The Incentive Planner 2022

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= CASE STUDY A powerful partnership with SANCB ALL ABOUT TRAVEL: GETTING THERE AND AWAY ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES: SUNSHINE, SEA AND SAFARIS R55.00 (incl. VAT) ISBN 978-0-6397-2294-8 BUILDING ITINERARIES to build back up INDUSTRY OUTLOOK for 2023 and beyond Sustainability TREND REPORT 2022/2023 • Issue 01

Book your next incentive travel experience in South Africa!Offering/www.southafrica.netaworldof cultural, natural and historical diversity, South Africa is the ideal destination for hosting top-class incentive group travel experiences. Our destinctive wildlife, world-class service providers, and luxury amenities ensure a winning experience … memorable for delegates and hassle-free for incentive organisers. South Africa AN INCENTIVE FOCUS

South Africa:

Your next incentive travel experience!


Allow us to take you to our favourite hangouts, restaurants, markets, hidden gems, and heritage sites that tell our long and amazing human story. Allow us to introduce you to the real South Africa. There's so much more to see.

• Adventures in Soweto


• Bungee



• Apartheid Museum

• Known as ‘the Adventure province’

• Game-viewing in Dinokeng Game

• Basotho Cultural Village

• Small-town adventures

• Visit the Lion Park

South Africa offers a vast array of experiences for incentive travel programmes – whether it be for a handful of people or a multinational with thousands of employees. South Africa’s nine provinces all have their own unique attractions sure to create life-long memories for those visiting.


• Clarens

• Golden Gate Highlands National Park

• Take a Big 7 Safari

The gateway to the rest of Africa, Gauteng province is a sought-after incentive destination. When it comes to urban experiences, Gauteng is very diverse and has a wealth of shopping, dining and nightlife options. Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria) are Gauten’s main metropolitan centres, connected by the super-efficient Gautrain, and while they offer the best of city life, they are also very close to nature.

• Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park

• Tour the town of Cullinan

• Montecasino


• Mangaung/Bloemfontein

• Open-roof bus tour of Jozi

• Parys – river rafting on the Vaal River


• Learn about traditional Xhosa culture

• Take a Township Tour

• A township shebeen experience

The Free State is all about wide open spaces and local hospitality. This province is situated in the heart of South Africa. From visiting the artists in Rosendal to tasting “boerekos” at the wonderful restaurants in Clarens, exploring the beautiful landscapes of Golden Gate Highlands National Park and experiencing the great watersport adventures on the Gariep Dam, there are countless incentive and leisure activities on offer.

• Follow in the footseps of Madiba

• Vredefort Dome UNESCO World Heritage Site

• Visit the Valley of Desolation


• Maboneng magic

The dramatic scenery of the Eastern Cape was the background to the formative years of many of South Africa’s struggle heroes, such as Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Robert Sobukwe. From the pristine beaches of the Wild Coast, to the plains of Addo Elephant National Park, the Eastern Cape is an excellent incentive and teambuilding destination.

• Road-tripping

• Horse-riding at Addo Elephant National Park

• Gariep Dam and Nature Reserve


• Magnificent beaches


• Learn to surf in Jeffreys Bay



• Nylsvley Nature


• Pilgrim’s Rest


• Open bus tour around the Cape Peninsula

• Kruger National Park

It is a prime wildlife destination with a host of game and nature reserves, including the northern Kruger National Park, as well as the Mapungubwe National Park. It is home to the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site, as well as Modjadji, the fabled Rain Queen, and the age-old relics of the Makapansgat Valley.

• Winelands with a difference

Sun City

Hartbeespoort Dam


• The Ai-Ais Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

• The UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere

• The Modjadji Cycad Reserve

• The diamond town of Kimberley

• Private Game Reserves


Mpumalanga – the place where the sun rises, is one of the country’s smallest provinces but offers a mix of exquisite attractions and activities for any group visiting this part of the world. From the world-famous Kruger National Park to the incredible man-made heritage of the mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest, the spectacular beauty of the Panorama Route and beyond, there’s something for everyone.


• The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical landscape


• Visit an authentic San village

• Take a rock-art tour in the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site


• Whale-watching safari

• Walk in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi

• The Battlefields Route

• Shark-cage diving in Gansbaai

The Magaliesberg Mountains

• Bela-Bela


• Paragliding/helicopter flips on the Garden Route

• The Augrabies Falls National Park



Organise a tour of the winelands on horseback, followed by a fun wine-tasting competition hosted by one of the Cape’s famous wine makers.

• Take an excursion down the South Coast


The Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Situated in the far north of the country, Limpopo borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

• The Panorama Route

• Private Game Reserves

RISE WITH THE PLATINUM PROVINCE North West is a rewarding incentive destination that offers exciting wildlife and adventure encounters, as well as the opportunity to participate in a rich cultural and historical heritage. The extravagant Sun City complex is known the world over as a tourism hot spot. Next door to the resort is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, where visitors can experience the wild African

Ann Van Dyk Cheetah and Wildlife Centre

• The Kruger National Park


The Northern Cape is one of the more remote provinces in the country, known for its big skies and lunar landscapes. In spring, visit Namaqualand to see the incredible wild flowers, track a black-maned lion from your safari vehicle in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and learn all about how to live off the land from descendants of the Bushmen.

• Take a sundowner cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary

• Nylsvley Nature

• Dine with the sea creatures at uShaka Marine World

bush just two hours from Johannesburg.


KwaZulu-Natal is known as the Zulu Kingdom with a multicultural population and world-class facilities, not to mention superb beaches. When it comes to activities and attractions, there are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the province – the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park – in addition to the Big Five wildlife reserves along the Elephant Coast.

• Dine on Table Mountain

• The Mapungubwe UNESCO World Heritage

• The Sabi Sand Reserve

• Visit Zululand


Madikwe Game Reserve

• Yacht cruise around the Atlantic Seaboard


• The flowers of Namaqualand

• The Blyde River Canyon Reserve

• The Orange River

The Western Cape is one of the world’s most exciting incentive destinations. Have your group experience some heartfelt kinship by taking a boat trip to visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island.

• Dullstroom


• Kokerboom Food and Wine Route

• Quad-biking in the Knysna Forests



Groot Marico and Wolwespruit Nature Reserve


Host your next business event in South Africa. / When you visit South Africa, we’ll open more than our doors... We’ll open eyes. Open minds. We’ll unlock opportunities for growth... For learning... For life. Our doors are open to live again.

87% of videoprofessionalsmarketinguseasasuccessfulmarketingtool. (Optinmonster, 2019) (Forbes, 2018) (Wyzowl, 2019) makingMarketersuseofvideoget66%more qualified leads per year. Video engages users for longer on a website. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video content. Our platform ensures the highest quality video and audio technology. This ensures flawless digital broadcasting by using enterprise-grade streaming solutions. 3S Media provides the interface to host, manage and broadcast live as well as on-demand webinars. 3S Media offers robust thought-leadership panel discussions and anchor desk interviews with captains of industry. Webinars are ideal marketing platforms for product launches, training events and industry announcements. Our platform ensures the highest quality video and audio technology. Book your webinar today and participate in robust thought-leadership panel discussions and anchor desk interviews with captains of industry. Novus Print (Pty) Ltd t/a 3S Media is a registered member of National Treasury’s Central Supplier Database for Government. Supplier Number: MAAA0016423 Unique Registration Ref FFA60BC9-37E6-4596-89D9-A00025D4C50FNumber: Novus Print (Pty) Ltd t/a 3S Media is a proud Level 2 BBBEE Contributor. where printing is personal CONTACT SALES: Vanessa de Waal t +27 (0)11 233 2624 c +27 (0)84 805 6752 e the lanner

The is growing its footprint – connect with us today!

Over the years, the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) has partnered with a wide variety of organisations. These partnerships are important to the SANCB and are a key part of the recovery plan for South Africa’s business events industry. In this interview, industry expert Tshepo Thlaku, foundation chairperson of JCI South Africa and founder and CEO of Pulego Technologies, shares his incredible work and his association with the SANCB.

@theplannerguruThe Planner @theplannerguru the-planner-guru

08 Meet South Africa

The SANCB is well versed in the art of hosting business events and bringing together exciting travel experiences for delegates. With a wide support network, the convention bureau has several means of achieving this, as shared here.


10 Meet SA Tourism’s Executive Team VIEWS 2023



The power of partnership

11 Is inbound incentive travel into South Africa on the mend? 12 Industry outlook for

and beyond 14 TREND REPORT The future of tourism is – and must be – sustainable ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES, SAFARIS, GAME LODGES & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES 19 Sunshine, sea and safaris 22 Fighting for survival 26 TOURISM & CONFERENCING Feel-good adventures INCENTIVE ACCOMMODATION & 30VENUES Party loading… Goodbye 2022, hello 2023! 32 Gifts that keep on giving 34 Four unique experiences at one address 36 Hotel Verde 40 INTERNATIONAL RESORTS Popular outbound destinations in 2022 SPECIAL INCENTIVE PACKAGES 44 Building itineraries to build back up 47 MSC Cruises 49 Marriott Melrose Arch Collection 51 Making a case for incentives in 2023 ALL ABOUT TRAVEL SERVICES & 54SUPPLIERS Getting there and away 04REGULARS Ed’s comment 05 Incentive travel tidbits 120614 30 54 11 the lanner


CONTENTS 2022/23

IN COLLABORATION WITH The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust, providing accurate and comparable circulation figures that protect the way advertising is traded. The Incentive Planner is ABC audited and certified. ED’S LETTER


utting together this bumper issue of The Incentive Planner has been a wonderful experience, as I have had the privilege of speaking to many inspiring people while learning about what they are doing to reimagine and rebuild the incentives industry. I just wish I had more than 56 pages to showcase all the stories and news of what is happening!

A key part of the SANCB’s mandate is to see the benefits of business events being made available to the people who have historically been denied them. It’s heartening to see that this people-centric approach to business is increasingly common across the full MICE value chain, from clients to planners, venues and suppliers. ‘The future of tourism is – and must be – sustainable’ on page 14 unpacks how vital social upliftment and inclusion are in engendering truly sustainable businesses and projects, while our pieces on city breaks, corporate gifting and building itineraries bring to life just what this can look like in the incentives space.

GO…READY,RESET, Editor Pippa Naude ( Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Contributors Gillian Kabe, Tes Proos Production & Client Liaison Manager Antois-Leigh Nepgen Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Advertising Vanessa De Waal +27 (0)84 805 6752 | PUBLISHED BY Publisher Jacques Breytenbach 3S ProductionMedia Park, 83 Heidelberg Road, City Deep, Johannesburg South, 2136 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 The Incentive Planner 2022/23 © Copyright 2022. All rights SUBSCRIPTION R330.00 per annum (incl. VAT) | ISBN 978-0-6397-2294-8 NOTICE OF RIGHTS The Incentive Planner is published annually by 3S Media. This publication, its form and contents vest in 3S Media. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including cover and interior designs, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. The authors' views may not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or associated professional bodies. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation and compilation of this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, completeness or accuracy of its contents, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. While every effort has been taken to ensure that no copyright or copyright issues is/are infringed, 3S Media, its directors, publisher, officers and employees cannot be held responsible and consequently disclaim any liability for any loss, liability damage, direct or consequential of whatsoever nature and howsoever arising. MEMBER


Another highlight of this issue is the spread of industry views that share insights for the different MICE pillars – from incentives to inbound tourism, conferences and exhibitions, we have it all on pages 11 to 13.


One organisation that deserves special mention is the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. And there is much to be celebrated! Being the very first African convention bureau, the SANCB has forged its own path to successfully grow the local – and arguably continental – MICE events industry. Today, South Africa is the top African business events destination, and one of the top 50 in the world, according to the ICCA rankings. To find out more about how theoperates,SANCBincluding a case study

Incentive travel and rewards are seeing a rapid return in 2022. Encouragingly, a trend in the race to recovery is that people and planet are firmly on the agenda, and it’s not only about profit.


of one of their partnerships, turn to pages 6 to 9.

Happy reading, OF

To learn more about joining the programme, email

South Africa’s National Health Department has confirmed that free Covid vaccination services will remain available at designated sites around the country. You can find a listing of these sites on sacoronavirus. or at If you need to register on the Electronic Vaccination Data System, you can do so

Mohahlaula Airlines has announced it will launch a local Lesotho airline within the next year. Initially it will service the popular Maseru to Johannesburg route, with plans to expand into more South African destinations.

CEO Phafane Nkotsi says, “We are thrilled to announce our intention to launch Mohahlaula Airlines over the next year or so. It’s a service desperately required by Lesotho as the country grows economically and tourism picks up after the pandemic. We are looking forward to playing an essential role in driving Lesotho’s socio-economic growth.”

Get behind SATSA’s #FreeToBe Destination South Africa campaign

The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) has launched a destination awareness campaign that aligns the local tourism trade behind one message: South Africa is a place where you’re free to be.

3. While Covid-19 severity is less in people with previous infection or vaccination, there is strong evidence that additional boosters improve protection, although Covid-19 can still cause severe disease and substantial disruption through milder illness.

1. Immunity and protection from vaccines wane over time.

Everyone is talking about ‘post-Covid’. But does this mean we don’t need to vaccinate anymore?

Professor Cheryl Cohen is the head: Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). She believes that people should continue to get all the booster vaccines for which they are eligible. Her reasons are as follows:

Lesotho does not currently have a local carrier, after Lesotho Airways and Maluti Sky both ended flying operations in 1996 and 2017 respectively.

