SATSA (Southern Africa Tourism Services Association) held their annual conference in late July in Mpumalanga, and it was nothing less than a huge success. Held from Thursday to Saturday in the province’s White River, the conference featured a number of fascinating panel discussions, sponsored talks, and of course, excellent networking opportunities. We were fortunate enough to have the Minister for Tourism, Derek Hanekom, do the opening talk for the event. His passion for South Africa is simply inspiring. One of the things he mentioned that really stuck with us was the fact that South Africa is a country of diversity, and that’s what makes us so unique. We have a multitude of experiences to offer and a large mix of culture to be enjoyed. City lifestyle, safaris and wildlife, shopping, wine and food, cultural excursions, scenic beauty and adventure activities are just a few of the many things South Africa offers. And this is what makes us one of the best holiday destinations in the World.
The rest of the conference included some fascinating discussions from prominent members of South Africa’s tourism community. From how to plan for a sustainable future to dynamic pricing and marketing special interests, the panelists really did cover a lot. We were very impressed with the work that Kruger National Park and Peace Parks are doing for tourism conservation. Together, they spend an average of R136 million each year on rhino conservation, and they are now looking at getting involved in community development. We must also applaud South African Tourism for their amazing efforts in promoting South Africa to German-speaking travellers. From German films and reality shows based in South Africa, to viral videos, social media campaigns and promotional events in Germany, SAT are really going above and beyond.
As well as interesting panel discussions, SATSA also organised the most fantastic networking lunches and dinners. We met some great people, and also got to enjoy a variety of delicious food and wines. The highlight has to be having dinner in the Mbombela Stadium, where we were lucky enough to have the entire stadium to ourselves.
A huge, special thanks to SATSA for organising a truly incredible event. Everything was perfectly planned and executed down to a tee, from the accommodation and networking dinners, to the discussions and choice of panelists. We thoroughly enjoyed the event, and are already looking forward to the next one! A big thanks to Pine Lake Inn as well, for hosting the event and ensuring everything we needed was taken care of.
Seychelles Tourism Workshop
Four members of the East Cape Tours team recently attended a Seychelles Tourism Workshop in Cape Town. We did a self-drive trip along the picturesque Garden Route, starting off in Port Elizabeth and stopping at Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn before arriving in Cape Town. The event, held on 14 July, was the seventh annual Seychelles Tourism Board Workshop. This year it took place at the Cape Sun Hotel. Throughout the event, our team was able to meet and connect with valuable industry partners from the accommodation and transport sectors in the Seychelles.
We also discovered some beautiful new lodges and exciting cruise ship packages in the Seychelles, which we will soon be adding to our website. Aside from the Seychelles event, the team also did site inspections at a few Cape Town hotels. One in particular that really stood out for us was The Lord Charles Hotel, which has recently undergone a multi-million rand renovation. The hotel features comfortable and well-appointed rooms as well as a charming lounge and dining room, and we would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Cape Town. We also discovered a quaint guesthouse in Mossel Bay, Bar-t-nique, that offers a beautiful panoramic view over the town and a delectable breakfast. We had an absolutely fantastic time and also learned a few tricks about the Seychelles.
By Cassidy Pautz and Sebastiaan Loubser