SAACI Matters – April 2019

SAACI Matters – April 2019

Youth development top priority for SAACI

We constantly hear about how important the youth is for the true sustainability and growth of the industry. What does that mean exactly and how can we be more aware of this and incorporate them into the growth strategies of our companies and our industry?

SAACI places a special emphasis on youth development as is evident from its strategic focus areas – learning, growth and collaboration.

“We have embarked on various initiatives, among others the creation of a board portfolio targeted at youth development, co-opting Minister Kganyago to this portfolio,” says SAACI CEO Rudi van der Vyver. “We will also be creating a youth board to provide a platform for our industry youth to voice their opinions, provide their insights and close the generation gap we currently see in the industry. The youth board members will be mentored – this we believe will be an effective succession planning initiative for the association.

“We are in the process of creating additional training programmes targeted at the youth entering our industry, aimed at students with qualifications. We trust this will breach the gap between tertiary academic institutions and the functional skills and understanding required by our industry. We are also relooking the training content for youth transitioning into our industry from various other industries without having studied directly in the field or related fields of business events.

“We are rekindling our relationships with tertiary institutions that offer qualifications relating to the business events industry. We will be expanding our youth conference currently only running in the Western Cape in partnership with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, to include a Gauteng-based event. This provides a networking and exposure platform to students as they start their journey into the industry as an employee or potential new business owner,” says Rudi.

There are various ways to get involved in youth development and these SAACI will be communicating with members. This will include intern and learnership hosts as well as mentors to guide new industry talent.

For more information contact SAACI on
011 880 5883 or

SAACI welcomes new members

A total of 11 members joined SAACI in March.

In the Venue Forum five members joined – Natalie Cherry of Blaauwberg Beach Hotel, Lorraine Dercksen of The View Guesthouse in Amanzimtoti, Alison Karlsen of Illovo, Kwa-Zulu-Natal, Carien Davel of Adventure Zone Africa in Cullinan and Leonie Herselman of Cobin Investment in Johannesburg.

Vela Manyoni of Ikusasa Media and Events in Mount Edgecombe, KwaZulu-Natal, Londiwe Ngcobo of Andimahle Trading Enterprise in Durban, David Newton of Brandgravity in Johannesburg and Niki Steenkamp of The Event Planners in Hout Bay joined the Conference and Events Forum.

Charlene McKenzie of Tixsa in Tshwane joined the Services Forum – so has Eddie Bunting of Drums and Rhythm who has upgraded his membership from Independent to Micro.

SAACI welcomes the new members and believes they will find their membership truly valuable.

Be a part of our research

SAACI’s research project to assess the size of the country’s business events industry is well underway.

Collecting data on meetings in 2018 that qualified for the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) ranking report has been concluded and the results will be published by ICCA during 2019.

Data about all other international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions that took place in South Africa in 2018 is now being collected. This process will assist reporting on the full landscape of our industry and project our performance in the coming years. We would be grateful if you would be part of this study by adding your insights – just respond to our e-mail about this.

Please provide as much information as possible as this enhances the quality of the reported data.

You can submit by forwarding information here, or use the online link. Upload file(s) containing event information in any convenient format. Please submit your information by mid-April.

A word from our youth portfolio ambassador – Minister Kganyago

It is my pleasure to recommend SAACI to any business events stakeholder looking to make a meaningful impact in the industry.

ATKV Resorts has been a patron member of SAACI for over four years now and we have not stopped reaping the rewards. As a company we, in recent years, decided to reposition our MICE division and implement a turnaround strategy to compete in the business event space. SAACI has been a critical part of our repositioning strategy, playing a role that helped in strengthening our force to penetrate the MICE market.

We invited SAACI CEO Rudi van der Vyver to our internal strategy planning session. His presence there was of great value, as he was able to paint a holistic picture of the business events industry.

SAACI’s academy courses were offered to our staff members at no additional cost – the courses further empowered our teams and we continue to enjoy access to them and educating more and more team members. The SAACI networking events gave us access to the various industry role players, enabling us to build long lasting connections with other members, contributing to the success of this industry.

One of the key lessons we learned is that, being a patron member of SAACI requires that you actively participate and engage with SAACI in your business endeavours to reap as much value as possible. For example, we enjoy SAACI negotiated prices from registered suppliers. We receive great brand exposure from speaking opportunities at big events, to sponsorship opportunities. The value is endless.

ATKV Resorts confidently encourages any business events role player to become a member of SAACI.

