Daily News Feed

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 15:07
Registration is now open for the Event Greening Forum’s (EGF) 2018 Conference on 14 June and Master Class on 13 June 2018, both at the forum white light in Lanseria, Johannesburg.

The EGF is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainability across the events industry. This year, the theme for its sixth annual conference is “Future-proofing your business”, and tackles how to develop long-term sustainability in the face of future challenges such as climate change and limited resources.

Programme highlights include planning for a water-sensitive future, hosting a carbon neutral event, and how climate change is not only a threat but also an opportunity.

Greg McManus, the EGF Chairperson, says, “Last year our conference was sold out, and the feedback was phenomenal. This year we are working hard to make it even better. We have a number of interactive activities planned, such as a chef’s table networking dinner, a standing debate, and an onsite sustainability case study – for which delegates will need to bring their walking shoes!”

Engaging speakers have been secured, including:

  • Judy Lain, who played a critical role as part of the Water Communications Team hosted at Wesgro, which managed the communication for the tourism industry during the height of the water crisis in Cape Town. She is now project managing the joint industry global tourism campaign to re-establish confidence in the region.
  • Silvana Claassen from Climate Neutral, who has provided both government institutions as well as major international corporations and SMEs with strategic solutions to the challenges related to the transition to a low carbon and resources constrained economy.
  • Deon Robbertze, a marketing guru with over 25 years’ experience and a passion for sustainability. He launched Ogilvyearth in Africa, co-founded The Change Agent Collective, and has co-published two books on sustainability.

As well as speaking at the conference, Robbertze will also host the EGF Master Class. The topic of this half-day workshop is “How to activate change in human behaviour to promote sustainable outcomes in your business”. Robbertze will cover why sustainability has to be at the core of your business purpose, how to ensure it is, and how you can motivate behaviour change in your employees and your customers to support it.

Both events are specifically tailored to meet the needs and interests of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) event organisers and suppliers, corporate and public sector procurement and event managers, venues and convention bureaus.

McManus adds, “We understand that those who work in the events industry have incredibly packed schedules, so we have designed our educational events to be short but rich in value and learning opportunities. We are also running the Conference and Master Class on consecutive days, so that delegates who travel in can more easily attend both – something we encourage by offering an attractive discount.”

If you would like to align your brand with the movement for a more sustainable events industry, sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Zoe Van Niekerk to find out more: zoe@eventgreening.co.za or 011 447 4777.

To book your seat or for more information, please go to www.eventgreening.co.za and click on the events tab. Alternatively, please contact Lynn McLeod: lynn@eventgreening.co.za or 082 891 5883.

Details

Starts: 13 June 2018

Date: 13 & 14 June 2018

Location: Johannesburg

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 12:17
In continued efforts to position the African continent as an ideal business events destination, representatives from various African countries including South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Elizabeth Thabethe; Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities representative, Rosemary Kobutagi Twinomugisha and Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, Denise B. Omany, were last week, at IMEX Frankfurt showcasing a united force and promoting the diversity of products that Africa has to offer to the international business event traveller.

IMEX Frankfurt is one of the largest global business events trade exhibition. It attracts all types of service providers who have something to offer for events such as hotels, incentives and event agencies, convention centres, meeting and conference planners, and many more.  New travel trends policy issues affecting the global business events industry are also discussed at IMEX.

The delegations from various African countries form an integral part in shaping Africa’s stories and came together to market the continent on the global stage to make sure that this continent will remain successful in years to come.

Speaking on the trade floor where over 14 000 international delegates were exhibiting, buying and engaging with travel trade products, Deputy Minister Thabethe commented on the importance of South Africa’s and African countries’ participation in global trade shows, stating that “As owner and host of Africa’s biggest business events trade show, Meetings Africa, which takes place in  South Africa annually in February, we are happy to see an increasing number of African countries also participating here because then we are definitely living up to Meeting Africa’s strategic intent of advancing Africa together. African countries should continue to unite and work in partnership to take Africa to the world and in turn realise Agenda 2063**. African countries have the capacity, infrastructure and resources to host international meetings and events.”

Ugandan Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities representatives, Rosemary Kobutagi Twinomugisha highlighted the importance of Africans “showcasing our competence to the world by cultivating our homegrown brands and not relying on multinational companies to develop franchises in our countries, but rather partnering with them to build African economies.”

