Daily News Feed

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 16:11
Solar power is often touted as the obvious solution for the 600 million Africans who live without electricity.

But some of the biggest solar power-focused businesses on the continent say some bumps remain on the way to large-scale deployment of solar power either as an alternative to or complement of existing national power grids.

One obstacle is simply “believing that it is feasible,” Mustapha Bakkoury, chairman of the board of Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency, said at a panel during the Africa CEO Forum last week in Abidjan. Even though there are “enough examples to show it works,” as Bakkoury said, a measure of scepticism is still holding back full-blown government participation in some countries. That’s reflected in “not having commitment at the highest levels” to create a policy to push renewable energy, he said. Charlotte Aubin, president of GreenWish Partners, an investment firm that specializes in renewable energy solutions shared similar sentiments saying more countries need “strong commitment” to integrating renewable energy solutions.

While Africa’s power generating capacity has slowly improved over the years, rationing, rolling shortages, and blackouts continue to hamper many countries development—including economic giants like South Africa and Nigeria. These power cuts stunt economic growth, hindering small and large businesses alike as well as schools and hospitals.

Limited financing also encumbers power generation: estimates of annual investments required for the power sector between 2015 and 2040 range from $33 billion to $63 billion. Yet the average annual spending in the past decade in the African power sector has been about US$12 billion. As a result, the low access, poor reliability and high prices of electricity cost African economies an average of 2.1% of their GDP, according to the World Bank.

But there has been an increased focus on renewable energy in many countries, particularly as governments, multilateral agencies and investors alike, realize that building traditional power grids may not be the most cost-efficient way to meet the needs of the continent’s fast-growing populations. Solar has been especially focused on in North Africa, with Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco leading the way.

Morocco is a model of what’s possible as the government is pushing for renewable energy to generate 52% of its electricity by 2030. It is also backing that rhetoric with action partly through the construction of Noor Ouarzazate, a solar plant expected to become the world’s largest when completed.

There’s a need for a broader energy mix in many more countries as “it’s not very clear” enough people are thinking deeply in that direction despite public rhetoric, said Thierry Déau, chief executive at Meridiam, an investment firm that financed the largest solar power plant in West Africa. He said solar power projects are often also hampered by existing infrastructure problems such as the lack of grids: “We start by building the solar station and then find out that we have to connect it.”

As national governments work through setting up and implementing large-scale renewable energy plans, companies offering pay-as-you-go solar solutions are seeing success on the continent. By eliminating the large one-time expense of purchasing and installing solar power systems, these companies allow customers pay for both equipment and service in installments—a more feasible proposition across many African countries. That strategy is continuing to win conviction from investors: in January, two pay-as-you-go solar firms in Africa received $75 million in financing.

Source: qz.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 13:49
Tourists wanting to visit our country are cutting South Africa out of their travel itineraries because the administration and costs of acquiring the Unabridged Birth Certificates outweigh the desire to visit the country.

The trials and tribulations of the unabridged birth certificate regulation in South Africa continue to dog the tourism industry, with service providers, stakeholders – and with greater force, tourists themselves – becoming more aggressively vocal about its negative impact on the inbound tourism industry.

The regulation was activated in 2015 with the aim of confronting child trafficking in South Africa, yet has delivered no substantiated evidence in its three years of operation that it has achieved this. Instead, the ‘unintended consequences’ of a “R7.5bn (€511m) loss to the tourism economy and a decrease of about 600 000 tourists” to the country have shaken the local tourism industry.

“It is absurd in the extreme,” says David Frost, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa). “Such a regulation cannot control something as heinous as child trafficking – criminals of this nature won’t use legal means to move children out of the country, so how can a checkpoint at an airport be effective?”

A recent survey released by Travelstart, which looked at the effects of the UBC legislation on tourism from February 12 to March 12 this year, said experts believed the policy had not been effective in combating the reason it was implemented – child trafficking – citing: “Real human traffickers don’t follow legitimate and documented methods of travel but cross the border in illegitimate and clandestine circumstances. Therefore so-called ‘innocent’ people may be on the receiving end of regulations intended to target human traffickers.”

And these innocent people – tourists wanting to visit our country – are cutting South Africa out of their travel itineraries because the administration and costs of acquiring the UBCs outweigh the desire to visit the country. A local industry stakeholder is aware of a recent incident where a German mother, wishing to visit South Africa with her two children, finding that she had to pay €200 and take three days leave from work to acquire the relevant documentation, decided to scrap the country from her itinerary.

“One has to wonder at the logic of being the only country in the world that has implemented such legislation. A good legislative decision is generally one that is applauded and supported by game players in the global industry. Yet South Africa stands alone in its unabridged birth certificate endeavour,” says Frost.

And, frustrating as it is for South Africans travelling out of the county to obtain these certificates, it is clearly more so for tourists wishing to visit South Africa.

The airlines are taking the brunt of upholding the legislative requirement. “Many airlines have been battling with this since May 2015, when the legislation came into effect,” says Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA). “The aviation industry has never supported this regulation and is still on the receiving end of angry travellers whom the airline agents often can’t check in owing to incorrect documentation.” Frost concurs, pointing out that child trafficking abroad is addressed by a strong union of national security authorities, government, and police. “Overseas you see a sophisticated collaborative policing instrument; and what do we have here in South Africa? Check-in staff who are not adequately trained to manage child trafficking incidents.”

