Corona Virus | Member Communication

Corona Virus | Member Communication

Dear SAACI Member

Without being alarmist, SAACI would like to assist you to make informed decisions about the effects that the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak may have on the meetings industry. We encourage the industry to be prudent in these challenging times, but to also share positive messages where possible.

We further encourage members and the business events industry to use our media platforms in sharing their experiences so that the broader community is aware of the challenges that are unfolding.

We emphasise that no person infected with the virus has been reported in South Africa, but as we are in the people-industry, we urge all members to be vigilant and prepared.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China with more than 2 700 deaths now reported in that country and over 78 000 cases being confirmed.  More than 2 900 cases have been confirmed in 27 countries outside China, with 43 deaths confirmed.  

We have been monitoring the public health situation and follow updates from the World Health Organization and the South African Ministry of Health.

From a business perspective, SAACI, together with the International Congress and Convention Association, the Joint Meetings Industry Council and 19 international meetings industry associations, encourage all industry members to support measures to restore and build confidence in event participation.  These are:  

  • Ensure that all policies and procedures that help secure the health and safety of event participants are in place and up to date, 
  • Maintain detailed awareness of both local and global actions and restrictions to advise on factors that may affect upcoming events, 
  • Cooperate with local and national authorities to implement any measures that have been determined to potentially impact event attendees, and  
  • Consult with event organisers and service providers any programme adjustments in response to outbreak-related impacts that can be accommodated.
  • Continue to support awareness of the essential role of meetings, conventions, exhibitions and business events as drivers of recovery and advancement of global economic and societal development. 


Let us demonstrate resilience and confidence by maintaining, where possible, our ongoing schedule of activities.  Where it is not possible, let us work together to develop alternatives to exchange information and insights.  And let us ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to ensure the safety and well-being of staff, delegates and the broader community.


About the virus itself:

Reported epidemiological trends in the outbreak and clinical presentation and outcomes are –

  • Acute respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Many asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases are likely.
  • Among severe cases, mortality approaches 20 percent, but among all diagnosed cases, mortality is around two percent, and the
  • Mortality is higher in elderly people.


Disease spread within population

  • Droplet transmission from symptomatic persons – usually to persons within a 1 to 2m radius for longer time durations, for example, household, or work colleagues.


Prevention of infection

  • Hand hygiene, contact precautions – gloves and masks.
  • Early awareness and containment of symptomatic persons.

For someone to be confirmed positive they would need to have flu-like symptoms (mild to severe respiratory illness with a sudden onset of fever, cough, difficulty breathing and a sore throat).  They also need to have a travel history to an area where the virus has been confirmed or had come into contact with a person who has the virus. South Africa is following international protocol and has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors. We urge people to follow their normal route to access health service through their local health facility.


What are the important steps to follow when experiencing flu symptoms?

  • Follow normal practice – visit a health facility and report specific details (travel overseas or potential exposure).
  • The healthcare practitioner will determine whether tests are required and consult with provincial authorities and notify the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
  • If the patient fits the case definition they will either be isolated, or requested to self-isolate at home.
  • Tests are confirmed within 24-48 hours and the patient will be notified.
  • If positive, patients will be monitored closely, isolated and treated supportively. This may also involve self-isolation at home (with no contact with outside people).
  • If negative, the patient needs to continue medical treatment as prescribed by the health practitioner.
  • If positive, family, friends, colleagues and other contacts will be followed up for contact tracing (monitoring for symptoms).


What can you do to help?

  • Follow normal preventative health hygiene practice (hand washing, coughing etiquette) to keep healthy.
  • Seek medical help when experiencing flu symptoms.
  • Disclose history and exposure.
  • Co-operate with isolation and quarantine advisories.
  • Co-operate with contact tracing instructions (temperature checks and follow up communication).
  • Do not share fake news. Share information responsibly.
  • Check and share information from official health channels or the World Health Organization on Get information from these sites and verify any messages against this information.



ICCA and SAACI Announce Extended Partnership

ICCA and SAACI Announce Extended Partnership

ICCA and SAACI Announce Extended Partnership

A new partnership agreement between the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) was announced at Meetings Africa 2020 in Johannesburg.

 This partnership allows for strategic collaboration and will mutually benefit both associations through exchanging information, creating awareness through affiliation and working together to create new education and training opportunities for the benefit of the business events industry in Africa.

 It is part of ICCA’s programme for strategic collaboration with organisations that have a clear interest in developing long-term business relations with its Association Community and the broad ICCA membership.

 Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO says:  “ICCA has been developing the international meetings industry in Africa extensively through the active participation of its members and association community.  The African meetings industry is very keen on building the knowledge economy and as the global meetings industry association we make every effort to support the African meetings industry and its objective to also achieve societal development through meetings.  ICCA has been stressing the importance of collaboration amongst the African meetings industry and initiating joint efforts with SAACI to achieve such objectives.  I would like to thank SAACI for its support over the years and am delighted to welcome this extended collaboration between ICCA and SAACI.  I am convinced it will help grow ICCA’s supplier and association community in the African region.”

 Kim Roberts, SAACI National Chairperson says:  “We are extremely pleased to conclude this partnership for both SAACI and ICCA.  It is important for SAACI to work with ICCA in the drive of knowledge sharing that makes this partnership so relevant and important for the business events industry in Africa.  We are looking forward to the exchange of critical information on events held across the continent, which will aid the bidding process for future events, such as contacts, budgets and the decision-making process.  This will start an aggressive process on how we want to increase business events and association meetings in Africa.”

 Glenton de Kock, SAACI CEO says:  “The work between SAACI and our continental partners is to develop markets and drive association business events to destination Africa.  A number of our members are active on the continent and this initiative complements our view of the market and the way we wish to drive partnerships and collaboration in building a strong, sustainable business events industry for our continent.”


Caption: From left to right – Glenton de Kock, SAACI CEO, Esmare Steinhofel, ICCA’s Regional Director: Africa and Kim Roberts, National Chairperson of SAACI. 

Business Traveler Africa | ED’S LETTER

Business Traveler Africa | ED’S LETTER

The original thinking behind the launch of the Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards event in 2012 was that the South African business travel industry didn’t have anything like it. Further to that, as the publishers of Business Traveller Africa magazine, Future Group wanted another platform on which to engage with its clients and the broader industry as a whole.

We also wanted to grow the event, year on year, and we’re incredibly proud to have done that between 2012 and 2017, settling on a breakfast format that worked, evolving our voting procedure, strengthening the morning’s content, and generally laying on an event that we believe was of great value to the South African business travel community.

Sadly, the South African media and events industry is not immune to the challenges presented by an economy struggling for growth, and, as a result, 2018 and 2019 did not see a Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards event.

However, that didn’t mean we couldn’t honour those brands and entities that performed with distinction in those years. As such, we employed the same voting procedure and just decided to announce the winners in our publication.

At its core, the Business Traveller Africa Awards must have a robust and independent research mechanism to ensure its credibility, and we’re grateful to our partners the Association of Southern African Travel Agents ASATA , the African Business Travel Association ABTA , the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry SAACI , and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association SATSA for adding their weight and support to the voting process by enlisting their members to vote and produce the winners in each category, supplementing the votes garnered from the broader South African business travel community via Business Traveller Africa magazine’s communication channels. Here’s wishing you a prosperous 2020. Dylan Rogers Editor

Tourism Ambassador | Press Release



28 MAY 2019


In line with its focused approach to continue supporting tourism growth in Johannesburg, the Department of Economic Development: Tourism directorate launched its Tourism Ambassador Programme at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, on Tuesday, 28 May 2019.   

“In terms of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy [GDS], the Joburg 2040 – tourism remains an economic growth imperative on the city’s agenda,” says Cllr Leah Knott, MMC for the City’s Department of Economic Development. “In line with the prioritisation of achieving increased visitor arrivals in the city and contributing towards the economic growth target of 5% by 2021, Joburg Tourism has seeks ways to facilitate the tourism experience at sites and attractions in the City, rendering them safe, pleasant, informative and memorable”.

 “The Tourism Ambassador Programme envisages making Johannesburg a safer destination, leading to an increased number of tourists visiting the City for both leisure and business.

Cllr Michael Sun, MMC for Public Safety, is thrilled to be collaborating with the Joburg Tourism on the Tourism Ambassador Programme to create visibility at tourism sites and attractions.  “This is a proactive initiative which is set to reduce the number of security incidents affecting tourists and residents. Secondly, the ambassadors will assist in providing tourism information to tourists and visitors.”   

With elements of linking ambassadors with visible policing and safety to deliver pleasant tourism experiences, the programme is also geared to create Johannesburg tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable about attractions and their key selling points.

The programme will enhance tourism safety in identified tourism nodes and create 60 direct job opportunities. This will improve on opportunities created in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme [EPWP]. Gauteng Tourism Authority is implementing a similar programme on behalf of the National Department of Tourism; however, due to the limited number of monitors allocated, safety concerns are not being adequately addressed.