2. We expect to see recurrent ‘waves’ or seasons of Covid – the periodicity and timing of these remain unknown but it is likely we will see an increase in the coming months.

Lesotho’s new local airline is coming soon

South Africa has one of the world’s most progressive constitutions allowing you to love who you want to, be who you want to. And we have a culture of openness, warmth and acceptance; our destination is a treasure trove of open-air, outdoor and adventure experiences; and we’re fun-loving and welcoming. Here you can truly feel ‘free to be’…

SITE Young Leaders’ Program Travel THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 5

If you’d like to get behind this campaign and help promote Destination South Africa, and access the trade toolkit, go to

During the past two years, the company has been operating private charters and cargo flights in and out of Maseru. Now, as borders reopen post-lockdown, there is a growing demand for affordable and convenient travel.

After the waves of Covid came waves of retrenchments, furloughs and resignations. Rebuilding the incentive travel industry is going to require finding and nurturing new talent.

Cue the SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) Young Leaders’ Program. The programme brings together a global community of industry professionals aged 35 years or younger who have fewer than five years’ experience in the incentive travel industry, and it gives them access to education and networking opportunities that are specifically geared to newcomers. Through this, SITE aims to help create future leaders for the industry as a whole.

Do we still need Covid vaccines and boosters?

Now a seasoned entrepreneur, Tshepo started honing his business acumen and leadership skills from a very young age. When protest violence and unfortunate circumstances left his mother unemployed, the family took to selling various items to survive. Added to this, not being able to afford the pursuit of a tertiary education had Tshepo selling juice outside the very school he matriculated from while he applied for bursaries. He subsequently maintained a landscaping business during his varsity years to survive. During these formative days, he picked up the entrepreneurial spirit and humble business resilience that have held him in good stead to this day.

orn and raised in Temba, Pretoria, primarily by a single mother, Tshepo Thlaku learnt important principles and values through struggles faced and challenges overcome. A product of society, Tshepo grew up in a community that taught him it is important to take care of yourself and other people, and contribute to the greater society.

With an understanding that by strengthening communities, individuals’ lives can be changed, his upbringing is a testament to the fact that if a community sees potential (or challenges) in individuals, they will collectively take the necessary steps and actions to contribute to that person’s success in small yet meaningful

ways. It is for this reason that Tshepo has a passion for working in communities and giving back to society –an ethos that marries perfectly with his work as foundation chairperson of Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa.

Over the years, the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) has partnered with a wide variety of organisations across a number of key sectors to bring business events to South Africa. These partnerships are important to SANCB and are a key part of the recovery plan for South Africa’s business events industry. In this interview, industry expert Tshepo Thlaku, foundation chairperson of JCI South Africa and founder and CEO of Pulego Technologies, shares his incredible work and his association with the SANCB.

Tshepo Thlaku, foundation chairperson of JCI South Africa and founder and CEO of Pulego Technologies





Initially looking to study sports management after securing a bursary, Tshepo’s life path, however, took an exciting turn and he ended up at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). During this time, the institution was looking for students to study ICT, which was an exciting new field at the time. Securing the Nelson Mandela bursary during his studies put him in a better financial position and exposed him to many other opportunities that shaped hisWhilefuture.studying,

It is said the biggest boom in the world economy is in Africa, so these conferences expose the young people that will be creating and managing the economy to the world they will be operating in – while simultaneously teaching them to be brand ambassadors.

JCI is a university of life – developing leaders for a changing world. Through their initiatives, they expose young people to the world and prepare them to be leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors. In these spaces, they get to understand the dynamics of what happens outside of their own country in terms of the geopolitics, economic differences, etc. Giving people exposure through business events and conferences is important, to show them how they can confidently contribute to the global community and attract the global community to enable economic activity in theirSouthcommunities.Africaisa beautiful country with a rich heritage to offer the rest of the world. It is also aspiring to be a world-class destination when it comes to infrastructure. The business events offering in South Africa is world class, the ease of access is incredible, and the technology is amazing. Not only is the weather a key sales proposition, but so are the incredible facilities, technology, facilities, leisure options and business opportunities.

2021 JCI World Congress, the latter hosted as a hybrid event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both events were a great success due to the contribution they made. The incentives brought about by the SANCB made it easy to host international events because the SANCB works with organisations to deliver a quality South Africa, as a business event destination. From the lobbying and bidding to the hosting – the SANCB works with you all the way and the incentives make a solid impact. It would be near impossible for non-profit/member-based associations to host international events if it weren’t for the support of the SANCB. THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 7 #SHARE SOUTH AFRICA

At JCI, Tshepo learnt about leadership by becoming involved in community projects, which furthered his entrepreneurial knowledge. Further to this, he got valuable international exposure and worked his way to being JCI’s executive vice president assigned to Africa and the Middle East. After serving in various roles as an international officer, Tshepo turned his focus back home by supporting younger leaders in JCI South Africa as the foundation chairperson of the organisation.


In this role they can sell the heart of the continent and bring the people they interact with worldwide to Africa.

JCI holds conferences in different locations and exposes young African people to these events, thereby exposing them to the world.

In 2007, JCI South Africa was given the opportunity to host a conference for Africa and the Middle East; however, with little exposure to the business tourism side, they had to lean on JCI International to deliver the conference. Consequently, they were introduced to the SANCB and SAT, and partnered with them to bring in the 2016 JCI Africa and the Middle East conference and the

When organisations go out to bid and represent the country, they take on the role of brand ambassadors and brand bearers. Over and above this, when business events are hosted in South Africa, they create employment and expose people to the incredible destination of SA.


During his tenure, he discovered JCI – a non-profit organisation of young active citizens aged 18 to 40 who are engaged and committed to creating an impact in their communities. JCI creates active citizens and individuals who are invested in the future of our world. They gather young people from all sectors of society and develop their skills, knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions and act.

Through AIESEC, Tshepo relocated to Cameroon, working for the Association for Development, Communication and Environment (ADCOME), installing computers and supplying connectivity in rural schools in partnership with MTN Cameroon.


Tshepo became part of AIESEC (formerly known as Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales), an international student exchange programme focused on leadership development for students by getting them involved in community projects and conferences.

Arrive Intrigued. Leave Inspired

• Pre- and post-bid support such as bid promotion and handling of requests for proposals

• Bid presentations

• Bid materials to provide support to members

The SANCB can coordinate efforts to increase the number of delegates attending a business event in partnership with the association. It is in the best interest of all involved to have the maximum number of delegates attend an event, which in turn boosts the success of the event. The SANCB can assist associations to promote and market a convention in a number of ways, including promotional material, special services and cultural displays.

e) Coordinating site inspections

• Duration

The SANCB is well versed in the art of hosting business events and bringing together exciting travel experiences for delegates. With a wide support network, the convention bureau has several means of achieving this:

On-site event services are vital as they add remarkable value to a delegate, especially if the delegate is visiting South Africa for the first time. These services are the little things that can

• Economic development criteria Delegate boosting packages include a range of offerings, including tourism information giveaways, branding, electronic and print marketing material, destination marketing material, and (in the Elite Package) VIP gifting, wine and drinks activations and customised marketing materials.

happen on-site that make a big difference to the delegate’s experience. The SANCB is proud to offer on-site event services as part of its range of support services. The objective of this service offering is to enhance the delegate’s experiences and put into perspective the value of the delegate’s visit to our country, over and above the value of

the conference programme itself. Some examples include:

• Lobbying and promotional support, among other services

• Activity/local attraction bookings

• Government Letters of Support

Site inspections showcase the elements included in the destination’s bid and are part of the SANCB’s service offering.


• The opportunity to leave a lasting impression



• Political/economic stability

b) Locating suppliers

The evaluation criteria for choosing one of these packages includes:

• The Standard Plus Package

• Being part of an international association agenda

• Seasonality

• Support provided in the bidding phase

• South Africa is a world-class destination

• Delivery of world-class services and experiences that are on time and bring the WOW factor

• South Africans are warm, welcoming and professional. Furthermore, well-coordinated site inspections give decision-makers key insights into the wide variety of venues available in the chosen city. This allows decision-makers to make their choices based on the facilities and location that best suits the conference attendees

The SANCB offers three packages to assist with delegate boosting:

• The Standard Package

• South Africa is an innovative and advanced nation

• South Africa is a cost-effective destination with attractive exchange rates

• Travel arrangements and activities for accompanying persons

• South Africa is a secure and harmonious nation

• Personalised gifts

The SANCB, with the city and provincial bureaux, is perfectly positioned to assist with planning a congress, meeting, expo or convention in South Africa. Their team has effective working relationships with an extensive database of local service providers. The SANCB can also facilitate collateral materials, government liaison and advice on the destination and local issues. Key services during the convention planning stage include:

The SANCB, in conjunction with the city and provincial convention bureaux, organises and facilitates site inspections to assist association heads and business-event decision-makers by introducing them to the event professionals who will bring their meeting, conference, event or incentive to life. The SANCB will invite key decision-makers to view options to help confirm the conference offering, including pre- and postshow opportunities. Site inspections are a crucial part of the decision-making process for business events. The venue must be conveniently situated close to transport routes and important amenities and must boast the facilities and luxuries that befit a business traveller and conference delegate. The venue must be secure and attractive, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and technology, as well as excellent cuisine and a wide range of culinary and beverage options. Site inspections also reinforce the benefits of hosting a conference in South Africa and dispel negative preconceived notions. The benefits are:

• Cultural entertainment


f) Advising on pre- and posttour opportunities

• Welcome stands and airport transfers

c) Compiling cost estimates conferences

a) Sourcing venues


d) Submitting and monitoring RFPs

• Delegate numbers (and the countries they are from)

• Independent advice when selecting a destination for your event

• The Elite Package

In the Bidding Support phase, the SANCB can provide the following support:



A lawyer by training, Khumalo holds a BA Law degree, master’s certificates in marketing and organisational behaviour, as well as a certificate in digital marketing. He is a certified Chartered Marketer and serves as a board member of the Marketing Association of South Africa.

Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer (SANCB) Zinhle Nzama was appointed general manager of Strategic Events at South African Tourism in 2022. The role entails strategically creating global market access platforms for tourism delegates around the world, including two SA Tourism owned trade shows: Africa’s Travel Indaba and Meetings Africa. The portfolio also includes Destination SA brand exposure to seven strategic global platforms and staging the country’s recognition initiative, the Lilizela Tourism Awards.


She is a seasoned business leader who has held executive and senior positions in tourism, cinema, advertising and media, and was responsible for setting up the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa’s transformation and education council responsible for implementation of the Marketing, Advertising and Communications (MAC) Charter within the South African advertising industry.

Nomasonto Ndlovu’s career includes several leadership positions in the tourism sector, such as global manager: Business Tourism at SA Tourism (2008-2012); strategic executive director: Communications, Marketing & Events at City of Tshwane; CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency; and executive manager: Tourism, Heritage and Hospitality at Transnet.

The South African Tourism (SA Tourism) executive team is comprised of dedicated, passionate, committed and hardworking tourism experts, who are appointed by the Minister of Tourism, Ms Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu.

She is a skilled marketing and tourism expert with private and public sector experience from organisations like Unilever, Standard Bank and the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority. A well-respected public speaker, content creator and opinion leader in the tourism industry, Ndlovu also mentors young upcoming tourism professionals.

Chief Financial Officer

Robert Manson drives digital transformation, technology, data analytics and insights for SA Tourism. He offers a wealth of diverse experience from different multinational technology companies like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Altron, Thermofisher Scientific and ImperialMansonHoldings.holdsan impressive multitude of degrees, including three master’s degrees and three postgraduate diplomas, and has completed four additional academic programmes, all from leading universities both locally and internationally.

BRONWEN AURET Chief AssuranceQualityOfficer

Khumalo is a seasoned professional with entrepreneurial flair, and has held senior marketing executive positions in blue-chip companies like Unilever, Coca-Cola, MTN, Cell C and Telkom, among others. He also has aviation and tourism experience, having held executive positions at South African Tourism (20032006), Airports Company South Africa and South African Airways.




Nzama’s tenure with SA Tourism spans over 20 years, working through various business units. This has afforded her great domestic, regional and international tourism exposure. Her accomplishments include origination and execution of the first Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit in 2021 as well as staging Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Tourism in 2022.



Nombulelo Guliwe joined SA Tourism as a financial compliance and performance manager in 2011. She has since held numerous finance management positions within the organisation, leading to her appointment as CFO in 2019. Guliwe is currently the chair and a trustee of the South African Tourism Pension Fund. She is registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants as a Chartered Accountant (SA) and holds bachelor’s and honours degrees in accounting from the University of Johannesburg.

In 2006, Bronwen Auret joined SA Tourism as a digital marketing specialist and has worked her way to now be at the helm of key strategic change for the tourism, publishing, marketing, cinema and advertising sectors.

ROBERT MANSON Chief TransformationDigital & Technology Officer

Nzama holds an MBA: Events Management, BA: Psychology and Sociology, Diploma: Information Technology, and certificates in project management and in tourism development for regional sustainability.


eneral reports indicate that incentive travel is alive and kicking within North America and Europe, while Asia is still struggling, especially as some destinations are still experiencing lockdowns.


Tes Proos , president of SITE Africa and founder of Crystal Events Africa, shares her and her colleagues’ views on the current state of the inbound incentive travel


According to Daryl Keywood, MD of Walthers DBS, “We are definitely seeing a return of incentive travel in the short term, with pre-Covid postponements and new business for 2022/3, but we are also hearing lots of concerns about the medium-term outlook.

