SAACI Matters | March 2020

SAACI Matters | March 2020

Coronavirus and the meetings industry

Without being alarmist, SAACI would like to assist members to make informed decisions about the effects that the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak may have on their businesses.

“We encourage members and the business events industry to use our media platforms to share their experiences so that the broader community is aware of the challenges that are unfolding,” says CEO Glenton de Kock.

“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 include ensuring that all policies and procedures that help secure the health and safety of event participants are in place and up to date and maintaining detailed awareness of both local and global actions and restrictions to advise on factors that may affect upcoming events.

“Furthermore, we must cooperate with local and national authorities to implement any measures to impact event attendees and consult with event organisers and service providers any programme

adjustments in response to outbreak-related impacts that can be accommodated. We must also 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.”

Glenton has urged members to demonstrate resilience and confidence by maintaining, where possible, the 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.”

ICCA and SAACI announce extended  partnership

A new partnership agreement between the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and SAACI was announced at Meetings Africa in Johannesburg recently.

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 ICCA’s Association Community and the broad ICCA membership.

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

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.”

Senthil Gopinath, ICCA CEO says: “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.”

Register now for SAACI 2020

The 2020 SAACI annual congress will give delegates up-to-date knowledge to steer and grow their businesses in the current challenging business environment.

Themed ‘Welcome the Unknown’, it will be held at the Indaba Hotel and The Canvas in Johannesburg from 26 to 28 July.

SAACI Chairperson Kim Roberts says this year’s theme encapsulates the current business environment and the approach we should take in business at the start of the new decade.

She says it can no longer be business as usual and that the SAACI congress programme has been designed to give the industry real, practical take- home value.

It has been divided into different studios, namely audience acquisition and engagement, the business of events, event strategy and design, innovation, leadership and lifestyle – each reflecting fresh, current-day thinking and trends.

The Innovation Studio, for instance, will illustrate how to stop planning meetings and start designing experiences. “Engage them before the event, get their emotions going with compelling visuals and tell them stories. Link them in themed experience rooms where they can network. Give them robust, interactive and engaging sessions that they can share afterwards and keep exploring together. And then introduce the tech-driven innovations. It’s time for a deep dive into what’s new, what’s next and what matters in the business events industry,” says Kim.

Well-known marketing guru Leon Lategan, who works as a conversion optimisation specialist and coach and creator of entrepreneurs, will focus on stakeholder engagement with his topic ‘No spectators allowed! It’s time to engage with audiences to share their ideas live.’ He says delegates, especially millennials, want to feel that marketing does not just target a delegate number but what is being offered is worth their investment of money and time.

Yoadan Tilahun of Flawless Events in Ethiopia

Yoadan Tilahun, founder of Flawless Events, the leading corporate event management firm in Ethiopia, will focus on collaboration in Africa, illustrating why the continent is a lucrative market for the business events sector and is becoming the rising star of the international industry.
In the Lifestyle Studio, revered South African cyclist Nicholas Dlamini, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam NTT Pro Cycling, will focus on the importance of a balanced lifestyle for improved cognitive ability, attention and memory, as well as happier moods.

Other confirmed speakers are Isaac Mbatha, CEO of Sky Tents SA and Nomasonto Ndlovu, CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency.


Registration for the SAACI Congress is open – visit The early bird discount applies until 31 March.

RISE project gets jumpstart from Lord Charles

The RISE project’s guesthouse students will soon receive practical training for three months at the iconic NH The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West.

Project RISE, a SAACI initiative, showcases how the diverse community of the industry embraces the common spirit of excellence and shares ideas. The project partners with various organisations and churches to help people who need a basic skill to sustain themselves.

In the last five years more than 250 women have

been trained in various skills like beauty, catering, basic events, baking for profit, fabric art and the like. Many of these women are either employed in the tourism and hospitality industry or have their own

The Rise project students will rotate between different areas in the hotel, providing them with invaluable experience.

More particulars will be announced soon.

Calendar of Events

▶Eastern Cape branch event Amazing Race – Camo for Addo

20 March 2020
Avoca River Cabins

▶ SAACI Annual Congress

26 – 28 July 2020
The Canvas Riversands, & Indaba Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre

Register Here

▶World Travel Market Africa

6 – 8 April 2020
Cape Town International Convention Centre

▶ IBTM World

1 – 3 December 2020
Barcelona, Spain

Welcome to new SAACI members

Fourteen new members have joined SAACI since the beginning of February.

Services Forum
  • Ronnie Steyn and Lynda Bernwieser of Park Travel Pretoria in Tshwane
  • Bokang Ramokoena and Victoria Tlake of Sonaqua Events & Promotions in Bloemfontein
  • Thami Ndlovu of Mfanakithi Gatsheni Trading in Pietermartizburg
  • Sino Nonxuba of Tunimart Pty Ltd in East London
Conference & Events Forum
  • Florence Xulu and Xolani Xulu of Athimthende Development Services in Pietermartizburg
  • Thabo Matlhako and Victoria Franck Clegg of the Aleit Group in Johannesburg
  • Lebo Mutloane and Motheo Modisane of Luzuko Hospitality Solutions in Johannesburg.

SAACI welcomes the new members and believes their membership will be a truly worthwhile experience.