The essential nature of data and statistics

Gillian Saunders

“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.”
Suhail Doshi, CEO: Mixpanel

“By relying on statistical information rather than a gut feeling, you allow the data to lead you to be in the right place at the right time.”

This is according to James O’Shaughnessy, an investor.

He says to remain as emotionally free from the hurly burly of the here and now is one of the only ways to succeed.

Many industries have industry metrics – data that is collected, aggregated and analysed and serves to provide many perspectives on that industry, in aggregate for policy makers, investors and the like. It is also enabling individual players to benchmark against relevant averages and trends and take strategic decisions knowing their context. Having advised operators, investors and governments across the tourism industry for more than 30 years, I cannot over-emphasise the value of good data for decision taking! Whether it’s to develop marketing strategies, in planning, evaluating annual results or preparation of budgets and forecasts, good data is like gold.

For example, key metrics for the airline industry are load factors, available seat kilometres, number of passengers and revenue per passenger kilometre. The car hire industry has fleet size, rental days, revenue per rental day and fleet utilisation, and for hotels, it’s room nights available, occupancy percentage, average daily room rate, and revenue per available room night.

These metrics are demand, capacity utilisation and revenue related. They are often collected and shared monthly either by associations or by government statistical agencies and the data is often further broken down by markets, for example foreign or domestic, leisure or business. Businesses and other stakeholders in these industries rely heavily on the timeous and accurate availability of this data – it becomes their bible.

These industries also have cost and profit metrics, likely to be collated less frequently, perhaps quarterly or annually.

So – what do we have or what could we have in the conference and events industry? In my experience we have very few standard metrics or consistent and timeous industry data. The complexities of flexible room configurations (both seating style and sub-divisible), with plenaries and break-away utilisation, set-up and break-up days, flexible lobby areas and the like do make standardisation challenging.
But this should not stop us and we have to start somewhere. The conference industry needs data like any other industry! Later we can get into more sophisticated standardisation such as how we consistently measure venue capacity – in terms of seats, or per m2 and number of rooms. And then how we measure capacity utilisation. But we can start simply with the number of events by type, by size (delegates, guests, exhibitors and visitors) and duration, coupled with a consistent computation of delegate days, visitor numbers and exhibition stand m2. Add to this at least key revenue lines (as hotels, car hire and airlines do in their basic statistics) then we will start to get a really good picture of our industry.

The SAACI SA Tourism National Convention Bureau research survey is just this – research which will start to show a consistent benchmarkable set of statistics which we will be able to track over time. Let’s all endeavour to complete the questionnaires accurately.

Saunders is an independent Hospitality and Tourism adviser and special advisor to Minister Hanekom.

e-Visas to be introduced this year

E-Visas will be introduced during the course of this year, according to Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

Speaking at the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa summit recently, Hanekom said a pilot is being considered by the Department of Home Affairs, to test introduction. “We are communicating with the Department of Home Affairs to streamline the process, he said.”

Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) Chairperson, Blacky Komani said the department has committed to do a pilot on e-visas in New Zealand.

“By the end of April we should know if we have e-visas or not. It’s a matter that the TBCSA is fighting for and leading. I think we’re making progress.”

The issue of unabridged birth certificates is also receiving attention. Amendments to the unabridged birth certificates late last year were badly communicated by the Department of Home Affairs, and airlines have been confused, as the advisory issued by the department contradicted the revised regulation.

“Tourism and aviation are joined at the hip,” said Hanekom.

“Without tourists, flights are empty, and without flights, tourists cannot come into the country. So the lifting of what industry stakeholders are experiencing as disempowering barriers to tourism is essential.

“With South Africa’s excellent tourism attractions, supported by good road, air and communications infrastructures, there was an urgency to grow the India and China markets. The potential for outbound Chinese tourists is estimated to be 200 million by 2020 (currently at 160 million). If we put shoulders to the wheel and aim to get one-third of one percent of that market, we could nett 600 000 of these tourists.

“e-Visas and beefing up traveller safety require urgent attention to increase our share of this market,” he said.

Calendar of Events

World Travel Market Africa

10 – 12 April 2019
Cape Town International Convention Centre

ICCA Association Meetings Programme

18 – 20 June 2019
Durban International Convention Centre

SAACI Events

Tshwane AGM

3 April 2019

Johannesburg AGM

4 April 2019
The Fairway Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort

KZN Business to Business Expo

11 April 2019
Greyville Convention Centre

Eastern Cape AGM

18 April 2019
Boardwalk Hotel

Western Cape AGM

17 April 2019
Taj Hotel Cape Town

SAACI Annual Congress

28 – 30 July 2019

Southern Sun Hotel Elangeni
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal