LED panels incorporate technology that protects them. The cost of LED screens has come down over the years, making them more affordable.

Jacob van Zyl, branch manager: Cape Town, Scan Display, says that the creativity of the content used on LED screens stood out for him: “Exhibitors used beautiful, abstract, colourful content on their LED panels. The videos were

created specifically for the show and tied in with the look-and-feel of the stand. The videos changed over time to give the impression of the stand being alive.”


This year, more than ever before, sustainability was an important topic at EuroShop. It was incorporated into everything: product offering, marketing messaging, stand materials, lighting. The sustainability of products and services was the primary marketing message. The winner of the Innovation Award, US-based Moss Inc, showcased how it upcycles waste plastic recovered from the ocean to create material for the tension fabric products the company makes. The Gold Award winner in the XL Category (more than 200 m2), Hans Boodt Mannequins, repurposed raw scaffolding and containers to create its stand.


There were very few private meeting rooms and double-decker stands on stands. Exhibitors and visitors were interacting right there on the stand, in the middle of the activity.

After the isolation of Covid, people were looking for one-on-one connection.

At previous EuroShop shows, it looked like virtual reality (VR) was set to take off at exhibitions and events. However, there were hardly any VR elements at this year’s show. Exhibitors engaged directly with their visitors and demonstrated their products face-to-face without any VR tools.

There were only a few stands that used augmented reality (AR) – one example was the projection of images of moving parrots onto a wall.

Exhibitors used interactive elements such as games and activities, as well as the more conventional coffee and snack bars, to draw visitors to the stand.


I can summarise the EuroShop 2023 experience as follows: the dominant feeling was about human interaction. People wanted to connect and chat. Bright colours, powerful lighting and LED walls were the stand-out features, while sustainability and telling a story in a novel way made for award-winning stands.

Interactive games on stands
Augmented reality of birds and a presenter on the stand

The CSIR International Convention Centre (CSIR ICC) outdoor Deck accommodates conference lunches and social events – particularly spectacular at sunset.

This Centre boasts a magnificent alfresco dining deck set into the convention centreʼs natural setting - perfect for outdoor, nature and bird-watching enthusiasts seeking a quick reprieve from the business talk. The Deck is also an ideal venue for an outdoor cocktail function for up to 500 guests. A variety of social event packages are available to cater for your special events.

The CSIR ICCʼs skilled team and network of qualified suppliers are on hand to tailor-make your special event memorable!

Meiring Naude Road, Brummeria, Pretoria t: +27 12 841 3884 e: contact details

Full speed on a bumpy road

IMEX Frankfurt 2023 brought together the global event industry, allowing them to connect with and learn from old and new colleagues, both on the show floor and during the many meetings that took place. The C-word (Covid) is officially banned from any conversation and the focus is on an unclear future.

Let’s start with the good news: business is (almost) back to 2019 level. Not everywhere and not for all types of events, but everybody has been surprised by the fast re-bound of our industry. During the AIPC Sales & Marketing Summit in Frankfurt, three venue executives from Carnegie, Kuala Lumpur and Hamburg shared their views. While there are obviously regional differences the common thread was the rebound and… the uncertainty.


Participants change their behaviour. All three executives gave stunning examples of last-minute changes that are the result of a changed market landscape – e.g. where a tenfold attendance was announced a week before the event took place (interesting talk to have with catering). This resulted in uncertainty at the level of the organiser, who in turn expected maximum flexibility at the level of the venue management. This type of situation can lead to uncomfortable conversations but can stimulate debate. But in the end there is a common goal: deliver unique experiences.

Technology is another source of uncertainty, especially with the current hype around generative artificial intelligence. There are a lot of positives. Access to technology has never been so easy. You don’t need to be a programmer anymore to develop an app that will be of help in your daily work. Low-code tech allows one to do that. Employees at G&J PepsiCola Bottlers with little to no experience in software development created an app that examines the image of a store shelf to identify the number and type of bottles on it, then automatically restocks it based on historic trends.

ChatGTP allows anybody dealing with writing proposals, articles, etc. to win a considerable amount of time. Deep learning, combined with artificial intelligence, will allow us to run convention centres more efficiently, resulting in lower costs and a lower

carbon footprint. Given the creativity of people working in the events industry, I am expecting technology to be a game changer in many ways. But it is a space in need of a clear framework in which it can function and it is hard to create that framework if the subject is evolving that quickly.


The flipside of technology is of course security. At the summit, I asked who used face recognition to do transactions via their phone – the large majority. And then I showed a still of the TikTok video of Tom Cruise playing golf – a deepfake. I know, bad humour.

But reality is that, on average, convention centres are hit by cybercrime four to five times a week. Some centres are even attacked on a daily basis. Needless to say, the impact can be disruptive, especially where the entire facility is highly automated – from access management to air-conditioning.

Via our cyber taskforce, we try to collect information on trends and report monthly to our members on things to watch out for. But the key message is that trust has become an enterprise-wide responsibility.


Next to technology and security, there was of course also a lot of discussion around sustainability. Sam Glass, director of Corporate Affairs and Communication at ICC Sydney, gave a brilliant presentation on the work they are doing regarding the social pillar of sustainability. We tend to forget that sustainability is about ecological, economic and social factors. For me, the work that ICC Sydney is doing on inclusiveness and making events truly community-driven and supported, demonstrates how sustainable events truly are.

The unique thing about the events industry –demonstrated by the examples above – is the willingness to share and learn from each other. And so, my key takeaway from a frantic four days in Frankfurt can be summarised as follows: the events industry is the most exciting space to work in. As mentioned by a panellist at the summit: we do not cure cancer, but we host events bringing together people who will do so. From COP meetings to G7 and anything in between: events are the platform shaping the future.

Events are the platform shaping the future Technology, sustainability and the market landscape are all changing at high speed. To Sven Bossu, it seems this might make the road ahead exciting and bumpy.


Hosting responsible events

Green events in the time of load-shedding

Morwesi Ramonyai has some favourite strategies that can help navigate the challenge of hosting green events despite load-shedding.

Hosting sustainable events during load-shedding requires careful planning and consideration of energysaving measures. With load-shedding becoming an ongoing and worsening issue, the business events industry must adapt and manage the unavailability and unreliability of energy supply. However, hosting green events in such challenging circumstances is not impossible. It presents an opportunity to think creatively, be innovative, and collaborate with everyone involved to prioritize sustainability and lower energy consumption.

Here are my favourite strategies that can help navigate the challenge and host green events despite load-shedding:

1. Choose a venue with renewable backup power sources such as solar power, wind turbines or bioenergy.

2. Utilise portable, solar-powered generators to provide temporary power during load-shedding periods without relying on fossil fuels.

3. Implement battery backup systems, which either draw from renewable sources or the venue’s regular power supply.

4. Prioritise essential services that require uninterrupted power and allocate resources to ensure they are not affected during load-shedding.

5. Optimise power consumption, by using energy-efficient


Lunch & Learn sessions

lighting fixtures, audiovisual equipment and other event technology, and ensuring proper insulation and ventilation to reduce the load on the power supply.

6. Minimise unnecessary power usage by turning off lights, air conditioners and equipment when not in use, and plan high-energy-consumption activities around times when load-shedding is not scheduled.

7. Embrace being out in the open and consider hosting meals and appropriate activities outdoors, taking advantage of natural lighting.

8. Introduce raw, vegan, plant-based and sun-kissed meals into the menu that require no energy for preparation.

9. Explore virtual or hybrid event options that typically require less physical infrastructure and are more flexible in managing power interruptions.

10. Educate event attendees, suppliers and staff about the importance of sustainability and energy conservation. Remember that sustainability requires continuous effort, and regularly evaluating and improving your event’s environmental impact is crucial. By incorporating these strategies, you can host sustainable events even during loadshedding, minimising energy consumption, and promoting responsible environmental practices.

Have we seen you at an AAXO’s Lunch & Learn session?

Recognising the immense value of continuous learning and professional development for event organisers, the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) launched its members-exclusive Lunch & Learn series in late 2022. The highly successful series was designed to enhance members’ understanding and upskill them on a wide range of topics relevant to the events industry.


With a total of eight sessions hosted since inception and more than 300 registrations, the AAXO Lunch & Learn series has received positive feedback from the events’ community.

Industry-relevant topics include:

• Writing Winning Event Proposals

• Metaverse Marketing

• The Power of PR

• Putting Confidence Back in Your Sales Performance

• How to Use TikTok

• Managing Stress.

At the last Lunch & Learn session on 15 June 2023, globally acclaimed authority on the topic of Gen Z marketing, Joeri Van Den Bergh from Human8, guided attendees in gaining a deeper understanding of the desires and preferences of this generation, empowering them to effectively meet their needs.


AAXO is dedicated to facilitating the growth and advancement of its members through comprehensive training and development programmes that address crucial matters and subjects relevant to their roles. Our events professionals, spanning various sectors, prioritise awareness, education and sales as key areas of focus. By collaborating with industry experts, we will continue to provide impactful content aimed at equipping our members with the necessary knowledge for success in the events industry.