Janet Mueni, Acting General Manager: Marketing and Sales at the Kenyata International Convention Centre echoed these sentiments: “We are here to not only market our country but to also take the opportunity share positive narratives about the continent, ensuring that the African continent is always top of mind and well known for offering leisure and business travellers world-class experiences.”

Denise B. Omany Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Convention Bureau commented that: “As Rwanda, we want participation from even more African countries at such trade shows. While we are new entrants in the business events market, we are already realising the positive impact of being here. Our President, Paul Kagame chairs the African Union and as a country, we are of the firm belief that Africans must present a united front when relating to the international community.”

IMEX Frankfurt once again lived up to expectations with organisers declaring that engagement and creativity reached new heights this year.

“With an array of content covering education, technology, association and corporate planning, public policy and more, IMEX has become the place to demonstrate the power of meetings to deliver engagement,” said   Chief Executive Officer of IMEX Group, Carina Bauer.

For the African continent, IMEX Frankfurt was certainly the ideal platform and provided the opportunity to reassure the global business events industry that Africa is very much open for business and that hosting meetings and events on the continent is a must-do.

This visit to IMEX Frankfurt followed the hugely successful Africa’s Travel Indaba which was hosted by South African Tourism in Durban earlier this month, where Africa showcased itself to the world in the most impressive manner with no less than 23 countries exhibiting.

IMEX Frankfurt took place in May, which is also Africa Month with celebrations expected to take place across the continent on the 25th of May.

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 15:19
South Africa, a nation synonymous with magnificent wildlife offerings, bagged yet another accolade titled ‘Best International Destination for Wildlife’ at the Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards 2018 held on Thursday, 17 May 2018.

By winning the prestigious ‘Best International Destination for Wildlife’ award for the 7th consecutive year, South Africa is truly staking its claim as one of the world’s most thrilling wildlife tourism capitals, says Alpa Jani, South African Tourism’s acting hub head for the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia (MEISEA) region.

Deemed as one of the most prominent travel magazines in the country, Lonely Planet aims at capturing not only the most coveted – but also the most relevant events in the Indian travel industry. The Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards is merited on the basis of votes placed by discerning travellers who choose from their favourite destinations and travel experiences in an online poll. An esteemed panel of experts then shortlist the nominees by calculating the readers’ vote, propelling India’s true favourites to the top.

Commenting on the win, Jani said, “Over the years, we have established ourselves worldwide and in India as a destination that offers enthralling wildlife experiences. South Africa offers some of the best wildlife and safaris in the world, and we constantly innovate to showcase the magnificent wildlife offerings of the destination. We thank Lonely Planet and its readers for affirming our efforts, it only inspires us to push the envelope further.”

South Africa boasts deep pockets of wildlife areas and game parks encircling every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species. South Africa is home to a large number of the mammals universally associated with Africa – including Africa’s Big 5: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros. It is also the only place in the world where wildlife-lovers can see not just the Big 5 but also the Big 7 that includes the Southern Right Whale and Great White Shark (in Port Elizabeth / Nelson Mandela Bay).

Nestled in the rustic and unhampered settings are wildlife reserves and national parks that cater to wildlife enthusiasts across various age groups. The game reserves at these parks offer guests a feel of the wilderness and the fauna of the subcontinent. Tourists can go on a game drive, a bush walk, or even a horse-ride for an authentic wildlife experience.

From gritty experiences in the bush to opulent luxury in a private lodge, the experiences are unique with memories to last a lifetime

Almost 100 000 Indian travellers sampled South Africa’s tourism delights last year, and Jani says South African Tourism is looking to maintain and accelerate this growth in the Indian market by, among other measures, vigorously promoting the multitude of adventure tourism experiences on offer across all nine of its provinces.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 15:03
Cape Town Air Access (a partnership between Wesgro, the Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, Airports Company South Africa, South African Tourism, and Cape Town Tourism) officially welcomes the touchdown of RwandAir’s direct flight from Kigali via Harare to Cape Town.

RwandAir is the first airline to introduce a direct flight between the Zimbabwean capital and the Mother City. The new route will be operational four times a week all year round – with the aircraft departing from Kigali collecting passengers in Harare to touch down in Cape Town.

