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Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 16:12
Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris has announced the appointment of Mark Wernich as general manager of its luxurious South African property, Taj Cape Town.

All Taj hotels are famed for their unique architecture, exquisite locations as well as their unwavering ‘Tajness’ – a combination of personally curated luxury and service that sets Taj hotels apart from all others.

Puneet Chhatwal, CEO of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, says Wernich offers the perfect blend of business acumen and exceptional leadership skills. “We are confident he is the right person to take Taj Cape Town forward and are excited to see how he evolves its already strong offering. His depth of experience, honed over a stellar career spanning 25 years, will bring immeasurable value to our special Cape Town hotel.”

Prior to joining Taj Cape Town, Wernich enjoyed an illustrious career in hotel management, most recently with Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and some of Africa’s biggest hospitality players such as Faircity Hotels, The Protea Hotel Group, and The Rezidor Hotel Group.

His 25 years of industry experience encompasses luxury resort and city hotel management across South Africa, new property launches, marketing, distribution and food and beverage. Born in Cape Town, Wernich holds a diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management from the Cape Town Hotel School.

Wernich says, “Taj Cape Town is perhaps the most unique and intriguing hotel in Cape Town. It is a melting pot of history and contemporary, luxury and unpretentious comfort, fine dining and hearty fare. It’s location on St George’s Mall is unrivalled and makes it a gateway to the city’s thriving pedestrian district. I look forward to working with Taj Cape Town’s team of consummate professionals to unlock the hotel’s fullest potential as a place to stay, a wedding and conference venue, a fine dining establishment, a world-class spa, an elegant cocktail bar and so much more.”

Monday, April 23, 2018 - 16:27
Power utility Eskom has presented its case to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s public hearings, which kicked off in Cape Town last week.

At the first of the countrywide public hearings to be heard at the Cape Town ICC, Eskom presented its case to recover costs already spent in the provision of electricity totalling R66.6 billion, while allaying fears that this application would lead to a 30% tariff increase.

“Our sustainability as Eskom depends on a sound regulatory environment that is aligned with existing Nersa rules and other legislative requirements. We, therefore, rely on Nersa to review our application in line with the multi-year price determination (MYPD3) methodology, which is a globally-accepted regulatory principle that reconciles variances between the projected and actual revenue, and costs that Eskom incurred for certain elements,” said the utility’s interim Group Chief Executive, Phakamani Hadebe.

The regulator began its hearings into Eskom’s Regulatory Clearing Account (RCA) applications for financial years 2014/15 to 2016/17 from 16 April to 11 May 2018. Eskom’s applications total R66.6 billion.

The RCA is a monitoring and tracking mechanism that compares certain uncontrollable costs and revenues assumed in the MYPD decision (made by Nersa) to actual costs and revenues incurred by Eskom.

Hadebe said the application is based on the decision already taken by Nersa on the utility’s first RCA application for 2013/14.

“We have spent the money in the implementation of our mandate of providing electricity to South Africans by raising debt, as it was not included in the revenue decision and need to repay those loans accordingly in order to ensure credibility with our lenders,” he said.

Hadebe further emphasised that Eskom’s application only covers costs that were incurred efficiently and prudently as allowed by the RCA mechanism.

“We are aware and mindful of people’s concerns. It is therefore important to note that Eskom is on a path of recovery on governance issues that have marred our organisation in the recent past. The new board appointed in January 2018 has been embraced by the public and investor, and is focusing on operational and financial stability and clearing governance issues by bringing all those engaged in fraud and corruption to account.”

Combating Corruption 

Hadebe said internal processes have resulted in disciplinary hearings, suspensions and resignations of implicated executives.

“Continued focus and effort will be placed on combating corruption and pursuing justice within the legal framework.

“We also welcome various investigative interventions that are underway to get to the bottom of recent acts of fraud and corruption, and we are in a process of claiming back monies owing to Eskom, including money that was fraudulently paid to McKinsey and Trillian,” said Hadebe.

Phased-in Approach 

Meanwhile, the utility’s acting Chief Financial Officer, Calib Cassim, said Eskom is not expecting a once-off adjustment but rather a phasing-in of the liquidation over a few years to make it fair and manageable for electricity consumers.

“We need to emphasise that this is a retrospective process where we apply to recover costs that have already been incurred by Eskom, but cover what the Regulator deems efficient and prudent and also cover sales volume variances.”