For more information on upcoming sessions, visit www. or register here. To access all past Lunch & Learn sessions, visit MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 41
MORWESI RAMONYAI is the chairperson of the Event Greening Forum (EGF).
AAXO’s Lunch & Learn sessions provide impactful content aimed at equipping members with the necessary knowledge for success in the events industry. Devi Paulsen-Abbott invites all AAXO members to register for upcoming sessions.
PAULSEN-ABBOTT is the chairperson of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO).



Serious about tackling real issues

Welcoming the diverse and dynamic new EXSA Board 2023

Lee-Ann Alder is confident that the new EXSA board will handle ongoing projects seamlessly and tackle new ones with enthusiasm and commitment to address the current needs of the industry.

The new 2023 EXSA board has been announced. EXSA would like to thank the board members who have served on the board with passion, commitment and selflessness. Although no longer on the board, we will always value your input and involvement.


EXSA would like to introduce you to the board of 2023. We welcome our new board members, and thank all members who have remained on the board.

Chairperson: Sibusiso Mncwabe (Marketing Well)

Vice chairperson: Jacqui Nel (Exhibition Freighting GSM)

Treasurer: Ismael Atanasi (GL Events)

Director: Ashona Maharaj (Durban ICC)

Director: Beert Kuiken (Octanorm)

Director: Gabi Babinszky (Brandex)

Director: Kelly Papas (Barmotion)

Director: Kerry-Lee Bester (Brilliant Branding)

Director: Liam Beattie (Hott 3D)

Director: Nic Curle (Nucleus)

Co-Opted director: Daksha Vallabh (Orange Orbit)

Co-Opted director: Gavin Burgess (Technology Partners)

Co-Opted director: Kimendrie Pillay (Johannesburg Expo Centre)

Co-Opted director: Ross Wilson (Urban Tonic)

The board members are extremely enthusiastic and serious about tackling real issues that we are facing in the industry. They will be working on specific projects that will be unpacked and communicated to our members and the industry in due course. These projects will make a big difference in driving the quality of work produced and the relationships we have built to the benefit of the industry.

As you can see, we have a blend of board members that is diverse and dynamic. This is part of the plan to ensure longevity, sustainability and excellent standards of work and ethics. Many projects are ongoing and will begin to gain much more traction in the near future, while others are new concepts brought about by the needs of the industry at the moment.

EXSA thanks everyone that has stepped forward and raised their hand to be a part of this team. We wish them every success for what is to come. Thanks to all members for their involvement and support as the backbone of the association. We continue to rely on all of you for input and to fly the EXSA flag wherever you go – now more than ever with all the change that is happening.

If anyone would like any further information or would like to get involved, please contact the office at and have a look at our new website:

Planning helps to create interactive event spaces

Offering the audience a memorable experience while at the same time keeping them engaged is the success recipe that event professionals need to follow when planning their meetings and events. This will enhance meetings and events, making them more engaging and unforgettable. The result will be a bigger impact on participants, which will ultimately drive the desire for them to return.

With the complexity of planning a meeting or event in mind, we must have the conversation about understanding the objectives and audience early on. Planners must start by clearly defining the objectives of the meeting or event. What do you want to achieve? Who is your target audience? In gaining these insights, they will help shape the design and experience of the event.

Many a planner knows that content is KING and that thoughtful content curation of the programme of speakers, sessions and activities should align with the event objectives and cater to the interests and needs of attendees. With the post-pandemic return of in-person meetings and events, ensuring a good balance between educational content, networking opportunities and entertainment is one of those delicate areas that requires clarity in the planning stages.

Too much of one and not enough of the others may lead to questions by participants and clients as to what the event objective was.

Health and wellness have important places in our carefully curated programmes. In South Africa, we have event spaces that aid in finding a balance between all components of programme curation.

Carefully planning the layout of the event space to optimise flow and facilitate networking will add to the utilisation of different areas within the venue for various purposes, such as breakout sessions, lounges or networking zones. Paying attention to seating arrangements, stage setup and signage will ensure a smooth and intuitive experience for attendees. Paying attention to design aids in developing and delivering memorable experiences. We need to think beyond traditional formats and create interactive and immersive experiences for attendees. Elements such as experiential zones, handson activities, workshops, gamification or technology-driven interactions should be incorporated to engage and captivate participants.

Happy planning!

LEE-ANN ALDER is the association manager for the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA).
Planning your event INDUSTRY VIEWS
GLENTON DE KOCK is the CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI).
Glenton de Kock advises that a good balance between educational content, networking opportunities and entertainment requires clarity in the planning stages of an event.

The importance of continuing professional development


Keeping up with trends and innovations

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a lifelong learning and development process that enables professionals to stay up to date with the latest trends and practices in their industry. In the events industry, where new technologies, techniques and trends emerge rapidly, CPD is crucial for event professionals to stay relevant and competitive.