“We are thrilled that this Mayoral Service delivery initiative is also addressing the issue of reducing unemployment, as 60 unemployed Johannesburg youth with a minimum of matric qualifications have been selected to participate,” says Knott. “Selected from applicants in the Department of Public Safety’s unemployed youth database, the team of youngsters will be trained and thereafter deployed for a period of three years, receiving a stipend in line with the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) during this time.” 

Prior to their deployment, the team of 60 ambassadors will be trained in the following key aspects related to their role:

  • Tourism information, geo-locating tourism sites and tourist site guidance
  • Service excellence and customer care
  • Communication skills and conflict management
  • By-law education and awareness on issues such as public roads, street trading etc.
  • Road Safety
  • Community Patrolling 


Safety and Security in the City of Johannesburg

 As local government, the City via the Department of Public Safety takes direct responsibility for issues of safety and security – and is assisting the SA Police Services (SAPS) in its efforts to reduce crime and improve safety in Joburg. The Department of Public Safety is comprised of four sub-elements to ensure safety and security in the City: Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), Emergency Management Services (EMS), the Disaster Management Directorate and the Licensing Directorate.

The City’s effort to ensure safety and security is based on the integrated multi-agency Joburg City Safety Strategy (JCSS), revised in 2017, which embraces crime prevention through environmental design, as well as urban management and monitoring service delivery. The JCSS was developed in an effort to collectively improve safety in our city with all city stakeholders, in order to achieve caring, safe and secure communities as envisaged by the City’s long term plans.

The City has invested in substantial CCTV infrastructure in the Inner City, monitored from the Integrated Intelligent Operations Centre (IIOC), located at the Department of Public Safety’s Martindale Headquarters. This provides surveillance of public space for crime prevention, as well as valuable assistance for urban management, traffic management and service delivery breakdowns. The IIOC is linked to a dedicated reaction unit of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police, to enable rapid intervention to incidents detected in the Inner City – further complementing the integrated safety and security plan, based on visible policing and by-law enforcement.

Collaboration with both national and provincial authorities, as well as the private sector and communities, is bearing fruit, as all stakeholders work together towards a safer Joburg and South Africa.

The Department of Public Safety also engages businesses across the City, many who have also formed close partnerships with the various law enforcement agencies at a local level. These have resulted in successful projects such as business-sponsored resources such as vehicles, which enable improved visible policing in business nodes around the City.

The City is also focusing its efforts on improving its planning and response with regard to emergency incidents and ensuring that there is a robust and constant focus on updating its disaster risk management plan. This is done through the complementary work undertaken by Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the Disaster Management Directorate.

The City’s EMS trains communities as part of the education programme to ensure effective response to emergency incidents. These are known as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and are on the frontline of the City’s initiatives to minimise the impact of emergency incidents on communities. Technology deployment by the Disaster Management Directorate, such as its automated weather stations across the City, linked to the Public Safety IIOC, enable rapid detection of adverse weather, and ensures both warnings to communities, as well appropriate dispatch of resources to impacted communities.

The work undertaken by Joburg as a host city for FIFA World Cup 2010 set up an important benchmark and enabled a blueprint for joint planning between the City’s safety and security, health and transport units for major events post 2010. This Events Joint Operations Committee (JOC) is the starting point for the hosting of any event in the City, ensuring the safety and security of both attendees to events, as well as residents of areas surrounding it. The City of Joburg regularly plays host to major events varying from sport and entertainment, to major international conferences such as the BRICS Summit hosted in Sandton in 2018. This depth of knowledge and experience has made the City of Joburg an important centre of learning for other municipalities and the Department of Public Safety regularly hosts delegations who wish to access and apply our practices.





Question: What is the background to the Launch of the Joburg Tourism Ambassador Programme?


Answer: Project Background


  • As prescribed in the Municipal Systems Act of 2000, the City of Johannesburg is responsible economic development, which includes the promotion of tourism.  In addition to this primary role, the City has been mandated to attract investment towards achieving 5% economic growth that will reduce unemployment by 2021. This major responsibility entails the creation of sustainable jobs, skills development and increasing growth of the local economy
  • The City intends to stimulate confidence in key role players within the tourism and hospitality industry by training and placing Tourism Ambassadors at key tourism attractions to ensure tourism safety in the City.
  • The main aim of having Tourism Ambassador Programme is primarily to create visibility in tourism attractions and to proactively reduce the number of criminal incidents targeting tourists visiting the City.  Furthermore, these ambassadors will assist in providing tourism information to tourists.  The Programme envisages making Johannesburg a safer destination for tourists and visitors, leading to an increased number of tourists visiting the City for both leisure and business.