Eskom has made the application in terms of the RCA balance for the second, third and fourth year (2014/15; 2015/16 and 2016/17 period) of the third multi-year price determination (MYPD3).

The second leg of Nersa’s public hearings will move to the Eastern Cape Training Centre (ETC) in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

The public hearings are expected to conclude at Gauteng’s Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto on 11 May.

Source: SAnews.gov.za

Monday, April 23, 2018 - 16:03

FREE STATE
The heartland of South Africa has much to offer those in search of natural beauty, history and tranquillity as part of their business event.

The Free State is the third largest province in South Africa and a pivotal part of the country’s economy. It is the agricultural heart of SA, and also holds rich gold fields within its borders. In addition to this, the Free State is also home to Bloemfontein, the country’s judicial capital. Other cities of note include Clarens, Sasolburg, Welkom, and Bethlehem.

The region has a host of leisure and business events throughout the year including the Bloemfontein Show, Nampo
Agricultural Show, Wild Kos Fees, and many sporting events ranging from soccer to athletics and extreme sports. It is also a vibrant tourism destination, with five main routes with incredible natural, cultural and historical attractions including the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Gariep Dam, Clarens – the Jewel of the Free State – the artist paradise of Parys, and the oldest and largest crater on earth: the Vredefort Dome.

Continue reading in Issue 4 of the Event, here:

Friday, April 20, 2018 - 15:45
Zimbabwe has put on hold plans to undertake a wind resource measurement exercise on three sites with highest energy potential, as the price bids received from companies that tendered to carry out the feasibility study were deemed too high.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) last year invited bids from interested contractors, but chief executive Eng Gloria Magombo told The Herald Business that prices quoted by the bidders far exceeded the estimated high-level budget.

The purpose of the project is to create an accurate knowledge base of the wind resource available in Zimbabwe through measurement and analysis to help the country plan for renewable energy projects. The intention is to measure wind speed and direction at these sites and remotely collect data for 24 months at a hub height of 100 meters.

The data and information generated is expected to be used in designing large-scale wind power projects, off-grid or mini-grid electric plants, use for water pumping and climate research.

“We received the bids but we could not award the tender because the bid prices were too high,” said Eng Magombo.

The areas where ZERA intends to conduct wind resource measurement include the middle veld from the south to the northeastern part of the country. The zones were identified after taking into consideration access to roads, terrain, proximity to load centres and land use (protected areas and other productive purposes).

The wind assessment programme was stimulated by a study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2015 through the Africa Clean Energy Corridor Programme, which identified solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power and wind energy zones covering countries in the power pools of Eastern and Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe is looking at expanding electricity generation from non-fossil fuels as part of efforts to partly meet its carbon emissions reduction targets by 2030. The country is a signatory to the Paris climate change accord agreed in 2015 which largely seeks to hold the increase of the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.

As the world battles the effects of climate change, experts say the potential of wind power in terms of reducing carbon emissions is significant.

Last year, wind power helped the planet avoid more than 637 million tonnes of carbon emissions, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

According to reports, there has been a gradual decrease of the cost of wind power generation, over the past 10 years, making it more competitive compared to fossil fuel ones. Some countries, positioned in optimal locations, have sought to grab the opportunity to move from existing conventional power generation towards an increasing share of renewable energy.

Renewable energy is steadily growing in Africa and some countries have already made significant progress in generating electricity as they move towards green energy projects.

A total of 1 170MW of wind turbine capacity was built in South Africa and another 840MW is currently in the pipeline. Overall, South Africa is aiming to install 8 400MW of wind capacity by 2030.

Through the Moroccan wind energy programme, managed by a public body, the north African country’s government has established a target of 2GW of installed wind power by 2020 from an investment of $3,5 billion. Egypt has set a national target of 4,3GW of renewable energy to its national production capacity by 2022.

Kenya is implementing its Lake Turkana project, which upon completion would produce 324MW.

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:51
The Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) has launched a news portal dedicated to exhibition and events news and information.

The news platform, African Exhibition News (AEN), publishes and curates news from across Africa and abroad, relating to the big business of exhibitions and events.

African Exhibition News is an initiative to showcase Africa’s exhibition potential, open new business channels for African stakeholders, and support international partnerships.

African Exhibition news is an open platform designed to network Africa’s exhibitions industry and showcase Africa’s successes to the global exhibition industry. The site will also direct and link visitors to the latest news in Africa’s leading exhibitions and event media, allowing them to follow global trends and be inspired.

Submissions from African exhibition business stakeholders are welcomed, and opportunities to promote and advertise businesses and services are available.

View the new site at www.africanexhibitionnews.com

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 12:14
The African continent’s most highly-anticipated travel trade show opened its doors yesterday to a throng of travel professionals eager to meet, network and consolidate business.

Both inbound and outbound travel professionals were welcomed in the host city of Cape Town today with a palpable buzz and excitement.

“We measure our own success on the number of exhibitors, buyers, media and tourism stakeholders that actively seek to attend WTM Africa, and WTM Africa 2018 is no different,” explains Chardonnay Marchesi, South Africa Portfolio Director for Reed Exhibitions’ Travel, Tourism & Sports Portfolio. “We have exceeded our exhibitor record for WTM Africa this year, and this certainly shows in the sensational vibe one can experience when walking the exhibition floor!”

WTM Africa 2018 kicked off its productive intentions at first light in the Mother City at an exclusive instalment of the popular Secret Sunrise.

Working hard to create a stimulating and innovative environment that not only encourages connections but facilitates lucrative business meetings for attendees, WTM Africa 2018 is a showcase for a number of new initiatives.

“The success of business in Africa rests in face-to-face partnerships and relationships. Exhibitions are an ideal launchpad into business on the rest of the continent. This is why WTM Africa continues to be a premier platform for growing travel and tourism,” says Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions.

In a recent exhibitions’ study, it was revealed that there was a 70% increase in brand impact when three or more senses of a person were triggered, furthers Weaving: “WTM Africa allows for a very cognitive experience that engages attendees and creates an environment that is likelier to result in positive business transactions.”

The first day of the exhibition saw the announcement of the winners of the auspicious African Responsible Travel Awards, an event dedicated to profiling tourism and travel businesses set on improving the sustainability of the industry. Winners were announced as follows:

  • Overall Winner: Wilderness Safaris Botswana
  • Best for Global Goals: Wilderness Safaris Botswana (Gold), Spier (Silver), Basecamp Explorer (Highly commended)
  • Best for Decent Work and Inclusion: Spier (Silver), PEAK East Africa (Silver)
  • Best Responsible Cultural Experience: Basecamp Explorer (Silver)
  • Best for Innovation in Water Management: Wilderness Safaris Southern Africa (Silver)
  • Best for Aquatic Species and Habitat Conservation: North Island Seychelles (Gold), Marine Dynamics (Silver), All Out Africa (Highly commended)

The first day of WTM Africa launched the all-new WTM Africa Festivals, a concept that saw attendees experience the world in a fun and vibrant atmosphere. Attendees had the chance to experience the culture, hospitality and cuisine of the host city of Cape Town and network with industry peers.

Important discussions underscored the role of women in the tourism sector at the Women in travel Meetup, while Business Events Conference powered by IBTM Africa explored the potential of the meetings sector in Africa.

The inaugural Tourism Investors’ Forum also examined the possibility for development in both the tourism sector and it’s peripheral industries on the first day of WTM Africa 2018, focusing on the theme ‘Unlocking the Tourism Potential of Africa’.

Celebrating the opening of WTM Africa Festivals on Wednesday: Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions, Deputy Minister of Tourism Elizabeth Thabethe, and Alderman Patricia De Lille Executive Mayor City of Cape Town.

 

“The inaugural WTM Africa Investor’s Forum aimed to offer visitors and buyers insights into the various tourism investment opportunities available on the African continent. The growth in foreign tourist arrivals to key markets in Africa also presents investment opportunities. We are honoured to have had institutions such as the City of Cape Town, estmentel Group, Mantis Collection, DSA Architects International, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Agency and the Ghana Tourism Authority participating in this session sharing their experiences and opportunities available for potential investors to invest in Africa,” reports Sugen Pillay, Commercial Director for Reed Exhibitions

“Following on the theme of opportunity in tourism, captains of industry present at the Travel Leader’s Lunch mulled over how to improve communication and collaboration to foster stronger relationships between the public and private sectors linked to the tourism industry,” explained Weaving, who attended the lunch alongside fellow industry stalwarts.