Nick Buckland, co-founder of Into Africa, states, “We think the interest and desire for incentive travel is definitely there. We are seeing a good stream of enquiries – the challenge is getting these to convert. It isn’t always about budget, as some corporates have plenty to spend (left over from the Covid period).

According to Michael Waller, CEO of Dragonfly Africa, clients are being surprisingly reasonable around contracting in the aftermath of Covid-19. He says, “As always, the market will dictate lodge and hotel pricing, but there is always a lag that is detrimental to the sector. So, to make it sustainable, suppliers need to go carefully with increases and not gouge now while the interest is high. Even if they think they will relook later, adding specials etc. to win back the market, this has a lag and the cost of that type of pricing versus consistent reasonable increases is costly in the long run.” THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 11


He adds that inflation and recession concerns are also delaying decisions on incentive travel spend. Some companies did well during Covid (such as the pharmaceutical, financial services and insurance), while others haven’t fared so well (including automotive and construction). He adds, “In the UK, the bank rate rose from 1.25% to 1.75% (that’s a 40% increase) in August 2022, and much larger interest rate hikes are still expected this year. The US is experiencing similar inflationary trends.


companies tending towards destinations closer to home. (We suspect global uncertainty plays a part “Flightshere.)–both availability and cost – are a concern. We need a carrier on the São Paulo–Johannesburg route again. A meeting request for Cape Town out of Egypt was declined because of the cost of the air travel.”

“We are seeing great enquiries but also some caution as to how many will qualify and travel, even on incentive trips that we have already received deposits on.”


“Long haul travel is often a challenge when it comes to the final decision, with European

In conclusion, the rebound of incentive travel looks positive towards late 2023 and into 2024. In the meantime, industry-wide pricing and service levels remain a concern and should be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Peter-John Mitrovich, CEO of Grosvenor Tours, indicates that the most positive reaction currently is from the US market. Adding the fact that there will be three additional direct flights from the US to Cape Town by the end of 2022, there certainly are opportunities for incentive travel from the US to increase exponentially.

We are seeing great enquiries but also some caution as to how many will qualify and travel, even on incentive trips that we have already received deposits on.”


East Africa appears to be rebounding very well, yet South Africa is still a question mark. Destination management companies are experiencing mixed reactions from various markets. Many of the groups currently travelling are Covid-19-related postponements. General feedback is that enquiries are coming in for travel from late Q1 (2023) and onwards.

In the meantime, radical increases in flight costs are not helping, nor is the chaos that reigns among UK and European airports due to lack of ground services. Losing one day on an incentive trip has a permanent knock-on effect and programmes cannot necessarily just be extended by a day. He adds that South Africa is not forgotten, it will just take longer to fully recover.

Glenton de Kock,

buyers and 216 exhibitors from 13 African countries together. Before the event even began, over 2 000 meetings were already set up in the online diary system, demonstrating the eagerness everyone feels to get back to business.


He cites Meetings Africa 2022, SA Tourism’s trade show for the business tourism industry, as being a critical event in rebuilding the business tourism and events industry.








He says that 2022 started cautiously, as travel restrictions lifted gradually and there was some initial hesitancy about organising large events. However, as the sector’s confidence has grown, so has the pace of events being organised. “These events have not only built confidence with exhibitors and attendees/delegates, but they have also demonstrated what the industry advocated for throughout the pandemic – that the industry is well positioned to deliver safe and responsible business events,” he adds.

Devi Paulsen-Abbott, chairperson of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO), agrees that the recovery process has started slowly but is gaining traction, and says, “The exhibitions industry had to bear the brunt of the pandemic with debilitating restrictions preventing events of scale to be run viably. The path to recovery has been a slow burn and organisers and suppliers to the industry

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK FOR 2023 and beyond


art of the success of the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) lies in the strong relationships it has built with both local and international industry associations, allowing it to bridge what can often be a divide between public and private enterprises. These partnerships enable a symbiotic relationship, working towards a shared goal and vision that, at present, is very much focused on our sector’s recovery.

The show was held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, from 1 to 2 March 2022, and brought 161 global

The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) is one such key partner. CEO Glenton de Kock says,

The Incentive Planner gains insights from some of SANCB’s association partners into what the industry’s recovery looks like, and where we can expect to go from here.

“Globally, on the African continent, as well here at home in South Africa, we are well on the road to recovery.”


Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief conventions bureau officer of the SANCB, describes this flagship event as “the engine room of our countries”, as it powers other industries by promoting and enhancing trade and development opportunities. As such, the event was warmly received as an opportunity to reignite economies.

David Frost, CEO,


“In South Africa, the industry is on track to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024/25, so my outlook is positive. However, our narrative needs to be far more considered,” cautions Devi. She highlights that negative international media coverage of load-shedding challenges, water shortages in some provinces, and safety and security concerns can hurt our ability to attract international events. “We as an industry need to ensure that we strongly render that our ability to operate is tenable and that security concerns, while rational, are generally not high risk in main tourist destinations,” she stresses.


Meanwhile, international visitor numbers are showing a healthy return and the incentive tourism sector is incredibly busy right now. David Frost, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), attributes this to “a combination of pentup demand, and existing bookings that had been shifted out during Covid for travel once restrictions had been lifted.”


also optimistic about the return of business events, noting the enthusiasm for them to be held in person. He admits it is a slow recovery, but believes that, from 2023 and going forward, it will gain momentum.


He adds that some of this busyness is due to reduced teams that cannot scale because of staff shortages – “particularly at a senior level and support roles such as marketing”. With additional airlift being anticipated for the peak summer season, the sector is likely to be under greater strain in the coming months.

To this end, Glenton applauds the successful hosting of SA Tourism’s leisure tourism trade show, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2022. Held at the Durban ICC in May this year, he says the event helped to “build in-person attendee confidence and demonstrate that we can meet safely in person, particularly after the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal.”

have had to adapt on the fly – but have done so“Mostseamlessly.organisers have managed to bounce back with some sizeable exhibitions in the latter half of 2022, which has been positive to see and experience. Many organisers are reporting some contraction in their footfall, which could be a result of limited budgets for travel, but most have reported that the quality of engagement has been up to the mark.”

Despite the challenges exhibitions face, Devi is optimistic about the future, and says, “Despite some of these trials, South Africa has a strong communication and transport network, so is ideally placed to host large-scale events with world-class venues, hotels and great value for anyone travelling here with foreign currency.”

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), is

“So, we need to know that recovery will be long and slow, with a call to retain the focused discipline we had in moving throughout the pandemic, knowing that we will recover and build back better.”

His advice? “We must control what we can and focus ourselves on positioning South Africa as an attractive post-Covid destination.”

Fortunately, this is not a hard sell, as South Africa has many aspects that appeal to tourists – including the incentive market.

To find out more about the SANCB and its role in growing the business events industry, visit

“There are few countries that deliver the value-for-money, destination experience and product diversity that South Africa does. We have a proven track record in wowing incentive travellers and are just the tonic needed in this post-Covid world – a combination of openness, freedom, diversity, affordability and fun,” he concludes.

“We have already started seeing many companies starting to think of how they could return to what they used to do pre-Covid, so we will see a higher level of recovery from the domestic front. From the international front, it’s still going to take time because international associations still need to decide what they’re going to do moving forward. So, we may still see a bit of a lag from the international business events point of view,” he adds. THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 13 #MICESECTOR

“Geopolitics, which are constraining economic growth, are impacting the cost of living both in South Africa and the world, and this will hamper recovery. Added to the global skills shortage, we will need to deliver smartly while ensuring we don’t compromise on the quality of experience.

When asked about his outlook for 2023 and beyond, Glenton says, “We will see slight improvement in 2023, with all things being equal. Confidence of having delivered in 2022 will provide some clarity on how we may add minimal incremental changes for growth in 2023. However, all indications are that, at the current pace at which recovery is unfolding, we will see improvement in 2024/25.

Furthermore, David cautions, “Much of the business that is being fulfilled as mentioned is that which was in the books and had to be postponed, so we mustn’t forget that we need to build our pipeline for business beyond that, particularly out of our traditional core markets, which themselves are facing certain challenges – i.e. airport staffing shortages, cancelled flights, inflationary pressures, etc. Several of our emerging markets, like China, still find themselves closed to travel or limiting travel, and we anticipate that this will remain until at least end of 2023.”

The future of tourism is –and must be –SUSTAINABLE

Sustainable tourism, responsible travel, eco-tourism… ultimately these all speak to the same ethos for tourism to be better for everyone and everything involved. And they couldn’t come at a better time, as the tourism industry looks for ways to build back better.

If Covid has taught us anything, it is that both the environment and people matter, and that incorporating both these aspects into any tourism operation are key.”


ourism is an economic powerhouse. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) found that, pre-Covid, it contributed 10.3% of global GDP (US$9.6 trillion). Given its magnitude, it’s no surprise that it has a significant impact on people and places around theSometimesworld.


this impact is positive – for example, leading to job creation (globally tourism created one in four new jobs, pre-Covid) and the development of muchneeded infrastructure. But sometimes it isn’t – for example, when it contributes 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions or when developments damage or destroy unique ecosystems.

It’s not only ethical considerations that are driving the sustainability movement in travel and tourism. Self-preservation is also at stake. Travel and tourism are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Covid is the most obvious example of this. But also consider Cape Town’s brush with Day Zero, a scenario that Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape


• Book with airlines that are using Sustainable Aviation Fuel* (SAF).

• Book direct flights.

• Serve traditional dishes native to the region.


For example:

GOODS Eco-procurement means choosing to buy goods or services that uphold sustainability principles. This requires you to get to know how your suppliers and service providers operate. Ask to see their environmental policy, and ask questions about it, including how they benefit people and our planet.

• Donate edible excess food to food programmes.

• To lower the carbon footprint of your meals, limit red meat and dairy, and offer more plant-based options.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future

Put another way, it is about meeting the needs of today’s travellers and host regions while protecting and even enhancing opportunities for the future.

FOOD & BEVERAGE Eco-procurement principles hold true when selecting food and beverage options for your guests. Some key considerations include the following:

Over 450 000 flights have taken to the skies using SAF, and over 50 airlines are using it. IATA anticipates that SAF will replace almost all fossil jet fuel over the coming decades.

officer at Ojimah, says, “Probably not as well as it could be, but at least there is a greater focus from the industry to move towards sustainability and responsible tourism. If Covid

When asked how well the local tourism industry is doing in terms of sustainability, Tessa Buhrmann, founder and editor of Responsible Traveller magazine and chief sustainability

TRAVEL According to the same study, aircraft and cars are the worst offenders when it comes to greenhouse gases. As a longhaul destination, South Africa sees most travellers enter by air. And once here, our sprawling landscapes and limited options mean automotive vehicles are a popular mode of getting around. It’s therefore critical we find ‘greener’ ways to travel.

• Opt for fuel-efficient or electric vehicles.

• Look out for reputable certification labels, such as Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), Fairtrade International, and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

HOTELS The easiest way to pick authentically ‘green’ accommodation is to choose one that has been independently certified, by labels such as Heritage, Green Globe or Fair Trade in Tourism. However, based on his own research, McManus says that pre-Covid less than 1% of hotels were certified. So, where options are limited, he recommends incentive planners give preference to sustainable accommodation through a vetting process. McManus says, “The first thing to ask is to see their sustainability policy. Next, interrogate it. Ask questions about their initiatives and don’t take anything at face value. If they are truly committed to their policy, they will be able to answer these questions – and likely will be excited to share their successes with you!”

• Give preference to seasonal and organic produce.


• Educate drivers on eco-friendly driving practices.


• Inedible food waste can be composted to divert it from landfill.

economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.

OFFSETS Carbon offsetting has gained popularity in recent years as a way to wipe out our carbon debt to the planet. However, it’s not the silver bullet we all wish it could be, simply because it cannot keep pace with unchecked emissions.

• Where possible, always source locally grown ingredients.

• Reduce food waste by not over-catering and have a clever reuse strategy in the kitchen.

* The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports that Sustainable Aviation Fuel generates 80% less CO2 emissions than fossil fuel. It can be produced from multiple renewable and abundant sources such as: waste, rotation crops, and algae and plants that grow in salt water.

Fortunately, we know what to do to make tourism have an increasingly positive impact, to benefit the planet, people and business profitability. In a nutshell: sustainable tourism.

According to a 2018 study, four of the biggest contributors to tourism’s carbon footprint are: international travel (49%), goods (12%), food and beverage (10%), and lodgings (8%). Here are some suggestions on what you can do to minimise the carbon footprint of each of these.

• Book with airlines that have a demonstrable commitment to improving their sustainability score.

It is also key that credible carbon offsetting projects are used, so always do your homework.

“Carbon offsetting has its place in sustainable operations, but its place is firmly at the end of the queue. This means that every business needs to try to minimise their carbon footprint at every stage of their operations. Only once they have done this should they consider offsetting them,” says McManus.

is facing at the time of writing. Or how the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal damaged properties and led to water and power cuts. These impacts are likely to deter most travellers –and, arguably, especially incentive groups. THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 15

Buying local is key, as this supports job creation and keeps money in the country. Several South African NGOs are doing amazing work in this regard, working with local artisans to bring their goods to market. Through this, they are injecting muchneeded money into these communities while tackling a host of social issues. A few examples include Africa! Ignite (africaignite., African Mamas Crafts ( and Local Conference Solutions (


• Reduce single-use plastic packaging.