Flight time to Harare is scheduled to take around 3 hours with the trip to Kigali expected to take around six and a half hours (including the 45 minute stop-over in Harare). Boasting full connectivity for the duration of the flight via “On Air”, passengers can select from two different levels of comfort, Business or Economy class.

The addition of the new route will amount to a total of eight new African destinations added to the Cape Town network since the establishment of Cape Town Air Access in 2015.

Connecting the Cape, via Kigali, to Western Africa, the new route firmly establishes Cape Town as the gateway to the rest of Africa, with the continent being the biggest source market for Western Cape goods – valued at over R45 billion.

Harare is to date the largest unserved city in Africa for Cape Town with just under 40,000 passengers recorded through Cape Town International Airport in 2017. Passenger growth revealed a 15% increase per year between Cape Town and Zimbabwe, with a significant 39% growth recorded between Victoria Falls and the Mother City last year.

Rwanda is also a growing destination for tourism and business for Cape Town and the Western Cape with the capital opening an impressive Conference Centre in 2016.

Research conducted by Wesgro’s IQ unit revealed that the top five Western Cape exports to Rwanda in 2016 included: Refined petroleum at R13.7; wine at R11m, recording a 100% growth; insecticides at R6.6m, engine parts, R3.8m and undenatured ethyl alcohol amounting to R1.8m.

Between January 2003 and December 2016 a total of 8 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were recorded from South Africa to Rwanda. These projects represent a total capital investment of USD257.1m with a total of 506 jobs created. Further to this, between January 2003 and June 2017, a total of 3 FDI projects were recorded from Rwanda, representing a total capital investment of USD37.3m facilitating 46 jobs.

“We welcome the introduction of the direct route from Kigali via Harare to Cape Town, not only does this facilitate improved business and tourism between the two Capitals, but further positions the Cape as a gateway to Africa,” commented Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.

“There are also numerous possibilities for business and tourism in Zimbabwe. The total number of passengers recorded between Cape Town and Zimbabwe last year amounted to around 75 000, and we look forward to seeing this number grow through the facilitation of a new direct route,” added Harris.

The Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde added: “Our goal with Project Khulisa is to grow the number of jobs in the tourism industry and this route opens up new opportunities for business and the tourism sector. Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent and Zimbabwe holds a lot of potential for development and we hope that by opening up access between Cape Town, Kigali and Harare, it will be easier to explore these possibilities.”

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 14:18
The IAB SA has kick-started a campaign for all South Africans to have free basic access to the Internet. As the right to information is one of our constitutional rights, it follows that South Africans should have the ability to access this information freely.

Chris Borain, chair of the IAB SA, says, “We believe in fostering digital equality among all citizens.  While Icasa is taking great strides to address the high cost of data, a basic level of free Internet access is a separate issue that requires as much attention. All South Africans, especially vulnerable groups and those without access to mobile phones, have the right to access information online, from government services, employment opportunities or online education resources.”

The IAB SA is already partnering with other media stakeholders to justify the case for free basic internet access and stimulate dialogue on the matter.

The IAB SA in partnership with the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Applied Law and Technology (altadvisory.africa)  have published a research paper on the topic: Perspectives on Universal Access to Online Information in South Africa: Free Public Wi-Fi and Zero-Rated Content, which is publically available.

The paper was launched last year on the International Day for Universal Access to Information at the Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) conference. In her address to the Forum, the then outgoing chair of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and current South African Information Regulator, Adv Pansy Tlakula acknowledged the issues raised in the paper and commended the efforts of all involved.

At its December 2017 National Conference at Nasrec, the ANC resolved to “encourage efforts by Government and the private sector to deploy broadband infrastructure and services and also ensure accessibility of free Wi-Fi as a tool of economic development, including access in rural areas, metros, public schools, clinics and libraries.

An online industry and media delegation led by the IAB earlier this year met with the South African Human Rights Commission to discuss ways in which a basic level of free Internet access for all citizens can be achieved over time.