Alderman Patricia De Lille, Executive Mayor City of Cape Town, spoke of WTM Africa: “For the past three years, local entrepreneurs have exhibited at the City’s exhibition stand at WTM Africa, the continent’s largest international travel industry event. The City has been a proud supporter of the event since 2014 which enables local entrepreneurs to meet and engage with top tourism industry buyers and trade visitors from around the world.”

The second day of WTM Africa 2018 promises another full day for attendees, including the Sports & Events Tourism Exchange (SETE) and the ever-popular Speed Networking event. The corporate travel sector will be highlighted at the ABTA Corporate Travel Forum.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 - 14:00
The Transnet National Ports Authority has concluded an agreement that will see KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer a new cruise terminal facility in the Port of Durban by October 2020.

KCT, a joint venture between MSC Cruises SA and Africa Armada Consortium, was selected as the preferred bidder for the 25-year concession project last year. The project will see an investment over R200m (€13.5m).

The detailed design phase will commence this month and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. This will be followed by an 18-month construction phase from January 2019 to July 2020 and the cruise terminal is expected to commence operations in October 2020, ready for the 2020/2021 cruise season.

Representing KCT, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, said: “This agreement represents a great development for MSC Cruises’ South African operation. We could not be prouder.”

The project is expected to dovetail with the City’s latest work to extend the beachfront promenade from uShaka beach southwards to the harbour entrance, as well as the development of Durban Point Waterfront.

Source: tourismupdate.co.za

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 14:31
Margi Biggs, convenor of the annual Business of Wine and Food Tourism, has secured US-based big data wine specialist Cathy Huyghe as this year’s headline speaker for the conference, which takes place on October 17 at Spier in Stellenbosch.

Wine tourists in the Western Cape are increasingly opting for guided tours with a growing preference for tailor-made itineraries to suit their specific interests, says Margi Biggs, convenor of the annual Business of Wine and Food Tourism that takes place in October.

Sourcing her information from Wesgro’s recent Wine & Food Tourism Study, she believes that greater insights into travellers’ needs will unlock still further growth in this fast-expanding sector of South Africa’s travel industry.

“Wesgro research shows a year-on-year growth in wine tourism of 16% in 2017, thanks to the rising reputation of the Western Cape’s wines, the region’s increasingly innovative offerings, as well as its varied and exciting customised cellar door experiences.

“But as an industry, we’ve only tapped the surface.  There is still so much more potential to be unleashed, particularly now that we have access to big data and the deep learnings its analysis can bring. With more nuanced understanding of consumer preferences, their spending and other behavioural patterns, it becomes easier to address their needs and to do so in a way that is far more customised. I think we can expect the advent of big data to have a dramatic impact on our industry.”

With this in mind, Biggs has secured US-based big data wine specialist Cathy Huyghe as this year’s headline speaker for the conference, which takes place on October 17 at Spier in Stellenbosch. This will be the first visit to South Africa of Huyghe, who is also a wine columnist for Forbes and who has written for the Harvard Business Review. Co-founder and CEO of Enolytics LLC, she consults globally on big data to wine companies, is a digital media specialist and has authored wine books.

Other speakers at this year’s conference include Marisah Nieuwoudt, who is the wine tourism manager for VinPro, that represents the country’s 3 500 South African wine producers, cellars and industry stakeholders; Brittany Hawkins, CEO of Explore Sideways that focuses on immersive food wine and cultural experiences for tourists in the Western Cape; and Spicer de Villiers, who owns A Single Thread, a boutique communications agency that is active in local wine.

The conference programme will also cover such topics as sustainability, food and dining trends, as well as innovative product development.

Go to the website to view the full programme and find out more about the line-up of speakers, to be updated as more speakers are confirmed.

Trainees and professionals working in the Cape’s wine, food and tourism industries are encouraged to register to attend the conference. Early Bird registration is now open for a fee of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate, and ends on 30 June. A fee of R4 400 (excl. VAT) per delegate will apply thereafter, while students only pay R1 750 (excl. VAT) per person. Special discount is available for SAACI, SATSA, SITE and Cape Town Tourism members.

 

Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:43
The government of Uganda has signed the contract for the construction of the $4bn oil refinery, offering further clarity on how the country’s oil resources will be exploited. Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, signed the contract with the Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium, which is led by General Electric after more than a year of negotiations. It also ends a more-than-five-year struggle by Uganda’s government to get a company to invest in a refinery, which has a questionable return on investment.