She adds that involving local communities in an incentive traveller’s experience can be hugely enriching. It’s a way to share the full flavours of what makes a destination unique in a very relatable and (clearly) human way.

And then, of course, there are the less tangible but invaluable benefits you will be imparting to the ecosystem in which you operate – from the flora and fauna to the people and economy, all of which also benefit your business through what they can offer. It’s symbiosis at its best.


By doing this, you can share the heart and soul of a place, while helping to raise awareness about sustainability issues and how they can be tackled.

If your business is already doing this, Buhrmann argues that you need to share these stories in an engaging way. From conservation success stories to personal success stories (such as the executive chef who started out washing dishes), as well as initiatives to help local communities (like installing a water pump for clean drinking water) or introducing the many people who are behind a successful tourism experience – the entrepreneurs that do your laundry, make your bread and supply the fresh produce.

For those who get it right, Greg McManus believes the financial and reputational rewards will be McManussubstantial.isasustainability consultant for the event and hospitality industry, as well as the founder and director of Heritage Environmental Management company, an independent certification label for the hotel and events industry. He says, “Often, hoteliers and venue owners see their operating expenses as a given based on the cost of the services used, whereas they need to understand the savings that can be achieved through smarter, more responsible use of resources and services.” He argues that a hotel can, for example, reduce its energy bill by 40% simply by putting a process in place to prevent the unnecessary use of lights, air conditioning and heating.



However, while Buhrmann acknowledges this as “all good things”, she believes the social aspect of sustainable tourism is still largely overlooked. “Until we realise that people, especially the communities surrounding tourism operations, need to benefit, our move towards sustainable tourism will be thwarted,” she says.

On top of this, research has shown that eco-tourists are willing to pay a premium for products and services that support sustainable principles. It’s a niche market looking likely to expand in the coming years, so is a market well worth attracting.

has taught us anything, it is that both the environment and people matter, and that incorporating both these aspects into any tourism operation areAskey.”aresult, the three key pillars of andtoasdeservedgettingguardianshipenvironmentalaresomewell-recognition,theindustrystrivesconserveenergywaterandminimise its waste-to-landfill footprint.


If you’re wondering how to shift your business to a more sustainable model, Buhrmann recommends you look closely at your business priorities and ask questions like: Is it profit above all? Are local communities involved and do they benefit financially? How do the environment and conservation fit into the business plan? From there you can consider how to improve on these facets of your business.

“As an incentive planner, I would suggest making these meaningful experiences an essential part of their incentive programme – it’s the conversation with the barman that their guests will remember, not just the perfectly chilled chardonnay; that sense of wonder when they pause on a game drive and the ranger identifies the sounds of the bush or explains the cultural significance of a particular tree; and the waft of wood smoke that lingers in their hair after a traditional Zulu dance around the fire…” she illustrates.


As sustainable tourism grows, so too does an intolerance of greenwashing, as consumers are savvier about sustainability issues and what is at stake.”

In terms of brand reputation, McManus cautions that it’s crucial that you always communicate your sustainable credentials in an honest and transparent way. This means not overstating your achievements and always being able to prove your claims. Otherwise, you risk being accused of greenwashing, or deceiving your clients about your sustainability, which will harm your credibility. As sustainable tourism grows, so too does an intolerance of greenwashing, as consumers are savvier about sustainability issues and what is at stake.

It’s the conversation with the barman that their guests will remember, not just the perfectly chilled chardonnay.”

Zinhle Nzama, Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SANCB

I don’t believe that a virtual tour can do any justice to our destinations in Africa, because Africa has a rhythm, Africa is a place where you can rest and rejuvenate, it’s the only place in the world where the drums can bring people together, it’s the smells and tastes, it’s the connections between people.”

Adventure Experiences, Safaris, Game Lodges & Outdoor Activities /

Activities: historical sites, rock art sites, mountaineering, hiking/walking trails, game viewing, trout fishing, ice climbing, mountain huts, picnicking, mountain biking, seasonal rock fountain and champagne pool.

It offers much for

Giant’s Castle is situated in the central part of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, about a six-hour drive from Johannesburg via the N3 and about three hours from Durban. Giant’s Castle, dubbed “the Flower of the Drakensberg” due to impressively diversity, rolling grasslands, crags and cliffs, lies in the “Little ‘Berg”, with Resort the Bushman’s River. the


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Offering vast silence

Giant’s Castle

vulture hide,

outdoor enthusiast as well as those searching for the tranquillity of natural surroundings.

rich floral

when even the sighing of the wind ceases, Giant’s Castle provides a feast of beau�ful mountain scenery, sparkling clear streams, solitude and comfortable accommoda�on ...

Some of the magnificent wine estates around Franschhoek also offer interesting experiences other than ‘the usual’ wine and cheese pairings, such as the ongoing art exhibitions at La Motte Wine Estate displaying works by famous and upcoming South African artists. The Franschhoek Motor Museum on L’Ormarins Wine Estate has a classic motor museum that showcases over 100 years of automotive history and more than 220 vehicles. Meanwhile, Babylonstoren is an undiscovered gem of Cape history, with its gardens almost rivalling Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens’ range of plants.

There’s a huge range of accommodation options in the Cape and its surrounding winelands, from five-star luxury hotels to boutique lodges with exclusive beach access, private fully equipped apartments and more. Cape Town International Airport has been adding direct flights from key source markets overseas, making it more accessible – and therefore even more appealing.

For something more sedate, groups can enjoy cocktails paired with stunning views. There are countless scenic options – such as on Table Mountain, a chartered yacht, or at the Ocular Lounge & Events Space. The latter is perfect for art lovers. Set in the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) at the V&A Waterfront, guests can admire the


Of course, a trip to South Africa isn’t complete without gaining some insights into the nation’s history. Robben Island, a Unesco World Heritage site, offers walking tours with guides who are fully conversant and knowledgeable about the island’s multilayered 500-year-old history. No one walks away unmoved.

Game drive options include night drives, where prowling nocturnal predators can be sighted, or off-road game viewing to reach remote and isolated regions of the park. For a more immersive experience, there are on-foot bush walks and game tracking with expert guides, as well as horseback rides, mountain biking and hiking. Or, for a bird’s-eye view, groups can peacefully drift above the scrub in hot air balloons.



There are a fantastic range of accommodation options to choose from,

The region has an abundance of things to do. Marine lovers are spoilt for choice, with options like snorkelling in the kelp forests made famous by the documentary My Octopus Teacher or taking a water-bike ride across the sheltered waters of False Bay. (For the uninitiated, a water-bike glides over the water while you ‘cycle’. It’s a novel way to enjoy the vast scenery and encounter sea life – including surfacing whales if you’re lucky!) And if something more adrenaline-inducing is needed, cage diving with great white sharks in Gansbaai is also an option.

Cape Town is also a foodie’s delight, lending itself to gastronomy tours and experiences. Incentive groups can be wined and dined at the top 20 celebrity chef restaurants or make their own meal with an authentic Cape Malay cooking class. The latter can be combined with a cultural tour of the colourful Bo-Kaap quarter, tailormade for the tour group by a local.

Cape Town and its surrounding winelands, beaches, mountains and nature – all of which extend along the scenic Garden Route – has something for everyone. So much so that according to the Tourism Sentiment Index, four spots made it into the 100 most loved destinations around the world in 2021. They are Knysna (#19), Stellenbosch (#23), Hermanus (#41) and Cape Town (#54).

Ocular Lounge’s sweeping 270-degree view of Cape Town after admiring the museum’s artworks. With over 100 galleries and multiple multifunctional event spaces, it’s the perfect canvas for special events.

The Kruger’s entertainment isn’t only about the wildlife. Helicopter rides, fishing, golf, swimming, tennis, community visits, yoga, spa treatments and wine tastings are all available. And to end off the day, a gourmet dinner under a Bedouin-style tent followed by an astronomy lecture and gazing at the unobstructed night skies in all their brilliance might be just the ticket before hitting the proverbial sack –which, in reality, is a contemporary take on luxury safari living.

The beach and bush continue to be South Africa’s top incentive picks. The Incentive Planner explores what these have on offer for incredible itineraries.

Nothing quite beats a sunrise over the African bush, as you take in the sights and sounds of the wild rousing itself for another day. South Africa’s flagship safari destination is the worldrenowned Kruger National Park. Covering nearly 2 million hectares (or 20 000 km²), the bush is teeming with wildlife. All of Africa’s iconic safari species (including the big five) live here in abundance. It’s also a twitcher’s paradise, with over 500 varieties of birds.


Other benefits to visiting Pilanesberg are that it is a malaria-free zone, and it’s accessible from O.R. Tambo International Airport 220 km away or the Pilanesberg International Airport inside the park. Plus, a mere 40-minute drive away is Sun City – the entertainment mecca developed by hotel magnate Sol Kerzner. This means that after the bush, guests can dress up for a glamorous gala dinner at Sun CityAnd in the morning, there are even more activities to choose from.

The most convenient ways for groups to reach the Kruger National Park is by taking a flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, which is an hour’s drive from the park, or flying directly



Beyond Kruger’s borders are additional, exciting itinerary add-ons, including rhino dehorning conservation safaris or community upliftment projects. These kinds of experiences can have a huge personal impact on incentive travellers and help to leave a positive legacy behind when they return home. This is something incentive groups are increasingly requesting.

from Johannesburg to Skukuza. Alternatively, Johannesburg is a six-hour drive away.

whether guests are staying in one of the allinclusive private game lodges within the park’s boundaries, or at one of the park’s own lodges or opulent tented camps.

Sun City Waterworld boasts an array of water activities, while the Zip 2000 is a 2 km zipline that reaches an average speed of 120 km/h. Groups can wander the Maze of the Lost City, the largest permanent maze in the southern hemisphere, which is available for private events. Or they can relax at the Valley of Waves, a man-made beach complete with waves lapping against its soft sands. The Valley of Waves also makes a spectacular venue for private events, with 16 event spaces to choose from, the largest of which can cater for up to 1 000 Shouldguests.your incentive tour require conferencing facilities, the Sun City Convention Centre has a selection of premium venues for intimate or large-scale events, with 27 upgraded Sun City conference rooms, three convention centres and two auditoriums.

Sun City also prides itself on unsurpassed fivestar luxury accommodation at the Palace of the Lost City and the Cascades hotel. There’s also the four-star Sun City Hotel and Casino, and the contemporary Cabanas.


Pilanesberg National Park fills a volcano crater that erupted 1 300 million years ago. This geographical phenomenon spans an area of 550 km², is the fourth largest park in South Africa and home to over 7 000 animals, including the big Pilanesbergfive. has several luxury lodges and three exclusive-use lodges. All of these meet the same excellent luxury safari standard and offer groups memorable experiences such as cooling off in a splash pool overlooking a savanna sunset and lantern-lit dining in the bush.

Jordan Davidson

Reconnect with the magic of simply being in nature. Conserving an ancient heritage while preserving threatened ecosystems and sensitive landscapes, Sanbona offers a sustainable eco-tourism safari to explore 58 000 hectares of unbroken Little Karoo country just 3 hours outside of Cape Town, along Route 62.

Sharing the regions unique and rich biodiversity, the reserve takes a holistic approach to offer a complete nature and wildlife experience. Malaria-free and more than just a Big Five wilderness reserve, disconnect at one of three intimate Lodges where time stands still and nature takes centre stage. THE LITTLE

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Come and experience the thrill of seeing a cheetah run at high speed. After the run, guests will be escorted by a knowledgeable guide in an open game viewer to see our cheetah, wild dogs and other small animals.

credit: Ashia Cheetah Conservation

Besides a very successful breeding programme, the centre also promotes and manages the following projects:


Since 1971, the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre - De Wildt has been at the forefront of fighting for the survival of cheetah, African wild dogs and endangeredother species.



nn van Dyk founded The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre - De Wildt (NPO 086-622), formally known as De Wildt Cheetah Research Centre, in 1971. Since then, she has had great success with breeding cheetah in captivity and, over the years, the centre has become the guardian of a sustainable source of cheetah genetics, to ensure the survival of this enigmatic species.


Leopard and cheetah rehabilitation are also very important to us. We provide safe, short-term holding for big cats who live in the wild, when in need of a place to recover. This is often from wounds caused by snares and other predator/human conflict.


De Wildt provides this facility free of charge to our local nature conservation authorities, until a new and safe location can be identified for release.


experience... excellent service.

well looked-after

Over the last four years, the centre has provided 24 captive-born cheetahs for re-wilding as part of our collaboration with Ashia Cheetah Conservation.


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Visit us and book one of our daily game drives, walking or private tours. We would love to show you our centre – Adopt a wild child and help us pay the medical and food bills – to our animals – WhatsApp +27 63 693 7403 Monetary donations are also welcome - Cheetah conservation is our passion – Your support makes this possible. HOW

Lastly, raising awareness for the plight of the cheetah, African wild dogs and other endangered species and our natural world, is paramount to our conservation efforts. By welcoming school groups, and offering walking and private tours, we ensure we spread our love of conservation to others.


“Had absolutely time today. Loved seeing all the beautiful animals, the staff are also very helpful and have a vast knowledge that they shared during the tour. Thank you for the amazing experience.” Juanita Amdur

“Lovely The are and the was well the






place is beautiful with well lookedafter animals. All

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“What a great experience! Saw so many animals up close, absolutely breathtaking.” Leti Pulchartova


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staff are friendly and professional.