CPD includes many learning activities, such as attending conferences, workshops and seminars, completing online courses, reading industry publications, and participating in peer networking groups. These activities enable event professionals to expand their knowledge, improve their skills and keep up with the latest developments in the industry.



The events industry constantly evolves, with new technologies and practices always emerging. New technologies can enhance the attendee experience, new event formats can increase engagement, and new marketing strategies can increase event attendance. By participating in CPD activities, event professionals can learn about the latest trends and innovations in the industry.


CPD allows event professionals to improve their skills and knowledge in specific areas of the events industry. For example, an event planner may attend a workshop on risk management, while a technical producer may attend a course on audiovisual production. By expanding their skill set, event professionals can become more valuable to their organisations or clients.


By making sure they add the latest trends and technologies in the industry to their skill set, event professionals can demonstrate their

expertise to their employers or clients, increasing their chances of career advancement.


CPD is an essential component of maintaining professional standards in the events industry. Many professional organisations require members to participate in CPD activities to ensure they are up to date with the latest practices and technologies in the industry. This helps to maintain a high level of professionalism and credibility in the industry.


CPD can also lead to increased job satisfaction for event professionals. By expanding their knowledge and skills, they can take on new challenges and responsibilities, which can lead to a greater sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction.


Event professionals must prioritise CPD as a crucial part of their career development. Here are some steps that they can take to ensure that they engage in CPD activities:

1. Set goals: Event professionals should set goals for their CPD activities to ensure they learn in areas that align with their career goals.

2. Seek out opportunities: Event professionals should actively seek opportunities for CPD, such as conferences, workshops, in-person training and online courses.

3. Stay current: Event professionals should stay current with industry publications, podcasts and online forums to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices.

4. Network: Event professionals should join peer networking groups to connect with their colleagues and industry experts.

5. Reflect and evaluate: Event professionals should reflect on their CPD activities and assess their effectiveness in achieving their learning goals.

For more information on SACIA’s validated CPD training programmes, visit Training-Schedule.

KEVAN JONES is the executive director of the Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA). MEETINGS MAY/JUNE 2 023 • 43
In the events industry, where new technologies, techniques and trends emerge rapidly, CPD is crucial for event professionals to stay relevant and competitive. Kevan Jones have valuable tips for industry members to start their development process via CPD.


Woman OF A

From mini-skirts and high heels to jeans, safety boots and reflective vests –preferably pink, of course – that was how I landed in the suppliers’ sector of the exhibitions and events industry. Back then, this was not an industry for sissies (or women) and the sissies part holds true even today.

Recalling my first day, before 08:30, I was already told: “You mess up, I will be all over you; you do good, I leave you alone.” Being who I am, I saw this not as a threat but as a challenge. I was going to learn as much as I possibly could technically, ask questions and absorb everything around me, all the while exploring and developing my penchant for creativity.

And I had an inherent desire to correct his English. Often.

Was it difficult to navigate in what was then a very male-dominated environment? Sure. Tears were shed – of frustration and, at times, exhaustion. I considered getting out more than once in the early phase of my journey in this industry – yet was always backed by a steely determination and sheer faith in overcoming whatever was thrown my way. Because I care.


Having a sense of humour helps. Did I bite my tongue? Often. When you are in a situation that you cannot change, change your own attitude –and review the perspective from the other side. This provides clarity and insight that better equips you to handle the situation.

I remember a particular meeting with a client from another very male-dominant industry – as he walked down the stairs to greet me, the comment was: “Oh, they sent me a chick.” I laughed and retorted: “Thank you! I have not been called that in such a long time!” And then, in the briefing, he was wowed by my technical knowledge and keen interest, and went on to become a long-standing client.

It is about how you show up in the world; the energy, passion and the confidence that you exude.

If you don’t know, make it your business to know. You have to care about how you show up, every time. And it is about how you get up when you fall – and you will fall. It is about how you rise, sometimes in those heels, head and crown held high. You’ve got this – and even when you feel that you don’t, tell yourself that you do and believe it.

In those days, we as females were often belittled, teased and, at times, objectified and degraded. Such experiences may have a lasting and adverse effect on many women, holding them back from achieving their true potential – which is, ultimately, to shine.


My aim has always been the pursuit of mastery –of leaving my mark on the world. What’s yours?

This industry requires such drive, especially to make a difference. And sometimes we just need our tribe around us to inspire, share, encourage, engage and delight. We are making our mark, we are contributing to the growth and development of the industry – and of this we can be proud. This is our time.

Have a story or viewpoint to share? Send it to for possible inclusion in our next Off The Record column.

Back in the day, a chick was not the most favoured bird to do the work in the suppliers’ section of the exhibitions and events industry. But I managed to pick myself up and dust off my wings every time I got roasted.
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