The refinery will be built under a public-private partnership, favouring the consortium with a 60% shareholding while the government, through the national oil company, will retain the other 40%.

Uganda is expected to invite East African states to buy into its 40% stake, of which Tanzania has already committed to taking up about 7%. The consortium is made up of General Electric, Saipem from Italy, Yaatra Ventures from the United States of America and Intra-continent Asset Holdings.

The profile of the consortium looks quite weak and there are some doubts it can pull off a $4bn project. There is little independent publicly-available information about Intra-continent Asset Holdings.

Questions are bound to be asked as to how this consortium will be able to attract the capital and expertise to build the refinery. However, in October, the Albertine Graben Refinery consortium had posted a $2m commitment bond with government ahead of the signing of the project framework agreement (PFA).

Up to 70% of the financing of the refinery will be through debt with the other 30% coming in as equity from the project partners. In August, the government announced it had “agreed core project terms” for the refinery project.

After signing the PFA, the consortium would be required to finance all pre-final investment decision activities up to $100m.

The pre-FID activities, according to the terms of the arrangement, include market studies, logistics studies, technology licensing, refinery configuration studies, environmental and social impact assessment, and front-end engineering design.

These activities are expected to start after the signing of the contract. The major upstream companies operating in Uganda – Total, Tullow and Cnooc – had for long preferred a crude oil export pipeline because they felt the product had a more lucrative market abroad.

Uganda’s government thought otherwise, throwing its weight behind the construction of a refinery. The government commissioned a Swiss firm, Foster Wheeler, to come up with a report that offered pointers on how an oil refinery made economic sense, especially from the perspective of creating spin-off industries such as those that make bitumen, which is crucial in the construction industry.

Compromises needed to be made. To get the three oil companies to commit investments in the country, Uganda’s government agreed to the demands of having a crude oil pipeline. However, it never dropped its ambition of building a refinery.

The structure of having an oil refinery and a crude oil pipeline led to another important negotiation: how much crude would each take and which infrastructure would take the first call on the oil resources. The government settled for a 30,000-barrels-per-day refinery, which would later be ramped up to 60,000. The refinery, it was agreed, would take the first call.

Earlier figures showed that the crude pipeline would carry 120,000 barrels of oil per day, shooting up to 180,000 barrels only after the refinery’s demands had been met. Now, current figures show that the crude oil pipeline will carry about 212,000 barrels of oil per day.

Source: The Observer
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 16:47
Following the emergence of uncertainty that arose after recent surveys conducted by The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), the need to clarify the role of commissions in the events industry in Southern Africa has become a matter of urgency.

It needs to be made abundantly clear that SAACI does not make any decision on commissions. As the umbrella body of the business events industry in Southern Africa, the association is looking into this international industry issue based on various comments received and feedback received from SAACI members. SAACI acts solely to represent all our members on this topic as well as all other industry issues and in so doing provides the link between the private and public sectors.

SAACI has engaged National Treasury on this issue as they are in the process of looking at a more formalised policy for the business events sector as it pertains to government departments and bookings. It is very important to note that SAACI is not looking at regulating this business practice as the association is fully aware of the residual consequences that such regulation can have on SAACI members’ business and at no stage will SAACI dictate to our members how to run their businesses.

SAACI is rather looking at the ethical business practices within the industry and how to guide members and the industry as a whole to ensure that we operate within the SAACI code of conduct and best practices within the industry, including international best practice standards and guidelines (where applicable to South Africa and Southern Africa) in order to increase our industry attractiveness to international corporates. Any project we as SAACI undertake will always be dealt with according to our “members first” strategic focus.

We encourage all our members to participate in any further surveys or fact-finding requests we distribute. This is vitally important for SAACI to gain collective insight into our members’ views and business operations. We act solely on behalf of our members and we can only do so if our members are actively involved in providing us with their views and opinions. SAACI is always willing to discuss any project directly with our members and again we encourage open communication.

The association remains fully committed to strengthening the business environment for our members, but also to protect and strengthen the larger/broader industry in order to create a safe, ethical and growing business events industry for our members to successfully operate in and grow their own business.

For more information, contact Agnes Ntombela:
Email: agnes@saaci.org
Tel: +27 11 880 5883

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