BUFFELSDRIFT GAME LODGE IS SITUATED IN THE HEART OF THE KLEIN KAROO WHICH IS PART OF THE WORLD FAMOUS GARDEN ROUTE, WESTERN CAPE IN SOUTH AFRICA. We have a wide variety of activ ities such as : Bush Safaris, Night Drive, Meerkat Safari, Lion Experience, Free Roaming Cheetah Experience, Elephant Experience and Observation and a Heritage Nature Walk. We are also well equipped to host conferences and weddings and have in house specialists that can assist you with this. | +27(0) 44 272 0000 www.buffelsdrift.comSCANME


It all starts with a meeting, which is followed by economic development, education and engagement. This provides a platform to showcase our new and existing innovations, thinking and developments, which all yield business opportunities.”

Zinhle Nzama, Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SANCB

Tourism & Conferencing

Free ice-cream making sessions are open to everyone on Monday mornings, and participants get to take some dessert home. Guzha will also accept an ingredient you think will make a good flavour in exchange for some of the resultant ice cream!

ity tours are great add-ons for incentive itineraries as well as conference or meeting programmes where delegates have travelled far and wide. If you go this route, why not seek out alternatives to the destination’s famed sightseeing spots – like the ideas we have listed

To this end, Guzha’s handcrafted ice cream serves up fabulous flavours from across the

continent. Ingredients include a nutritious edible clay that pregnant women in Africa enjoy, the ash and smoke of imphepho (liquorice plant), amasi (a fermented milk product) and sorghum.

Bellevue giraffe tracking safari


join marine biologists and members of the Cape Radd team to help with research, all while learning about life in the ocean in an adventurous and hands-on way.

these businesses are geared towards impact tourism. That means that, not only will your delegates have an amazing experience, but they will also have a positive impact on their destination through the community or environmental benefits they are supporting.


Cape Research and Diver Development (Cape Radd) offers guided scuba, snorkelling and boatbased opportunities for volunteers to participate in science expeditions in False Bay. Participants

eNanda Tours

Tapi Tapi is an artisanal African ice-cream brand created by microbiologist turned ice-cream maker Tapiwa Guzha. Guzha believes that colonialism has given us very Eurocentric ideas about food and has made indigenous cuisine seem somehow inferior. It is his mission to change this.



The snorkelling and scuba excursions involve swimming or diving in kelp forests, while collecting data on fish and other marine life in the area. The boat-based expedition is an exclusively onboard experience where drop cameras open a window into the lives of seals, penguins, whales, dolphins andCapesharks.Radd specialises in projects that monitor and investigate the biodiversity of a global hotspot home to more than 3 500 endemic marine species, with conservation at the heart of their purpose.

Durban delegates can visit one of five contemporary and colourful WOWZULU Marketplaces located at Inanda Durban, Emazizini, Khula Village, KwaNzimakwe and Ilembe.




As well as serving clients from his outdoor ice-cream parlour in the vibrant Observatory neighbourhood, Guzha feeds hungry locals through his food accessibility project, dubbed ‘Iwe neni’. This provides nutritious meals and allows people who would normally not be able to afford his ice cream the chance to try it.

across the African continent, especially for black women.

Technically, this isn’t a city escape, as the tour takes place in Bellevue Forest Reserve, a 2 500 hectare private game reserve in the Greater Addo region. But it is easily accessible from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), being a quick hour’sFromdrive.animpact perspective, Bellevue Forest Reserve is involved in the ecological restoration of natural wildscapes and original wildlife corridors, while preserving endangered flora and fauna. Its Foundation funds sustainable projects in educational, community and environmental projects in the Eastern Cape, and guests are welcome to participate in community activities and experience this upliftment first-hand.

along the way. The Inanda Dam offers an array of activities from canoeing to fishing to waterskiing while spotting the vibrant birdlife found in the area. eNanda Adventures is also home to one of the GO!Durban Cycle Academy’s tracks with mountain bike cycling trails available for cycling toorganisationandAdventuresBookingsenthusiasts.foreNandacanbedonethroughtheDurbanGreenCorridor,asocial-purposeimpact-focusedthataimsseecommunitiesthrive


For an authentically African beer tasting experience, head to Tolokazi Beer in Roodepoort. The craft beers and ciders, including an alcohol-free beer, are made with indigenous African ingredients such as sorghum, African Queen and Simcoe hops, rooibos and hibiscus.




The marketplaces started out as a space for rural craft organisations to sell their beautiful handmade products, under the Africa! Ignite programme. Most of the crafters are women who come from areas with poor infrastructure, high unemployment and a high incidence of HIV/Aids, so this opportunity provides them with a much-needed source ofHowever,income. the WOWZULU Marketplaces have evolved into something much bigger, and now combine craft sales with vibrant cultural experiences and attractions such as traditional culinary experiences, storytelling, rural home stays, and opportunities to learn timehonoured craft techniques while creating specialAfrica!keepsakes.Igniteisa leading South African nonprofit rural enterprise development agency that has worked across rural KwaZulu-Natal for more than a decade. In 2019, it launched its WOWBiz social franchises. The WOWBiz centres offer critical support for emerging businesses through services such as business registration compliance and planning, printing, marketing, branding, social media and mentorship – thus expanding on the entrepreneurial support they are providing to these communities.

Tolokazi is not a new brand, but a revamp of the Brewsters Craft range that Apiwe NxusaniMawela launched in 2019. She says, “Tolokazi is a beer that honours the African brewing heritage, as beer brewing has always been the province of women in Southern Africa. And just as the name suggests (brewster is the name for a female brewer), the company’s staff complement is made up almost entirely ofNxusani-Mawelawomen.” has also used her position and influence to advance brewing qualifications

Tapi Tapi

in balance with the habitats around them. Green Corridors explains, “We co-create open spaces in key local destinations that balance environmental ‘musts’ with the challenges and opportunities of the communities that live, work and thrive within them.”

In the heart of the vast and stunningly beautiful Inanda Valley, adventure awaits. Situated right on Durban’s doorstep, eNanda Adventures describes itself as “a hidden gem with everything you need to revitalise and break free from the hustle and bustle of cityVisitorslife”. can go on a guided hike to the majestic Mzinyathi Falls and discover Inanda’s cultural treasures etched into the landscape


WOWZULU Marketplaces


Take a walk on the wild side, with a giraffe tracking safari. This on-foot adventure takes just under two hours, is led by a highly experienced, trained and armed trail guide and is suited to smaller groups of no more than 10 people.

offers walking and theatre tours, including the highly recommended From Sophiatown to Soweto. Owner Mbali Zwane explains, “Sophiatown was a vibrant place, the home of jazz, the mother of style, the Chicago of South Africa, the place that gave birth to many jazz icons like Thandi Klassen, Bra Hugh Masekela and countless others! Our aim is to share the hidden treasures of Johannesburg by unveiling the forgotten stories of Sophiatown though tours, poems, dance, music and stories from theDelegatesvictims.”will meet and talk to people who experienced the forced removals and later returned to live in Sophiatown. To finish off the tour, they will be taught a dance inspired by these stories.


MeiringNaudeRoad,Brummeria,Pretoria t: +27128413884 e: contactdetails TheCSIRInternationalConventionCentre(CSIRICC) offerssuperbfacilitiesandqualityserviceinits conference,function,andexhibitionvenues.Notonly doweprovidetheperfectvenue,ourexperiencedand dedicatedteamwillconceptualiseandarrangespecial andextraordinaryservicesforsocialeventssuchas year-endfunctions,privateparties,graduation ceremoniesandotherglass-clinkingevent celebrations. Avarietyofsocialeventpackagesareavailabletocater foryourspecialevents. Ourskilledteamandnetworkofqualifiedsuppliersare onhandtotailor-makeyourspecialeventmemorable!

Zinhle Acting Officer at SANCB


Chief Convention Bureau

Incentive Accommodation & Venues, including Year-end Options / From our vast economic potential in key sectors, such as life sciences and manufacturing, to our incredible natural and cultural assets, South Africa really does have it all.”


• Unique venues like an art gallery, museum,

fter being socially distanced and working remotely, what better way to reconnect your staff than by throwing a year-end party. It’s also an important opportunity to show how much you appreciate their dedication in helping the business make it through the storm. Here is how to make it memorable...

It’s been a tough two years and people are more than ready to reconnect and celebrate with their friends and colleagues, says Gillian Kabe , owner of Blue Velvet Events. She shares these tips to make your year-end celebration extra special – without breaking your budget!

Party loading… GOODBYE 2022, HELLO 2023!

Some of our favourite décor ideas are:

Décor creates the mood and transports your guests to a different head space. The good news is that it doesn’t need to break the bank and you can DIY it.


• Party in colour! Colour allows you to make a statement: whether you choose a single colour, shades of a colour, a colour clash, or the always on-point super sophisticated white party. Colour is a great party tool when selecting mood lighting, decor, centerpieces, tablecloths, candles, and cocktails. The list goes on…


• Movie themes can be a fun source of inspiration. Casino Royale always goes down well with a group that loves to glam up and play till the wee hours, while Alice in Wonderland allows you to escape down a rabbit hole to a playful place of tea parties, Cheshire cats and mad hatters.

• Make your own festive centrepieces using plants, or even seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Experiences are top of the list after being isolated for so long. If you’re looking for something different, switch the party out for a fun learning experience instead. There are plenty of options to choose from, and it’s a great way to get everyone involved. Visit a winery or brewery for a private tour and tasting, or do some good and spend the day at a cheetah, rhino or vulture sanctuary learning about their care and conservation.

• Use fairy lights, candles, balloons, streamers and confetti as a low-cost way to add a touch of fun and excitement.


• Entertainment is where you should consider spending a fair amount of the budget. A good DJ will get everyone up and dancing, releasing all those feel-good party vibes.

• Get creative with the food presentation. Visit Westpack or Crazy Store for a range of fun bamboo cones, boats and other fun food containers.

The Water Villas all feature a 180° degree unobstructed view of the Chobe river and into the Chobe National Park. Perched on stilts over the water’s edge, the Villas’ elevated view includes the world-renowned Sedudu Island.

• Showtime means making your whole function revolve around top-notch entertainment. Think a live concert by a popular band at an outside venue, showgirls, fire performers or undercover singers to surprise and delight.


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If you need to keep the reins on your budget, take advantage of South Africa’s summer.


Blue Velvet Events is a full-service event planning company that specialises in creating unforgettable experiences for corporate clients and special occasions.



Actually, it’s two things. Even if your budget is tight, these are the two things I would never skimp on:

Chobe Water Villas is an exclusive and intimate boutique lodge located in Namibia at the eastern tip of the famous Caprivi Strip, now known as the Zambezi Region.

Amenities include free Wi-Fi and tea & coffee station, mini-bar fridge, hairdryer, electronic safe, multi 220v plugs.

• Good food doesn’t need to be expensive, but it should be tasty and there must be enough. Budget-friendly food options include build-a-burger, gourmet hotdogs or plan a themed bring-and-share.



This spectacular location ensures amazing views of an untamed Africa, available from the Lodge and all of its 16 exclusive Water Villas. Chobe Water Villas is nestled quietly under magnificent shading Acacia Trees and exclusively hosts only 32 guests in its uniquely positioned luxurious Water Villas.

For more information,

T +264 66 253 602 E

supercar showroom, comic store, or rooftop space create a sense of surprise and the unexpected. They’re the perfect place to serve up unusual and luxurious food and drink, like oysters, caviar and champagne.

For inexpensive DIY décor ideas, you can:

Head to an outdoor venue, park or body of water and set up the ultimate picnic. All you need is a pretty spot, blankets, cushions, great food and entertainment. Why not have a carnival-themed picnic, complete with games, prizes and cotton candy. Or you can set up a luxurious picnic in the park, with gourmet food, fine wine and live music.

• Create your own Insta-worthy photo booth with props and a backdrop.


Some companies take this a step further, and their gift is exclusively a donation towards a meaningful cause on the recipient’s behalf. This means your giftee won’t receive a physical gift, but they will get flooded with warm and fuzzy feelings.

Another option is to let someone choose their own gift, using a gift card. It’s a guaranteed perfect present. Gift cards can be either physical or virtual, which opens countless opportunities including experiential gifts.


GIVING Gifts that keep on


Personalisation is a trend that is here to stay.

A thoughtful gift that speaks to someone’s interests and passions is always a win. It demonstrates you pay attention and are willing to take the time to find something they will love. Add some custom elements and you can elevate it even more, such as including an engraved whiskey decanter and tumblers with the 50-year-old bottle of whiskey from an award-winning distillery. Of course, these kinds of gifts cannot easily be done at scale – which is also why they are more likely to be treasured.

Corporate gifts have evolved. Move over branded stress balls and coffee mugs, now is the time to be far meaningful.more


South African Tourism has used this gifting model well in the past at tourism trade shows Meetings Africa and Africa’s Travel Indaba. Hosted buyers were given gift vouchers they could redeem at an on-site sustainability village. As a bonus, the vendors stocked gorgeous products that were all locally sourced and fit the criteria of conscious consumerism.




Conscious consumerism – making the money you spend do good, whether through social or eco beneficiation – is a growing trend. Why buy option A if option B is similar but you know your purchase is helping to educate children in a disadvantaged community or supporting the Rainforest Alliance, for example? This includes ‘green’ gifts, where the item is made with sustainability principles in mind. Think reusable water bottles made from glass or steel (no more plastic, please!) or a solar-powered gadget.