Question: Where and How Will the Programme Be Rolled Out?


  • Through the Tourism Directorate, the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development has provisionally identified the tourism hotspots where Tourism Ambassadors will be placed. The Department of Economic Development will be working together with CoJ’s Department of Public Safety in recruiting the 60 Johannesburg-based youth to participate in the programme, as well as providing training prior to being deployed.  A number of 60 participants will be identified within the Johannesburg Municipality wards and interviewed and the Programme will run for three (3) years.


Question: What Are the Primary Objectives of the Tourism Ambassador Programme?


  • To create jobs for 60 unemployed youth with matric minimum qualifications and / or above qualifications, residing in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipal area.
  • To create visibility in tourism attractions.
  • To stimulate confidence to key role players within the tourism and hospitality industry.
  • To stimulate conditions for accelerated and sustainable employment opportunities in the City.


Question:  How will the Programme be Managed and Driven?


  • The Tourism Ambassador Programme will be driven through three key strategic initiatives, i.e.  strategic partnership and stakeholder involvement, skills development and placement of candidates at the tourism attractions.
  • Candidates will be placed at the key tourism attraction sites within the City of Johannesburg Municipality.  The City will maintain continuous engagement with the tourism industry stakeholders where the candidates will be placed.
  • Reporting will be to the VIC’s (Visitor Information Centres) for monitoring with on-site supervisors.


Question: How Does the Candidate Recruitment Strategy Work?




  • The Programme has given priority to the youth residing in Johannesburg.  The management understands that, there are many people in the communities of Johannesburg that are trained, skilled and could serve the industry with dedication if provided with the opportunity.


    Who was recruited?


Candidates meeting the following requirements:


  • Minimum qualification: Matric
  • Registered in Public Safety Database (for unemployed youth)
  • Physically fit
  • Locality (youth residing in or near the affected tourism sites will be considered – no or limited transport costs)
  • Preparedness to work abnormal hours including weekends and holidays.
  • Be able to communicate in English and two African language
  • No criminal record
  • South African youth 18 – 35 years
  • Johannesburg resident (Proof of residence will be required)
  • Preference will be given to first time intern, no parallel and / or drop out
  • Relevant qualifications and certified copies will be required


How were they be recruited?


Direct recruitment of candidates through Public Safety unemployed youth database


Interview Process


  • CVs dropped off at a central point.
  • CV’s accompanied by certified copies (Matric certificate, Identity document, Affidavit confirming the proof of residence and that the candidate is unemployed).
  • Interview panel comprised personnel from HR, DED Skills development, Tourism and JMPD


Interview Venue


Museum Africa, a centrally-located venue owned by the Municipality.


Question:  Who are the Key Project Stakeholders and What are Their Roles?




Table 1: Key project stakeholders






CSSHR services

CoJ EPWPLocal Hospitality & Tourism players & Associations

 CoJ Public Safety








Economic growth stimulus


Imperative to empower employees and non-employed



Reporting and administrator of EPWP in the City of Joburg




Custodians of industry operational knowledge and owners / managers of tourist sites


Building a safer City




Create employment opportunities


Recruit  unemployed youth


To spend funding on job creation projects


Safe environment to operate successfully


A way of engaging





Funding and Industry partnerships


Placements opportunities


Administration of EPWP project


On the job training and practical experience



Visible impact of delivery for services that contributes to a safe environment





Accelerated economic growth rate & reduce unemployment


Skilled human resources complement


Employment creation, youth and women


Safe environment &

Increase profit margins


A safe City.

Community and social development




Question: What is the Management Structure of the Programme?






Project Champion




The City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development is, via the Joburg Tourism Directorate, the project champion responsible for designing the programme, facilitating its design and development, as well as the enrolment of key stakeholders and reporting. The Expanded Public Works Programme Unit is a key internal stakeholder, as it will advise Joburg Tourism on meeting the reporting requirements of the EPWP policies. A full project organizational structure of the programme is laid out in the diagram in Figure 1.