Zweigenthal says, despite actioning what Government has mandated, the industry has not been provided with any evidence that the regulation has curbed child trafficking. “Child traffickers are criminals and will do it any way they can.”
The airline industry has participated in discussions with the Department of Tourism, which is working with the inter-ministerial council to look at amendments to the regulations, yet “the proposal that was put through in late 2016 has not been finalised,” he says.

“Satsa has tried to engage with government collaboratively to find ways to solve the unabridged birth certificate issues. We are pleased that Derek Hanekom is at the helm again, with the hope that his leadership in this battle will bring relief to travellers as well as the industry,” says Frost. “I believe that if this flawed and misguided legislation is removed, we will see a 15-20% boost in tourism in a short period of time.”

Source: tourismupdate.co.za

Friday, April 6, 2018 - 15:07
Africa Tourism Partners will be hosting a Pan-African Business Tourism & MICE Masterclass, with the support from Grant Thornton, Southern Africa Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) in Gauteng at a venue TBC shortly.

Please see the brochure and registration form.

This Masterclass is a professional development and refresher programme that encapsulates diverse curriculum to upskill diverse stakeholders. Attendees will learn from a faculty of international experts including directors of Grant Thornton, SACCI, SITE, ICCA, Academics and International MICE experts. It will further provide the much-needed forum for Pan-African networking forum, and to optimise the opportunities that 21st-century business tourism presents as there is no integrated professional development programme being offered in Africa.

Themed “Growing Destination Tourist Arrivals Through Business & Event Tourism Leadership Development”, prospective attendees will include Business Tourism Professionals, Tourism Board Officials, MICE Professionals, Convention Bureau Officials, Convention Centres Officials, SMMEs and Youth from Municipal, Provincial, National and International organisations.

To register your attendance please complete the attached registration form and send it back with proof of payment by no later than 15th April to qualify for the 15% discount of the standard rate.

We look forward to your earliest response and look forward to your support.

Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 16:52
Yesterday evening, Cape Town Air Access officially welcomed the touchdown of airline ‘Joon’ at a press conference hosted in the Mother City.

Marketed as ‘the new generation journey by Air France’ Joon targets younger travellers and commenced three direct flights between Paris and Cape Town this week.

Offering a flying experience that is both stylish and relaxed, customers will be welcomed by Joon cabin crew adorning casual uniforms featuring white trainers and polo shirts. Appealing to an always-connected audience, the airline boasts free Wifi – enabling passengers to stream movies and shows on their own devices, with seats featuring USB ports for charging.

The French market has been earmarked as one of Cape Town’s fastest growing markets, with a total of 17,574 French arrivals expected to arrive through Cape Town International Airport between November 2017 and April 2018 with a 22.9% year-on-year increase forecasted.

Nationally, the top two age groups to visit South Africa are 25-34 and 35-44-year-olds with passengers originating from France and Europe. Historically, Western Cape tourist arrivals boast a solid youth market with the 25-34 year age bracket showing a consecutive growth rate between 2013 and 2016, indicating sound prospects of continued growth into 2018.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: “Cape Town and the Western Cape have a plethora of opportunities and experiences to offer both young and mature travellers. With our competitive exchange rate making the Mother City a desirable destination for young tourists, in particular, we look forward to welcoming more visitors to our shores through the facilitation of more affordable flight options offered by Joon. We are particularly pleased by the growth in the French market, now the 6th largest. Last year there was a 33% increase in French arrivals, providing a big boost to our regional economy.”

Addressing the media and guests was: Joon CEO, Jean-Michel Mathieu; Air France KLM Senior Vice President Africa, Frank Legre; Air France KLM General Manager Southern Africa, Wouter Vermeulen; and Cape Town Air Access project, Paul Van den Brink.

Addressing guests, Joon CEO, Jean-Michel Mathieu, commented: “Joon is a brand that prides itself on being aligned to the times. With our mission being the new generation travel experience by Air France – we aim to offer innovative, high-quality service at competitive pricing. With our different levels of comfort available onboard: Business; Premium Economy and Economy, Joon has something for everyone.”

Acknowledging the growth potential the new routes offer Cape Town and the Western Cape, Harris added, “We commend the Cape Town Air Access team and all its partners on their tireless efforts in navigating ways to make Cape Town more accessible and easier to visit for people of all ages and walks of life. With a forecast increase of 22.9% year-on-year, the strength in this market holds huge opportunities for the Cape to attract an even greater share of tourists from France.”

The Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde added: “Joon as a brand is positioned to appeal to young, hip and tech-savvy travellers, who I’m certain, will feel right at home in Cape Town and the Western Cape. We welcome Joon’s inclusion of Cape Town in their network as this will be a huge boost toward our Project Khulisa targets of growing tourism and creating more jobs in this valuable sector. Direct flights are one of the key ways we are getting more people to visit our destination.”

Welcoming the new route by Joon, the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, commented: “It is wonderful to welcome Joon to Cape Town and I am excited to see how they bring more young visitors to our vibrant city. Air connectivity is undoubtedly a key enabler for our economy and it has the ability to create hundreds of new jobs. I am proud to say that Air Access Cape Town shows how we can deliver to all Capetonians if all three spheres of government and the private sector work together.”

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