We proposed a seven-point action plan to roll out free internet rights in South Africa:

  1. The implementation of free access to the Internet at government sites such as schools, libraries, health facilities, etc.  This is already government policy, but the government should commit to a fixed roll-out schedule, which should be monitored with adequate oversight and promotion of this service.
  2. Zero-rated access to government websites and data, as envisaged in the e-government policies.
  3. Following on several pilot projects in a number of cities and towns, free Wi-Fi access should forthwith be regarded as a basic municipal service and run as a public utility (alongside water, electricity and other municipal services), and the government should set up plans and targets for the progressive realisation of such services.  This could be done via public/private partnerships, such as making it a requirement for commercial operators like telecoms and fibre companies to provide free Wi-Fi in poor areas for the right to provide commercial services in business and affluent areas.
  4. Setting minimum standards for the provision of free internet access, including for all commercial offerings: a minimum data allocation per person per day; and standards for privacy, security, access quality and fair access to information in the public interest.
  5. The introduction of the concept of My Internet Rights (or My i-Right): that every citizen should be entitled to a daily tranche of free internet access (e.g. 500MB per day, which is already the standard for many free Wi-Fi schemes), to exercise their access to information rights.
  6. The introduction of digital literacy programmes in education curricula and as part of free internet schemes, especially aimed at children and those unfamiliar with risks and opportunities related to the internet.
  7. The need for the SAHRC and other oversight bodies to monitor and report on the progressive realisation of internet access rights, and in particular the adoption and implementation of legislation, regulation and policies governing free access to the internet as a basic human right.

In response, the COO of the SAHRC, Chantal Kissoon indicated that the commission will consider incorporating monitoring of government’s internet access plans for inclusion in national, regional and international reports on human rights issues; look into the possibility of convening a conference of experts and stakeholders to explore the proposed action plan; and to raise the free internet access issues in outreach and stakeholder engagements.

Anriette Esterhuysen, the APC’s director of global policy and strategy, says that with South Africa’s internet policies, ICT infrastructure, community networks and free internet pilot projects already underway, the country is well placed to become an example of how the developing world can bridge the digital divide, including the gender digital divide. “What is necessary now is for the public sector, business and civil society to take practical steps towards the goal to give every South African a basic level of free access to the internet.”

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 14:10
Hostex, the biggest and longest-running food and hospitality exhibition in Africa, is returning to Sandton Convention Centre in March 2020, in direct response to industry feedback.

Gary Corin, MD of the show’s organisers, Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary, says: “Our long and successful history has seen us gain many learnings along the way – one of the most important being to hear and heed our customers, exhibitors and visitors. Hostex is a powerful brand that has been an industry institution for 34 years and we intend to see it thriving for the next three decades. We are now returning to the original biennial status, with the next Hostex scheduled for March 2020 in Sandton, in response to feedback from major industry players.”

Corin adds that Hostex and Food & Hospitality Africa has enjoyed its three years at Gallagher Convention Centre, but the show is looking forward to returning to Sandton as a major hub of culinary action in South Africa. “Sandton Convention Centre is an ideal location in the heart of the Sandton business district, easily accessible to the outside world and adjacent to one of the prime shopping, restaurant, hotel, and entertainment areas in the country.”

Hostex 2020 will run from 1 to 3 March, continuing its legacy as an industry platform that provides access to the burgeoning African market and delivers innovation and opportunity for all stakeholders.

The popular show will feature four primary districts – Hostex, Tea & Coffee Africa, Contract Furnishing Africa, and a brand new district, Food & Drink Africa. Strong features that have become firm favourites at the food and hospitality show with visitors and exhibitors and are set to return are The Skillery, a culinary hub presented by SA Chefs Association which showcases the talents and skills of South Africa’s chefs; the free-to-attend Host-ED seminar; Speciality Coffee Association of SA’s Barista; local taste at Food & Drink; a strong New Product Display; and more.

Corin says, “Hostex 2020 will be a place for international suppliers and local commerce to engage and network, a place where industry leaders meet, where new markets are penetrated, and where innovation thrives. We’ve had the commitment from industry and everyone who is anyone in the retail, foodservice and hospitality sectors will be there to make their mark.”

Hostex 2020 will attract over 250 exhibitors from more than 25 countries and feature thousands of innovative products, attracting thousands of local and international visitors.

For more information on Hostex 2020, visit www.hostex.co.za.

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 12:24
With Facebook announcing that it is pushing brand and publisher content out of news feeds, how can businesses, especially small and medium enterprises in South Africa, remain relevant?

It was deemed a “rude awakening” early in January 2018 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that the social networking platform had changed its algorithm, basically meaning it had changed what users see on their news feeds.

This follows a pretty harsh year for Facebook, where it was criticised for not having the right countermeasure to stop the spread of fake news and propaganda. So now its set of rules has changed; bumping up users’ friends and family members’ status updates and photos, and underplaying public news articles and content published by brands.

But where does that leave the small or medium businesses reliant on communicating their brand messages through Facebook? How do they now reach Facebook users (estimated to be approximately two billion)?

There is still a way

“’Meaningful interaction’ is not something new to Zuckerberg’s focus on how brands engage with their Facebook audience,” explains Jodene Shaer, international business owner and head strategist of social media engagement specialist, Chat Factory. “There is a place for paid media, but if a brand is trying to be seen organically, then it must feel like it is part of the flowing content people want to see from friends and family. It is pushing for the reason that Facebook was created in the first place – to be social.”

Authenticity key

Truly embracing the power of live videos and video content on Facebook – and then creating reasons for the public to engage with those posts – is an excellent move for any business that is budget conscious, Shaer adds.

“The ranking for visibility of organic content is highest when live. Live videos are absolutely the route to go, as followers receive a notification that you are live and there is a greater chance of visibility. A big advantage is that you can save that content to the page and it becomes shareable, and can be uploaded to YouTube, where there is still a strong call for business content.

“And it doesn’t have to be high budget either, but it must be authentic, informative, engaging and encouraging. Of all things, ensure that all comments are responded to and shares and reviews are acknowledged.”

Looking beyond Facebook

Shaer believes that smaller local businesses can make their ad rands stretch further on Facebook by moving onto Ads Manager, instead of simply using the Boost button. “The reach is different, so invest in watching some YouTube videos as tutorials,” she recommends. “Boost to unique target audiences and turn the boosting into a science, by watching your reach. Set up smaller boosts and spread your spend across a few posts instead of one big boost. Track your stats and see which audiences work best.”

“One way that South African SMEs could also make use of InstaStories, as these are gaining organic reach. They could also look at varying hashtags, but using a few to reach a very specific audience.

“We’ve seen the opening up of the use of LinkedIn and had people return to using the power of Twitter, so it’s worth investigating how to maximise other platforms while trying to keep your budget low.

“None of this should put a small business off, but should create exciting and challenging opportunities to shift how social media is used and explore the outcomes of each post, to truly develop a social media presence,” she adds.

Shaer will be one of an entire panel of dynamic, expert presenters speaking at the upcoming Madex 2018 show, the ultimate marketing, advertising, design, social media and all that good stuff expo.

Madex 2018 takes place on 6 and 7 June 2018 at Sandton Convention Centre. The show is co-located with targeted promotional product event, Markex 2018. Please note that the entrance cost to Madex 2018 is R50, payable online or on-site at the show. Visit www.madex.co.za for more information and to register for your entrance to the show.

Facebook handle: @MadexExpo

Twitter handle: @MadexExpo

#Madex2018

CONTACTS:

Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery, Natasha Heiberg, tel: +27 (011) 835-1565 info@madex.co.za, www.madex.co.za

Icomm, Nicola Read, +27 (0)83 269 2227, nicola@pr.co.za, www.icomm-pr.co.za

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 11:49
Marriott International has announced the opening of Sheraton Bamako Hotel marking its entry into Mali, in West Africa. This milestone further solidifies Marriott International’s portfolio across West Africa and promises to revolutionize the hospitality landscape in the country through Sheraton’s distinct product offering coupled with its commitment to go above and beyond for its guests.

“We are thrilled to build on Sheraton’s proud heritage in Africa that dates back to 1971,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Over the last four decades, the brand has maintained its first mover advantage through strategic pipeline development and growth, giving global travellers access to more destinations across the continent. Sheraton Bamako Hotel not only marks our entry into a new country but also serves as a great example of our transformation efforts around the brand.”

Sheraton Bamako Hotel is the outcome of a collaboration with Koiraholding Group, promoter of the project whose Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Cesse Kome said, “I am very proud to partner with Marriott International to bring the Sheraton brand into Mali and I am confident this hotel will set a new benchmark in hospitality within the country.”

Strategically located in close proximity to Bamako’s Modibo Keïta International Airport in one of the city’s most sought-after neighbourhoods, ACI 2000, the hotel provides easy access to the city centre, major embassies, corporate offices, government buildings as well as numerous cultural and tourist attractions. With an enviable location affording panoramic views of the Niger river, the hotel seamlessly blends modern, elegant design, with distinct local touches to create a vibrant aesthetic and a compelling sense of place. Signature brand programming and an elevated guest experience create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes for an ideal gathering place for business and leisure travellers as well as the local community.

All 200 spacious and well-appointed guestrooms boast panoramic views of the Niger river and the lush green hillside dotted with mango plantations, offering unmatched comfort and the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience. 27 Sheraton Club rooms and 32 suites offer exclusive access to the Sheraton® Club Lounge, a private space where guests can enjoy complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks during the day. Leisure facilities include a state-of-the-art Sheraton® Fitness Centre with cutting-edge equipment available 24 hours a day, a spa and an outdoor pool for guests to relax and recharge for the day.

Four distinctive dining venues offer a wide selection of global cuisine. The all-day dining restaurant, City Grill, blends European and International cuisine with flavours from West Africa while a classic Paris inspired brasserie, the Brasserie Bamaquoise, offers the best of French cuisine. Guests can also enjoy fresh juices, a drink or light bites at Légendes Du Sports Bar, a buzzing sports bar or while relaxing at the Oasis Pool Bar.

With more than 820 square meters of dedicated meeting space, Sheraton Bamako Hotel features 11 meeting rooms including a 478 square meter Grand Ballroom as well as a fully equipped business centre, with state-of-the-art facilities and endless connectivity through high-speed Wi-Fi. With natural light in most meeting rooms, creative menu options and thoughtful service that goes above and beyond, the hotel provides both choice and flexibility, making it an exclusive option for large-scale business meetings, social events, weddings or even smaller intimate gatherings.

For more information on Sheraton Bamako Hotel, please visit sheratonbamako.com or follow the property on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 17:03
Ugu South Coast Tourism has officially launched its Great Drives Out initiative at the Tourism INDABA 2018 on the 9th of May 2018.

The launch was endorsed by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN) and attended by the TKZN Board Chairperson, Sthembiso Madlala, Ugu South Coast Tourism Board member, Victor Mzulwini and CEO, Justin Mackrory, as well as municipal dignitaries and the popular Mseleku family from Uthando Nes’thembu fame. Great Drives Out was welcomed as a feather in the cap of the Ugu district for developing its hinterland treasures to pave the way for rural economic beneficiation.

As Justin Mackrory, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism, explains “the four Great Drives Out rural adventure experiences encourage responsible and authentic culture and heritage explorations in scenic environments, fostering links between diverse cultures and between the popular KZN South Coast coastline and the lush hinterland, only a few minutes’ drive away.”

Mazethu Zondi, GM of Development for Ugu South Coast Tourism, added that “We are proud of our ongoing work on the Great Drives Out. We have trained tour guides, developed and geolocated the routes, organised signage, developed and promoted tourism products ranging from accommodation to activities and entertainment, and are consulting and mentoring the small businesses and people that stand to benefit from this tourism initiative”.

The Great Drives Out includes the KwaNzimakwe Experience, the Nyandezulu Experience, the KwaXolo Caves and the Mseleku Homestead Tours.

The KwaNzimakwe Experience starts at the WowZulu Welcome Centre on the R69 Road between Mpenjati Nature Reserve and Ezinqoleni, above KwaNzimakwe “place of the Nzimakwe” Village. Here the local tribal leader will welcome you warmly. See a sangoma, or traditional healer, watch crafters and learn to weave, visit a cattle kraal and organic garden. Then follow a mountain trail past a Shembe Church to a site with spectacular views of the area. Nearby activities include community theatre at Msenti Art Academy, guided walking trails at Xhuluweshe mountain and Nojani Tavern.

With the Nyandezulu Experience, only 9km inland from Shelly Beach, see breathtaking scenery high above the sea, while enjoying the hospitality of the local community and discovering local arts and crafts. Start at Mfihlo Guest House for a 5-hour guided drive with a hike to the Ntantana Mountain, overlooking Nyandezulu Waterfall. Visit the sangoma and the local Dafeleni shebeen or tavern. Walk to a Shembe Church and the top of the holy uMdlungwana mountain, reputed to harbour a seven-headed water monster. Don’t make too much noise!

At KwaXolo Caves, near the town of Port Edward, go on a 5-minute hike to a newly discovered prehistoric cave with San paintings that are older than 100 000 years. These caves tell the story of the San in years of plenty, before the deserts they would later inhabit. This rock shelter is still difficult to access, so consult your guide for a visit to it.