Tourism Ambassador Programme Organizational Structure


Roles, functions and responsibilities


Department of Economic Development (DED):




Joburg Tourism:


  • Project owner
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Arrange and chair steering committee meetings
  • Prepare monthly report on the Programme
  • Funding of the project
  • Day to day Programme management
  • Manage relationships with all stakeholders
  • Recruitment & Interviews
  • Manage leave and absenteeism
  • Facilitate training
  • Purchase of uniforms
  • Managing terms and conditions of ambassadors’ employment
  • Launching of the programme




Public Safety (JMPD & EMS):


  • Custodians of the unemployed youth database
  • Participate in steering committee meetings
  • Interviews
  • Training




Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP):


  • Sign the employment contracts with the ambassadors
  • Collate and record monthly attendance registers
  • Participate in steering committee meetings
  • Report on the City’s EPWP performance




Human Resources:


  • Record ambassadors on the pay roll system
  • Manage leave and absenteeism
  • Participate in steering committee meetings
  • Process monthly payment of stipends






Johannesburg Tourist Attractions:


Attractions constitute a critical element for the success of this programme because they provide the following opportunities:




  • Offer ambassadors a workplace in order to apply knowledge and gain practical experience and
  • Report ambassador’s performance to the Programme Manager




Tourism Ambassadors:


  • The role of ambassadors is to ensure that they are always at their workstations on time.
  • They must ensure a safe environment for the tourists and visitors and provide accurate information.


  • They also have to ensure that they work hard in order to lure industry employers to retain them on a full time employment basis at the end of the programme.






Question: What is the Budget for the Tourism Ambassador Programme?






The following project budget is based on 60 candidates. Industry costing norms which include:


  • R3300 per month internship stipend inclusive of UIF
  • R5000 per month all inclusive for supervisors
  • R4770 per person safety uniform
  • Total budget for the project is R1 320,000.00 including VAT






Question:  What Does The Skills Development and Training Programme Comprise?




Training Components:


  • JMPD:


  • By-Law Education and Awareness on issue such as Public Roads, Street trading etc.
  • Road Safety
  • Community Patrolling


  • EMS:
    • First Aid
    • By-laws
    • Workplace readiness


  • Tourism:


    • Tourism information
    • Tourist site guiding
    • Service excellence
    • Customer services
    • Communication skills
    • Geo locating of tourism sites




Proposed Training Plan:







Type of Training


Modules to be CovereD




June 2019


Theory Training


·        JMPD & EMS: First Aid, Road Safety.

·        Tourism: Tourism information, Communication skills.


5 days



October 2019


Theory Training

·        Conflict management,

·        By-law education and awareness;

·        Customer services;

·        Geo locating tourism sites.


5 days



April 2020


Theory Training

·        Geo locating tourism sites;

·        Community patrolling;

·        Tourist site guiding;

·        Service excellence.






Question: How will the Tourism Ambassador Programme Be Monitored and Controlled?




  • The Department of Economic Development (CoJ) will champion the programme through the Joburg Tourism directorate and will appoint supervisors who will manage the day to day running of the programme and report through the Visitor Services Bureau (VSB). The directorate will also set up a project steering committee comprising involved internal and external stakeholders. The Joburg Tourism directorate will report on a monthly basis on all issues pertaining to the project to EPWP and other relevant committees within the City of Johannesburg.




Question:       When and where will the students be placed?




  • Placement of the Tourism Ambassadors will commence in July 2019, once the first set of basic training has been completed.




  • The following city tourism hotspots have been identified in consultation with stakeholders and private business structures such as City Improvement District(s), Tourism Associations, and the Joburg Business Forum Tourism Sub-Committee,  to mention a few:


  1. Carlton Centre
  2. Gautrain Station – Park Station
  3. Red Bus – Bus Stop at Wolmarans Street
  4. Gold Reef City
  5. Sandton


  • Berman Contemporary Art Gallery and Sanlam Art Lounge – Alice Lane Precinct
  • Nelson Mandela Square
  • Mushroom Farm Park
  • Auto & General theatre On the Square
  • Sandton Convention Centre
  • African Market on Maude Street
  • Sandton City
  • Radisson Hotel, Gautrain
  • Radisson Hotel, Sandton
  • Hilton Hotel, Sandton
  • The Maslow Hotel, Sandton
  • Sandton Sun Hotel, Convention Centre
  • Garden Court


  1. FNB Stadium
  2. Kliptown Square
  3. Mining District
  4. Origins Centre
  5. Standard Bank Gallery
  6. Chancellor House
  7. Gandhi Square
  8. Hector Pieterson Museum
  9. Zoo Lake
  10. Johannesburg Zoo
  11. Kwa Mai-Mai Market
  12. Museum Africa
  13. Park Station
  14. Joburg Theatre
  15. Alexandra Attractions
  16. Wemmerpan / Transport Museum