Strand Hotel Swakopmund is the perfect venue for anyone wanting to explore Swakopmund in luxury.


411 4000 | E | W


Coresight estimates the US corporate gift market will increase from US$258 billion (R4.45 trillion) in 2022 to $312 billion (R5.4 trillion) in 2025 (a 6.5% compound annual growth rate over three years).

Coresight Research surveyed 300 corporate gift buyers in the US and found that corporate gifting is on the increase. This is in response to the rise in remote and hybrid work, as well as support for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and wanting to give year-round recognition.

They also found a trend of corporates giving fewer gifts, but of a higher value.

Swakopmund is a great spot to partake in a range of activities from fun and thrilling to calm and relaxing activities.

On shores


Indulge in fine dining like no other and enjoy the delectable flavours of the Strand Hotel Swakopmund Restaurants. Unwind and relax with our tranquil wellness experience in an outstanding spa and wellness facility. Strand is also designed to host meetings, conferences, launches and banquets, big or small, our state-of-the-art business facilities are spread over an area of 440sqm. Boasting with multi-functional spaces which can conform into individual, exclusive or conjoined facilities.

The city within a city is surrounded by 400 trees and lush greenery, with underground parking and a street-based layout that favours pedestrians.


Just 26 km from O.R. Tambo International Airport, Melrose Arch is ideally and centrally located – a mere 5 km from Sandton and Rosebank. It is also close to three golf courses and numerous other local attractions.

@MarriottExecutiveApartmentsJohannesburg@JohannesburgMarriottMelroseArch @FireandiceJHBMelroseArch@MelroseArchHotel

Marriott invites business and leisure travellers to enjoy four unique experiences located at one address.


Marriott’s collection of hotels and apartments offers guests and clients 705 bedrooms and 23 meeting and conferencing venues in what has been officially recognised as South Africa’s only smart city.

Melrose Arch is protected by a team of 90 private security personnel. With 24-hour CCTV surveillance and 600 cameras strategically placed throughout the Precinct, Melrose Arch is one of the safest places to meet, eat and sleep.

The Melrose Arch Precinct mixed-use development is located in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of Melrose. The development cost a total of R1.49 billion to build, with construction beginning in 2000. The final phase of the development was completed in September 2013.

When clients have time to enjoy a break from conferencing, the Precinct offers a myriad of trendy cafes, high-street boutiques, al fresco restaurants and lively entertainment areas, moments from your hotel doorstep.

The swish Melrose Arch Precinct is home to four Marriott properties. The Incentive Planner delivers some insights into what makes each of these venues unique.


With seven meeting rooms, including a 480 sqm ballroom, a combined total function space of over 800 sqm, and 600 sqm of pre-function space, the Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch is perfect for your next big event.

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.

et within the eclectic Melrose Arch Precinct in Johannesburg, the Marriott Melrose Arch Collection constitutes four unique hotel brands all within walking distance of each other.



The Melrose Arch Precinct is comprised of 170 000 sqm of office, retail and residential space. This includes accommodation in the form of several upmarket hotels. With its network of underground parking, cobbled streets and sidewalk cafes, the Precinct lends itself to as little aboveground motor vehicle traffic asDecemberpossible. is a time for festivity at the Melrose Arch Precinct, when the streets are decorated with bright lights that offer dazzling displays, making it a popular family attraction during the end-of-year holiday season.



Dine in at the Keystone Bistro or discover creative mixology at Archer’s Bar & Eatery. Step into the Greatroom, your space to connect, relax, socialise or reflect. Work out in the spacious fitness centre or recharge at the hotel’s tranquil outdoor pool.


Enjoy star-studded glamour during your stay at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Johannesburg Melrose Arch. Famous for its eclectic decor, you’ll feel like a celebrity at this stylish hotel located together with Marriott’s sister properties in the soughtafter Melrose Arch Precinct. Unwind in your lavish room inspired by iconic Hollywood A-listers and revel in some star treatment. Some rooms also boast stunning views over Johannesburg.



For reservations, mhrs.jnbmc.sales@marriott.comemail @marriottmelrosearch@mexecjohannesburg




The hotel’s enticing restaurant is a popular gathering spot for both hotel guests and Johannesburg locals, serving up tasty burgers and decadent milkshakes in 37 exquisite flavours. Keep fit in the gym or work on your tan beside the outdoor pool. Host VIP events in the modern, light-filled meeting and function spaces, which have room for up to 180 guests.

Designed with a curator’s touch, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection celebrates the spirit of Johannesburg with refined comfort and signature experiences. Here, you can discover luxury without compromise in open-plan, boutique accommodations, exposed brick, leather headboards and chicIgnitebathrooms.yoursenses with delectable cuisine at the March Restaurant, or sip aged whiskey by the fire at the Library Lounge. Host flawless meetings and conferences, and choose from a number of sophisticated event spaces, enhanced by custom catering and expert planners. Thereafter, delegates can explore diverse attractions, including Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square, Soweto Township and Maboneng.

Marriott Executive Apartments Melrose Arch connects discerning international business travellers to one of the most sought-after long-stay destinations in Johannesburg. Experience premium, fully serviced apartment living with uninterrupted access to an exceptional variety of dining, shopping and entertainment destinations comprising 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 consummate comfort, convenience and style. While offering a luxury private living experience, residents can access numerous hotel services, including room service, undercover parking, 24-hour security, a fitness centre and swimming pool, as well as conference spaces. In addition, they can dine in at the Keystone Bistro or enjoy a drink at Archer’s Bar & Eatery.




offers a range of shops and restaurants to explore. And after a full day of business or sightseeing, guests lounge along the shimmering waters of the exclusive hotel pool, featuring a vibrant bar for drinks and light dining. With luxury amenities and distinctive enhancements, African Pride Melrose Arch is a soulful and unique fivestar haven.


If you don’t feel like going very far, African Pride’s locale, the Melrose Arch Precinct,



stunning art collection, which amazes, inspires and encourages creativity. The conferences have been named after famous artists namely, Picasso, Da Vinci, Miro, Renoir, Dali, etc.

• complimentary purified still and sparkling water


igh-tech audiovisual equipment is built into each of Hotel Verde’s eight conferencing venues and included in the rates, as are Wi-Fi and secure parking. We offer 100% offset carbon-neutral conferencing and events at no extra cost. All conference packages include:

Beyond its stunning accommodation options, Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport offers eight state-of-the-art conferencing and events venues ideal for meetings, workshops, launches and extraordinary events – with carbon offsetting at the heart of its operations.

• The above mentioned is available on the side should delegates require, keeping notepads out of ‘doodle reach,’ significantly reducing paper wastage.

All our venues are uniquely decorated in a beautiful way that displays the owners’ love for art. Our Conference Lobby boasts a

The already reduced carbon footprint of every guest stay and/or conference venue used is offset through the responsible purchase of carbon credits through Kariba REDD+, which ensures that guests and conference delegates are issued with an accredited certificate to prove that their experience at Hotel Verde was carbon neutral and can be used in their own business records.

• Eco-friendly stationery such as recycled pencils and notepads is printed on recycled paper at a carbon-neutral printer.

• complimentary uncapped Wi-Fi, conference notepads, pencils, data projector, screen, flipchart, paper, white-board, markers, chalkboard, podium

Our orange wall leading to the conference venues is a splendid sight to see and is made up of recycled glass and off-cuts from the construction of this building, which makes for an elegant touch. Directly opposite the wall lies the ‘Living Wall’, which uses a hydroponic system to recapture water and grow plants in a sustainable way. This landmark showcases what Hotel Verde is all about.


• complimentary airport shuttle from 04:00 to 00:00 daily.


• A complimentary bowl of seasonal fresh whole fruit is provided in every venue to encourage healthy eating habits.

• free parking on the day of the function

• Each venue is equipped with separate bins for items that can be recycled or composted.

Each of our venues has doors leading outside to allow for a natural setting and natural lighting to minimise on our lighting usage. A key card system that turns lights on and off in the venues minimises power wastage. We have incorporated double-glazed windows into our entire building to aid in maintaining ambient air temperature and to function as soundproofing, to filter out noise from our surroundings (being an airport hotel). We also have a full-time AV technician on-site to assist with all the conferencing technical issues.

• Natural lighting reduces the use of electricity and adds to delegates’ feeling of well-being


The already reduced carbon footprint of the hotel is calculated on an annual basis according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and offset through the responsible purchase of carbon credits, making Hotel Verde carbon neutral. Some other approaches to sustainability include:

We have eight high-tech, well-equipped venues that can be adjusted to your every need.

The Picasso, Van Gogh and Da Vinci venues are available in various configurations, and we also have the VIP Lounge and Boardrooms available with seating configurations. These state-of-the-art offerings can be combined in different packages to accommodate most corporate events, conferences, banquets and weddings.





#HOTELVERDE (0)21 380 5500



In addition to these facilities, our hotel restaurant – Nuovo – serves up a delicious a la carte menu prepared with sustainably sourced ingredients. The bar, open until 01:00, is stocked with a range of local craft beers and excellent South African wines.


Should you want to add this to official reports and business records, we have made that easy too. We issue attendees and guests with an accredited certificate to validate their carbonneutral stay.


Just 400 m from Cape Town International Airport, our venues are the perfect place to convene delegates from around the country, as well as those travelling in from abroad.

Planning a conference is not for the faint-hearted and picking the location is no small aspect of this process! Hotel Verde is an ideal choice for your conference needs, so we are showcasing some great reasons to choose us:


Every conference is different. We know that, and that is why we can tailor packages to your needs! Starting out at R345 per person for half-day events, all our packages include free parking on the day, complimentary bottled water, uncapped Wi-Fi, stationery, and a complimentary shuttle from the airport between 04:00 and 00:00 daily. Our venues can seat between 12 and 124 people depending on booking and seating arrangements.

The convenience of a conference venue attached to a hotel is not to be underestimated. Conference delegates can stay in our premium rooms, which offer 18-hour room service, a wake-up call service, and all the amenities you would expect of a world-class hotel. Our fully equipped gym feeds energy back on to the grid every time you exercise and when you need a break you can take a dip in our eco pool or book a pamper session at the Renew Treatment Room.


In 2014, Hotel Verde Cape Town became the first hotel in Africa to offer 100% offset carbonneutral accommodation and conferencing. From design to operations, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. This allows us to offer conference facilities as well as accommodation that offsets the carbon created by our guests during their stay.

Our shuttle easily transports guests to and from the airport itself and we are a quick, 15-minute drive away from the bustling city centre. Delegates can easily access e-hailing services to explore the beautiful Mother City and everything it has to offer after business is concluded.



• Game Drive Safaris

Nestled in the beautiful lap of nature on the bank of the Chobe River, the Chobe Water Villas offer an impeccable


• Tastefully infused African and European Cuisines.

• Victoria Falls visit

• Fishing PhotographicCharterRiver Safaris

• 16-seat Board Room ideal for intimate and exclusive Meetings

front row seat to untamed nature. The exclusivity and style of this boutique hotel is unparalleled.

• Flight of the Angels


We offer a wide selection of activities to choose from, each of which is guaranteed to further enrich your Namibian experience. Two activities per day are included in your room rate, assuring you double excursions daily. Prepare to immersed in the magnificent adventure that can only be ensured through the Chobe experience.

Located in a special corner of the African wilderness, where two mighty rivers meet, forming a wetland paradise. Discover the wonders of this magical destination at the very tip of Namibia’s Zambezi Region, previously known as the Caprivi Strip, and immerse yourself in its serene elegance.


• Chobe River Safari Cruises Cultural Tours

We are a continent of innovation because we have so many challenges. That brings out the very best in us.”

Zinhle Nzama, Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SANCB

International Resorts



The Incentive Planner does a temperature check with some leading outbound operators to find out which travel destinations are trending hot right now. Here are their top picks.



David Sand, founder and CEO of Uwin Iwin, echoes this sentiment when he says, “The incentive destination selection criteria have been heavily influenced by flight, visa and services stability. Flight costs have seen a marked increase in the overall cost structure in the budget.

Geoff Saner, founder and owner of Creative Incentives, says, “There is a trend to choose ‘visa-friendly’ destinations. Although incentive selections are made long in advance of the group travelling on their incentive trip, visa applications can only begin once winners’ names are known, which usually leaves only a few weeks to obtain a visa.”

Destination choices are not only based on what the destination has to offer. Increasingly, other considerations are playing a role in the final decision.

With visa centres struggling to cope with Covid backlogs and the resurgence in travel, he says that it can easily take 6 to 12 weeks for a visa to be issued, if not longer. And of course, there is always the risk that an application could be declined.

With so many incredible destinations to choose from, it’s no surprise many different places were put forward for this piece. However, one did come up repeatedly: theIt’sMediterranean.nosurprisethat the azure sea and sun-kissed coastline of this part of the world remain a big drawcard – especially when you add in the countries that enclose these waters. Each has its own vibrant culture, cuisines as well as ample inland scenery and activities to enchant all types of visitors.

Events, says that Turkey is also a popular choice; “It’s very well priced, has direct flights and visas are fairly easy to access.

There’s lots to see and do, with good value-for-money, five-star experiences and accommodation.”