The Mseleku Homestead Tours feature the traditional home of the stars of popular local reality TV show Uthando Nes’thembu (Love and Polygamy), who have generously opened their traditional homestead in the rural Madlala area of Umzumbe, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, for guided tours. The TV show gets up close and personal with polygamist businessman Musa Mseleku and his four wives, affectionately called MaCele, MaYeni, MaKhumalo and MaNgwabe. Guided tours need to be pre-arranged.

As Justin Mackrory says “The Mseleku family are becoming a tourism force to be reckoned with. Not only are they local superstar TV personalities, but they are also proud owners of Zizi’s restaurant and four-star establishment, Umdlalo Lodge in Umtentweni, venue of many a wedding.”

All Great Drives Out cultural adventure experiences are recommended as part of a guided tour with registered tour guides, so visitors can understand the area, its people and places and are not just driving through. Some roads are best driven by 4×4.

The Great Drives Out are detailed in the latest issue of the Southern Explorer, Ugu South Coast Tourism’s official guide, including maps with points of interest highlighted. In addition, group travel can be customised to include a variety of experiences that will further give insight into the rich Zulu culture, such as Zulu dancing, beading workshops, drumming demonstrations, sangoma readings, storytelling for the kids, traditional food and drink, refreshing stops at taverns, hikes up holy mountains, San cave paintings, shopping for handmade arts and crafts, overnighting in rural accommodation.

Apart from the four Great Drives Out, two more cultural adventures will add colour to a KZN South Coast trip, the 3- or 4-day guided Wild-South Coast Walk, incorporating KwaNzimakwe and organized by WOWZulu, and the upcoming Maidens Ceremony on 30 June 2018, which encourages visitors to gain insight into this vibrant traditional cultural celebration.

As Justin Mackrory points out “Our beaches are a great way to relax on your holiday, but if you stay only at the beach, you are missing out on a rich, cultural landscape, which promises to give you even more unforgettable moments.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 16:42
BestCities congratulates Bogotá on climbing the global rankings in this year’s International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) report.

Moving up 14 places to 45th, the city also had the largest number of attendees for events in the region, with a total of 52,868 people. This positive result comes ahead of the South American meeting destination hosting the annual BestCities Global Forum later this year.

The Alliance also acknowledges members, Houston and Vancouver, who have made significant movements in the report, climbing 38 places to 148th and 16 places to 39th respectively. The improved rankings for all three cities sit alongside the continued success of other BestCities partners; Berlin (4th), Singapore (6th) and Madrid (7th), who have all solidified their place within the top 10, maintaining their current positions since 2016.

The BestCities Global Forum will see its 12 destinations; ten of which sit within the ICCA top 45 cities; come together once again at its annual educational event this December, sharing knowledge to enhance the planning and positive impact of association events. To see the majority (67%) of the BestCities partner destinations climb the rankings or maintain their position within the top ten is a testament to the shared expertise amongst the Alliance.

Speaking of its partners successes, Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many of our BestCities partners performing well in the ICCA 2017 report. As an international network of 12 leading convention bureaus across the globe, these results help solidify our shared commitment to the international association community and the appeal to visit each destination.

“With a combined total of 1,072 meetings hosted in 2017, our alliance is delivering nothing short of the best for so many world-class associations, year in, year out.

“We’re thrilled to see Bogotá jump 14 places on the year that they will host our Global Forum. As always, we strive to help more clients create meaningful and lasting impacts across the industry and hope this year’s theme, The Power of People, will enable us to achieve this on a new level.”

Jorge Mario Díaz of Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau said:

“The Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau has been striving to grow and develop its event industry and to have the city’s efforts recognised in the ICCA rankings is a huge achievement of the strategy implemented and evidence to the hard work of the team.

“This result shows the efficiency of the city’s marketing strategy and the attraction of events that we started three years ago, led by the Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Bogotá Convention Bureau and the Local Government.

“Bogotá is a truly diverse and eclectic destination that can cater to a wide range of association meetings.

“This year we’re excited to host the BestCites Global Forum and look forward to welcoming our partner cities and delegates to celebrate, The Power of People. We feel this event will be a real highlight on what has been a great year for Bogotá so far.”

For more information on BestCities and its upcoming events visit www.bestcities.net  @BestCitiesGA

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