Alternatively, she says that cruises offer good value for money, as the meals, entertainment and on-board activities are all-inclusive. Johan Venter, founder and MD of Urban Ginga, agrees that cruising these


At a bit more of a premium are the Greek Islands . Moss says, “The well-known islands such as Mykonos and Santorini are popular in the European summer months, although companies and individuals are realising there are tonnes of other Greek islands that are less commercialised and more cost-friendly. They are still quite pricey though.” THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 41

reasonably efficient visa services make it preferable to many other EuropeanStephaniedestinations.Moss,director of Solutions Group

David Sand, founder and CEO of Uwin Iwin, says that France , Italy and Spain are among his top requests, as they have so much to offer. “Historic, culturally immersive experiences, combined with fun-filled activities, great food and easy-to-access diverse optional activities, give the incentive winner a travel setting that engages at a personal and group activity level,” says Sand. He adds that good flight connectivity and

“Creative elements that turn a travel trip into an incentive experience require a really experienced team to create enhanced business results and site inspections are an absolute essential post-Covid. We have found that many hotels and venues are struggling to match pre-Covid service levels and extra attention to detailed selection within a destination is required.”

He adds that Dubai is also attracting renewed interest. “Although its dirhams are fairly kind to the rand, it is altogether expensive, as the group costings are all in US dollars. But with its ever-expanding array of things to do and things to see, Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer a really wide range of places, restaurants, activities, shows and surprises to experience.”

Thailand, Singapore and Bali are also named as trending island destinations in 2022.

One outlier on the list is Alaska, simply because it does not fit the trend of hot and sunny. Instead, it’s a land of glaciers, rugged mountains and vast nature reserves. Venter says it has become a popular destination for cruising, which is the perfect way to take in the immense and beautiful vistas of theAsregion.Saner says, “Oh boy, there is so much to see and do. Let’s get back to it!”


to the network all the time, plus it’s been well marketed through the pandemic. It’s an easy ‘go-to’ destination,” explains Moss.


number one choice in this category is Mauritius . “It is familiar, quick to get to, and all-inclusive resorts appeal to South African groups. There are more flights being added

waters is a popular choice, as cruise liners make a strong comeback.


Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are superb, with culture to explore and activities to enjoy. These two cities provide amazing experiences that even seasoned incentive achievers will enjoy,” says Geoff Saner, founder and owner of Creative Incentives.

He adds that nearby getaways make easy add-ons that can greatly enhance their itineraries. “For example, Bariloche in Patagonia is a two-hour fight from Buenos Aires. The town is nestled on the shores of a glacial lake that is almost 40 km long and offers a great few days of different experiences and wonderful cuisine.”

Los Cabos is another one of Moss’s top picks. She says, “Mexico made good tourism progress during the pandemic, as they had very few Covid restrictions. It is fairly good value for money, and there are gorgeous beaches, allinclusive resorts and lots to do tourism-wise. Closer to home, Venter and Saner suggest Namibia. Saner elaborates on why this destination holds a lot of appeal when he says, “The thrills of the sights and sounds combining Swakopmund and the Namibian desert surroundings mustn’t be missed. Tented camps, lanterns, a desert moon and lanterns floating up into the night sky…”

Echoing the appeal of the Mediterranean, tropical islands are also proving a popular choice with their dazzling white

beaches and warm waters, not to mention welcomingUnsurprisingly,hospitality.thealmost unanimous

Zanzibar, another beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, is also making a strong comeback. As well as being a quick threeand-a-half-hour flight from Johannesburg, Sand says it has good value-for-money group and leisure offerings.

Special Incentive Packages /

Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SANCB

Zinhle Nzama,

Meet in South Africa, come to the source where it all started and take that knowledge and new thinking – connect, engage and take this to the rest of the world while bettering yourself in your field of expertise. We can make a difference and we believe that if you meet in South Africa, this difference will be even greater.”


Johan Venter is the founder and MD (or “the Gingahead Man”, in his words) of destination management company (DMC) Urban Ginga. He says the biggest trends in incentive travel right now are sustainable travel and corporate social responsibility (CSR). “Most RFPs request an activity where the participants are able to muck in and get their hands dirty to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most. The aspirational, once-in-a-lifetime elements are still very much a part of most incentive programmes, but it’s not just about fancy dinners and leisure activities anymore –there is a real concerted effort to add value as well,” he explains.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has ensured that health and wellness continue to trend. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness economy was valued at US$4.9 trillion in 2019 (R85 trillion). The pandemic caused a slight dip, when it fell to $4.4 trillion (R76 trillion) in 2020 (which still represented 5.1% of global economic output that year), but the forecast is for it to reach nearly $7 trillion (R121 trillion) in 2025.


Venter has also experienced an increased interest in destinations where human rights are recognised and social protection is offered – especially for the LGBTQI+ community. Again, South Africa is well positioned to respond to this, with its progressive Constitution and diversity of people and cultures.

he success of an incentive tour depends on a lot of factors, but the itinerary is probably fundamental to this. A blend of factors needs to be considered, from the practical to the inspirational – all of which have been affected by Covid in some way.

Incentive experts talk to The Incentive Planner about their experiences creating itineraries in a post-lockdown world, and what success looks like.

He adds that there is no shortage of worthwhile CSR initiatives in South Africa, which, through the impact of Covid, are facing a shortage in funding. This means there is a huge opportunity for corporates to give back and, very directly and tangibly, “lift local communities out of poverty, empower women and the youth, and create food sustainability”.




& Safaris is a tour operator providing tailor-made travel journeys for individuals and groups across South Africa and Southern Africa. The effects of Covidrelated travel restrictions were challenging, admits Liesel FitzHerbert, project manager at Special Projects. She explains, “A large

Aside from influencing trends, Covid has had a huge impact on how the travel and tourism industry functions. In 2020 and 2021, the biggest challenges were navigating the changing travel restrictions and requirements of each country, while complying with health and safety Springbokprotocols.AtlasTours

“And while most airlines are starting to expand their schedules in the post-pandemic world, not all of them have reinstated their full schedules, so flights are often fully booked (and, in a lot of cases, overbooked), and airfares are much higher than pre-Covid. The ongoing issue of European airports being understaffed and not able to cope with the increase in demand for travel post-Covid is another challenge that can influence when and where people choose to travel.”

Kunene-Msimang adds that the company is now experiencing an increased urgency to put programmes together. “There is a huge pent-up demand for travel from corporates who all seem to want to spend their travel budgets as urgently as possible. We are seeing a lot of demand for travel before the end of the year, which translates to extremely tight deadlines for us to churn out a comprehensive proposal,” she says.

She adds that professional and comprehensive communication has been critical in managing client expectations.


Delays in obtaining visas and reduced flight routes continue to be a challenge in 2022, adds Venter. He reveals, “Although most restrictions have now been lifted, we are still experiencing massive delays in getting visas issued due to almost two-year backlogs (the US, Canada and Schengen causing the longest delays at present – both in the wait time to secure an appointment, as well as the issuing of the actual visas).

Tourvest IME specialises across all four pillars of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry. Company COO Thembi Kunene-Msimang agrees, “The whole international travel pipeline has not fully recapacitated itself to professionally and seamlessly manage the dramatic return of travellers – from airport infrastructure that is put under severe pressure to embassies unable to meet the demand for visas in a timely manner. Corporates want to travel, nonetheless.”

majority of our programmes span two to three neighbouring countries, so the constant regulation changes had a significant impact on our operations. Additional logistics needed to be accounted for without impacting the programme, while additional costs had to be passed on to end clients and agents.”


Tracey van den Berg, GM: Conferences, Events and Project Management at Tourvest Travel Services, echoes this challenge when she says, “Since the ‘world’ has by and large opened up to travel, meetings, incentives, conferences and events have exploded. Certainly, the idea was that virtual events would become the norm; however, we have found that people want to meet in person or as an alternative option host a hybrid event – part online, part in person.

“Therefore, the biggest challenge we currently face is the short turnaround time given in which to provide a fully thoughtthrough, planned-out proposal and, upon approval of the proposal, in which to deliver.”


To deal with this, Kunene-Msimang says Tourvest IME is successfully attracting inbound tours and conferences from countries that don’t have any visa barriers for South Africa, while also encouraging regional travel (as response times are quicker).

Another major concern is a lack of accommodation. Venter explains, “Many, if not most, confirmed groups who were booked to travel in 2020/21 had no choice but to change their travel plans and postpone to 2022/23. So, while a lot of hotels are showing relatively decent occupancies, this is often due to groups that are only able to travel now; hence a lot of the revenue is being carried over from 2020/21. This makes it rather difficult to secure new business and affects the whole supplier chain – right through from incentive houses to DMCs to service providers on the ground – in terms of being able to rebuild

lodges are also adjusting their 2023 rates in response to this. Negotiation has been key to manage these increases.

Despite the myriad challenges at play, these experts agree that successful incentive programmes are possible – although their definitions of success vary slightly.

As if Covid weren’t enough of a complication, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused a volatile USD/ZAR exchange rate, pushing up the price of fuel and therefore supplier costs. FitzHerbert shares that Special Projects’ transport partners have had to twice increase their rates for 2022 this year, while hotels and

In a similar vein, Van den Berg says, “I believe everything starts with: a) listening to what the request is, and b) delivering over and above the requirement. A successful incentive will have all the basics covered and done to perfection, and will further to that add in an element of the unexpected, the exciting… small details that give people something to talk about long after the incentive trip has come to an end.”



She adds, “It is also important to make sure that the programme flows well and that there is something that suits everyone’s taste –you must make sure that you understand your group and the company’s culture. Some groups are more cultural while others are

and increase their business book due to limited availability.”


Kunene-Msimang shares her magic formula as being a good balance between group activities and free time for the delegates to experience the destination on their own, as well as one out-of-the-ordinary experience to surprise delegates with.

FitzHerbert agrees that a successful itinerary is one that has “a fine balance of leisure and experiential experiences ranging from the plethora of bucket list sites/activities our countries have to offer”, and adds that it’s important to “engage with local communities and grassroots-level projects/companies in order to educate guests and bring valuable resources directly where most needed.”

“Clients seem to think they can get custommade, high-end itineraries with 2018 budgets. We try to recommend optional activities in the budget to show what can be done if they can increase their budget. And offering cheaper accommodation allows us to offer more experiences in the programme. Also looking at cheaper/longer flight routings helps us come within the limited budgets, while ensuring hotels are all inclusive allows for less unforeseen costs that may arise while on the programme,” she explains.

more adventurous, and you must understand that to tailor-make the itinerary to fit the group’s preferences.”

Meanwhile, Venter asserts it should come down to the return on investment (ROI). He says, “The success of any incentive trip and related travel itinerary ought to be measured by its ROI. At Urban Ginga, we specialise [in] and excel at offering creative, practical and truly memorable incentives, rewards, travel and sustainable events that surprise and delight qualifiers, while driving business results and improving the bottom line.”

In this inflationary context, Kunene-Msimang says that many clients have a limited budget.

Regardless of which definition you agree with, it’s clear that South Africa has what it takes to remain a world-class incentive travel destination.

MSC Cruises has been seeing a steady year-on-year increase in the South African MICE cruising market. This could be attributed to more and more companies and agents becoming aware of what great value-for-money and convenience cruising offers.

MSC Cruises can also provide customised visibility for companies or brands, both onboard and ashore. We can assist guests by displaying their logo on banners and on flags in meeting points and reserved areas, as well as printing it on anything from invitations to document folders, t-shirts and caps.



to South Africa for the very first time. Guests will get an opportunity to sail away on MSC Orchestra from Durban or MSC Sinfonia, which will be operating exclusively out of Cape Town.



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MSC Cruises is a one-stop shop for all your conferencing needs, with activities designed to suit your event objectives. In addition to enjoying your event, guests will discover a world of comfort with our outstanding activities that are designed to ensure ultimate satisfaction. Whether it’s a pamper session at the spa, a morning jog on our fitness track, or simply soaking up the summer sun on our outstanding pool deck, there is something for everyone.

ome of the most popular meeting and incentive destinations around the world in 2022 include Italy, Spain and France. Mauritius and the Caribbean remain popular destinations albeit more expensive thanThisEurope.season, we are increasing our product offering to MICE clients, as we bring two ships


All conference facilities are furnished with the same sense of style that distinguishes our fleet: superb accommodation, fine dining, exciting entertainment, and countless opportunities for rest and relaxation following your event.

Each vessel has facilities and services that include conference rooms, lounges, meeting rooms and a theatre, which can accommodate up 1 600 guests. Guests can make use of the onboard Wi-Fi connection, high-tech audiovisual equipment, as well as advanced sound and lighting systems.


Our passion for furniture and aesthetics combined with an experienced team, creativity and enthusiasm position us to create stylish, unforgettable event experiences for all clients –large and small.

Alongside our busy furniture hire division, our Sales department specialises in wholesale and direct sale of a wide range of event and hospitality style furniture including bar stools, café chairs and more!

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With our enormous range of furniture and an established operational team, we supply trending furniture to South Africa’s leading events, exhibitions, conferences, music concerts, galas, festivals, weddings, fashion shows, high profile sporting and corporate hospitality events. As well as home events such as birthday parties, family gatherings and kids parties.

et within the eclectic Melrose Arch Precinct in Johannesburg, the Marriott Melrose Arch Collection constitutes four unique hotel brands all within walking distance of each other. Marriott’s collection of hotels and apartments offers guests and clients 705 bedrooms as well as 23 meeting and conferencing venues in what has been officially recognised as South Africa’s only smart city.

At African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel, Autograph Collection, we never settle for anything less than extraordinary. We warmly welcome guests to our bold, soulful and urban hotel – with a unique blend of chic design and outstanding service – and, as an extension, to the highly sought-after Melrose Arch lifestyle development. This guarantees a visit that defies expectations. Wrapped in five-star chic and

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For all your conference and events requirements, visit the Marriott Portfolio of Hotels at Melrose Arch. Four Unique Experiences. One Address. Looking for a venue for a corporate year-end function? Contact Marriott Collection of Hotels via email

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Enjoy star-studded glamour during your stay at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Johannesburg Melrose Arch. Famous for its eclectic decor, you’ll feel like a celebrity at this stylish hotel located together with Marriott’s sister properties in the sought-after Melrose Arch Precinct. Unwind in your lavish room inspired by iconic Hollywood A-listers and revel in some star treatment.

travellers to one of the most sought-after longstay destinations in Johannesburg. Experience premium, fully serviced apartment living with uninterrupted access to an exceptional variety of dining, shopping and entertainment destinations comprising 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 consummate comfort, convenience and style.

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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.

allowing access to exclusive experiences that our surroundings offer, the hotel is the perfect setting for a new-age African take on a glorious space to stay, eat, play and shop.



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Hilltop Resort

Resort is the pride of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. The Resort is situated on the edge of a forested hill and offers fine views of the surrounding countryside. It is a three-hour drive north from Durban via the N2. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a premier, “Big Five” park; home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Its rich plant-life, grasslands and forests support a wide variety of other game animal. Activities: guided walks, guided night drives, self-guided and guided auto trails, swimming pool, picnic site, game capture museum tour, centenary centre craft centre, bush braais, morning and mid-morning and afternoon guided game drives.

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While they don’t believe that incentives and rewards will solve all remote work problems, they do believe they have an important role in the solution, and that incentive designers will need to work closely with HR to get this right.


Allan Schweyer, chief academic advisor at the IRF, published a research article titled ‘Non-Cash Rewards in a Period of High Inflation’. He writes that non-cash rewards are still effective during a recession while also being more economically viable.




Schweyer adds, “Firms that offer merchandise, travel, and other non-cash rewards will likely pay more for them today than they might have two years ago, but effective sourcing should keep those costs below the overall inflation rate.”


Appcast found that when firms include this information in their job listing, they attract up to 300% more applicants than those who do not. Meanwhile, a study Schweyer did at Harvard Business School in 2019 found that applicants expressed up to 50% more interest in a position that listed benefits and rewards – even when all other variables were equal, and the other job listing had a better starting salary!


Angela Fan, Emily Ford and Ji Hyoung Kang, of Carnegie Mellon University, co-authored a paper with Schweyer called ‘The Role of Incentives in Today’s Decentralized Workforce: Attract, Retain & Build Culture’. They write, “[R]ewards and incentives that impact behaviours that overcome the demotivators associated with remote work will be extremely important. Examples of these behaviours include those that encourage collaboration, peer recognition and appreciation,

onsidering much of the world teeters on the edge of a recession, many companies are looking to cut costs.

Despite lifted lockdowns, many people are not returning to the office – at least not full time. This new way of working comes with its own set of adjustment challenges. A survey by the IRF reveals that 400 out of 405 managers are concerned that remote working will lead to isolation, communication challenges and reduced exchange of ideas and information.


According to academic research published by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF,, the short answer is yes. Here’s why.

Countless IRF academic studies bear out that, when done well, non-cash incentives are very effective at achieving a host of desirable outcomes. They improve staff motivation and therefore performance, which positively impacts the company’s bottom line. They help to promote the company’s culture and values. They build loyalty, which entrenches client and partner relationships; or, in the case of employees, reduces staff turnover.

While it might be necessary to cut costs, cutting costs that will ultimately reduce your company’s performance might not be the best route to go. THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 51 RESEARCH



The global pandemic has disrupted many things, including the global workforce. Many companies are now seeking to attract and retain new Recruitmenttalent.advertiser


As we face an uncertain future, companies may be reluctant to increase salaries and benefits in line with inflation. Yet they still need to recognise high-performing staff. This is where non-cash incentives are preferable. These types of rewards are evaluated by the feelings they evoke and are not easily quantifiable like cash rewards. Therefore, they can more easily deliver an outsized effect compared to their capital outlay.

autonomy, and accountability. Also important are behaviours that build a strong culture, including knowledge-sharing, teamwork, resilience, customer service, inclusivity, purpose and meaning, etc.”


Perhaps they’re eyeing their incentives budget for the chopping block. After all, is it right to send some people on a luxury, all-expenses-paid South African safari at a time like this?

The value of incentives has never been higher. The Incentive Planner unpacks why this strategy to motivate and reward staff and clients is so suited to the times we live in.

Zinhle Nzama,

Tour Operators | Airlines | Ships/Cruises | Trains | Adventures | Travel Agents

Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SANCB

All about Travel Services & Suppliers /

After two years of shutting our imaginary national borders to each other, now is the time to allow for freedom of movement. Sharing minds and economies does not mean we sit behind our desks and stare at each other through screens. It means being able to travel from one place to another freely so as to create and grow relationships.”


It is in this context that South Africa lost Comair (prior to Covid, Comair held a 40% market share on the routes it flew), as well as the low-cost domestic carrier of South African Airways (SAA), Mango, and sibling carrier SA Express. SAA has also cut its fleet by 80%, and now serves a vastly reduced network and schedule.


and SAA – are all striving to fill the vacuum leftAirlinkbehind.isa

In terms of its plans going forwards, Carla da Silva, executive manager: Sales & Marketing, Airlink, says, “Although Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is Airlink’s main hub, it has also been steadily establishing its bases at Cape Town and Durban, from which it is adding regional and domestic flights. The most recent was the launch of Durban-Harare services and, from 31 August 2022, Airlink will provide the first and only direct air service linking Cape Town with Maputo.”

Birns adds that the war in Ukraine has pushed up the price of fuel, substantially increasing airline running costs. “This is made worse in South Africa, where no refineries are operating and all jet fuel must be imported. Transporting, handling and storage costs mean that in August this year, the price of jet fuel had increased by 200% compared to 2021,” he says.

Despite these challenges, air travel is showing a healthy recovery due to demand. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) passenger data for June 2022 shows that international traffic between Africa and neighbouring regions is close to pre-pandemic

022 has been the year of revenge travel. It’s been a welcome backlash, but not without its own challenges. The sector that has had arguably the most complicated recovery is air travel.

Linden Birns, aviation analyst and managing director of Plane Talking, says, “With 98% of all air traffic stopped, airlines had no revenue during the lockdowns. This meant they accumulated a lot of debt to stay on life support and keep going. Now this debt must beRestartingrepaid.”

air operations is a costly exercise riddled with risks. Some airlines sold off planes during the global lockdown. Replacing them is not only a huge investment but could take some time, as Boeing and Airbus are working through backlogs of overdue deliveries, he says. Any orders placed now will take years to fulfil. Others may need to carry out heavy maintenance on the aircraft they intended to replace, with a major overhaul typically costing in the region of US$100 million (or R1.7 billion).

While this is bad news, the airlines that are operating – Airlink, CemAir, FlySafair, Lyft


At a global travel level, Airlink is deepening its commercial partnerships with many of the world’s leading long-haul and regional carriers that operate to South Africa and some of its neighbouring countries.


Planes, trains, cruise ships and vehicles: The Incentive Planner takes a closer look at what travel options are available to and around South Africa for themarket.incentive

popular option with the incentive travel market. Aside from providing more than 60 000 scheduled flights a year, locally and to 45 destinations regionally, its on-time performance is consistently better than 95%.

Additionally, it wasn’t only airlines who were affected by layoffs, early retirements and resignations. Many of the air transport industry’s ancillary services were also decimated. Compounding the situation locally was the inexplicable 15-month delay in the Minister of Transport’s appointment of South Africa’s domestic and international air services licensing councils, which award, renew or revoke route licences for South African operators. This prevented South African airlines from being able to launch new or expand existing services on underserved routes. Although new councils were appointed in March this year, they are still working to clear their backlogs.

SAA is following a similar partnership strategy, as it rebuilds in a slow but sustainable manner. In the words of SAA’s outgoing COO, Simon Newton Smith, “Our job is to show the world that South Africa is rebounding and starting the journey to a full and better recovery. We’re restarting humbly but with big ambitions.”


For groups already in South Africa and wanting to travel within the country or to its neighbours, Geoff Saner, founder and owner of Creative Incentives, advocates taking the

levels. And Wesgro’s Cape Town Air Access has shared that international passenger numbers through Cape Town International Airport reached a recovery rate of 87% in July 2022, when compared to the same month in 2019. This is the highest recovery rate over the last fiveInternationalmonths.

carriers are also increasing their flight frequency to South Africa this summer in anticipation of its peak travel season. For instance, British Airways and Virgin have THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 • 55 #SERVICES&SUPPLIERS


announced more direct flights from London to Cape Town, while United and Delta are increasing the frequency of their direct flights to Cape Town from Washington and Atlanta, respectively.


The Cruise Lines International Association’s State of the Cruise Industry Outlook 2022 shares a baseline forecast for 2022 at 95% of 2019 passenger volumes, with a worst-case scenario set at 78%, and a best-case scenario at 101%. It also shares that nearly 80% of travellers who have cruised before say they will cruise again. This is the same percentage as before the pandemic.


‘sumptuous’ Rovos Rail, “which slows down busy achievers to get them in the mood for their incentive activities of enjoyment.”

Many incentive groups opt to get around with a tour operator. These privately operated vehicles – ranging in size from sedans and microbuses to luxury coaches and overland trucks – offer a personal, flexible and seamless solution. From airport collections and transfers to guided tours of cities, game reserves, provinces and even cross-border expeditions, if you need it, you can have it.

MSC Cruises, the fourth largest cruise company in the world, says it has seen a steady year-onyear increase in the South African MICE cruising market. As such, it is bringing two new cruise ships to South Africa this season. The MSC Orchestra will operate from Durban, and the MSC Sinfonia will operate exclusively out of Cape Town.

is functioning infrastructure to support the train so they can create something to suit them and exactly what they want.”

Of course, it’s the company’s charter tours that are popular with incentive groups. After the lifting of Covid restrictions, the company has seen a surge in private charters. Brenda VosFitchet, communications manager for Rovos Rail, says, “I think companies are looking for ways to create intimate and more personal experiences and also want something special. With our private charters, guests can go wherever there

Some cruise ships are also relaxing their health and safety rules to win back more passengers.

Data from Cvent and 3D Cruise Partners corroborates this rebound trend: in 2021, cruise ships took a -19% knock in interest for incentive travel; in 2022, this has bounced back to a 31% increase in interest.

Suzette Vorster, national sales manager for Springbok Atlas, says this mode of travel is popular with incentive tours because “the passengers travelling have exclusive use of the vehicle and can therefore determine their own itinerary for the day. Travelling by a vehicle allows easy access to tourism destinations and short walking distance to sight-seeing spots.”

She adds, “Our sector is recovering quickly, as people are eager to travel and explore again. The demand for transportation increased not just in the tourism sector, but also in other sectors like the conference industry, sport travel and entertainment travel, where we provide the transportation to groups.”


56 • THE INCENTIVE PLANNER l 2022/23 Buffelsdrift Game Lodge 24 CSIR ICC 28 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Howick 18, OBC & 50 Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport 36 & 46 Inspire Furniture Hire & Sale – Rental 48 Inspire Furniture Hire & Sale – Popstar 49 Chobe Water Villas 31 & 38 Strand Hotel 33 Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch 34 & 49 MSC Cruises 47 & 52 Sanbona 21 SANCB OFC, Gatefold, 6, 10 & 12 The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre 22

For example, Oceania Cruises, a culinary- and destination-focused cruise line, has revised its SailSafe Health and Safety Protocols to be simpler and easier for travellers. This includes scrapping PCR tests for fully vaccinated guests and all children under the age of 12. Only unvaccinated guests over 12 will need to supply a negative antigen or PCR test result done within 72 hours before embarking.


Established in 1989, Rovos Rail is going strong. Not only has it has resumed all operations, but it has added two new tours, one of which now meanders through the lush valleys in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other destinations it can cater to include: Victoria Falls (on the Zimbabwe side); Lobito in Angola; Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania; Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Etosha National Park in Namibia; and multiple stops around South Africa, including Pilanesberg and up the KwaZulu-Natal coast north of Durban.


Adding to their appeal, many cruise ships are offering great all-inclusive deals to win back customers. In the current global economic climate, this can swing decisions.

Another popular way to slow down is on a cruise ship. These are steadily regaining popularity after the stigma of being unsafe environments during the height of the Covid pandemic.

Packed with advice, handy tips, tools, checklists and event planning insight from leading industry experts and combined with the comprehensive listings, The Meetings & Event Planner is essential if you’re organising any type of event. Published annually.

This alternative monthly publication investigates new trends, ideas and strategies relevant to the meetings and events industry to keep you ahead of the planner pack. Meetings provides a platform for branding and promoting venues and service providers to the heart of the South African conferencing and event industries. events

Looking for new and exciting destinations?

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.

INCENTIVETHE EXHIBITION @theplannerguruThe Planner @theplannerguru the lanner

3S Media gives YOU the competitive edge as a MICE planner is a one-stop platform for finding venues and suppliers. It’s where you can read the hottest industry tips and trends as well as source event planning tools and gain insight from valuable information in the MICE Hub. Plan your event by using the platform’s event boards and keep up-to-date with the daily newsletters. Use these resources to take your events from great to flawless.

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