A per­fect MICE get­away

Alpa Jani, Act­ing Hub-Head MEISEA, South African Tourism, elab­o­rates on the suit­able MICE in­cen­tives South Africa as a desti­na­tion of­fers to In­dian MICE groups

Micetalk - - Contents -

Elu­ci­date on the steps to ar­range group Visa for MICE in South Africa?

South Africa fa­cil­i­tates pro­cess­ing for group visas, on a case to case ba­sis, at the visa of­fices in Delhi and Mum­bai. As part of its tie-up with VFS, South Africa of­fers visa pro­cess­ing cen­ters in nine key-mar­ket cities in In­dia, namely, New Delhi, Gur­gaon, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mum­bai, Ahmed­abad, Pune, Goa and Ben­galuru. This is es­pe­cially ben­e­fi­cial for MICE groups as cor­po­rates might have of­fices in mul­ti­ple cities. Visas are pro­cessed in 5-7 work­ing days and par­tic­i­pants need to pro­vide only ba­sic easy-to-ob­tain doc­u­ments re­lated to their travel.

How good is the air-con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween In­dia and South Africa? Which are the flights avail­able? Any new ones added?

De­spite be­ing long-haul, South Africa of­fers con­ve­nience when it comes to ac­ces­si­bil­ity since most trav­ellers choose to fly via Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which of­fer a wide choice of on­ward flights to South Africa. This is es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant for con­fer­ences that come in from mul­ti­ple In­dian cities be­cause most of them are well-con­nected to the Gulf. Over 70 in­ter­na­tional air­lines cur­rently fly into South Africa. Ef­forts are on to in­crease the seat ca­pac­ity on rel­e­vant flight routes ex-In­dia. Presently, In­dian cities are con­nected to South Africa by Emi­rates, Ethiopian Air­lines, Eti­had Air­ways, Air Mau­ri­tius, Air Sey­chelles, and RwandAir which fly via their re­spec­tive hubs and do­mes­tic In­dia con­nec­tions.

South Africa of­fers con­ve­nient ac­ces­si­bil­ity, over 70 in­ter­na­tional air­lines fly here

Which cities, con­ven­tion cen­ters, ho­tels and venues are pop­u­lar with In­di­ans for MICE in South Africa?

The main con­ven­tion cities in South Africa in­clude Dur­ban, Jo­han­nes­burg, Cape Town and East Lon­don. But over the years MICE travel has be­come a multi-faceted in­dus­try in South Africa, which has seen a shift from the con­fines of the sprawl­ing me­trop­o­lis to newer re­gions like Lim­popo prov­ince, Gar­den Route, Sun City, Mpumalanga among oth­ers. With nearly 2000 ho­tels, South Africa of­fers graded ac­com­mo­da­tion (graded by the Tourism Grad­ing Coun­cil of South Africa). South Africa's events in­dus­try is well-es­tab­lished to suit every busi­ness need and bud­get.

The In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre Dur­ban (ICC Dur­ban) has one of the most ad­vanced con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties in the world and the largest in Africa. It caters up to 12, 300 del­e­gates and raked seat­ing for 3880 del­e­gates. It also has op­er­a­ble walls that al­low for venue flex­i­bil­ity. The venue has six halls, three out­door court­yard venues and 25 meet­ing rooms. It not only hosted the United Na­tions con­ven­tion on cli­mate change but has also been de­clared as the venue host for Africa's largest travel & tourism event, IND­ABA for the next five years.

Sim­i­larly, in Cape Town, The Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (CTICC) caters up to 9, 500 del­e­gates in theatre-style seat­ing. It has two big au­di­to­ri­ums which can ac­com­mo­date close to 2000 guests. Apart from meet­ing rooms, CTICC also has the grand ball­room and roof ter­race area over­look­ing the ma­jes­tic Table Moun­tain.

What are avail­able op­tions for post-con­ven­tion en­ter­tain­ment for del­e­gates?

MICE groups love to ex­plore winelands with its mag­nif­i­cent views, splen­did wine farms, and ex­quis­ite Cape Dutch ar­chi­tec­ture. Here meet­ings and cor­po­rate work­shops are com­bined with wine and olive tast­ing, vine­yard tours, horse-back rides, hot air bal­loon­ing, culi­nary tours amongst other ex­cit­ing group ac­tiv­i­ties

SA For­est Ad­ven­tures of­fer unique team build­ing op­tions, some of the most pop­u­lar ones be­ing Quad Bik­ing – Zi­plin­ing – Sand­board­ing group tours, Potjiekos com­pe­ti­tions, etc. Jo­han­nes­burg is known for its in­cred­i­ble nightlife. From the funky clubs and pubs of Soweto to the laid-back jazzy groove of New­town and the stylish venues of the north­ern suburbs caters for all tastes

Del­e­gates can choose to float high above the ground while Hot Air Bal­loon­ing to take in the land­scapes of this beau­ti­ful coun­try Tak­ing the ca­ble car up to the top of Table Moun­tain for a bird's eye-view of the city. Out­door and ad­ven­ture en­thu­si­asts can even hike up to the top

Op­tions are avail­able for MICE groups to take to the skies for the ride of their lives at var­i­ous drop zones like Mother City Sky­Div­ing, Pre­to­ria Sky­div­ing Club, SkyDive Rusten­burg and Dur­ban Sky­div­ing Club

One can also view the African Pen­guins at any of the mes­meris­ing lo­ca­tions of choice Boul­ders Beach, Dyer Is­land, Betty's Bay, Port Eliz­a­beth or Robben Is­land

If look­ing to so­cialise with col­leagues, V & A Water­front is the place to be. It makes for an al­len­com­pass­ing en­ter­tain­ment venue with pubs, restau­rants, jazz lounges and clubs abound. Head to Shimmy Beach Club for the ul­ti­mate Beach Club ex­pe­ri­ence or Asoka to while away the whole evening over tapas and wine – trav­ellers are sure to be spoiled for choice.

In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre Dur­ban has one of the most ad­vanced con­fer­ence fa­cil­i­ties

How many MICE trav­ellers vis­ited South Africa from In­dia in 2017? Kindly share fig­ures. What mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives have you taken to in­crease num­bers?

As of Oc­to­ber 2016, South Africa had 81,429 ar­rivals with MICE mak­ing up for 43 per cent of the to­tal ar­rivals. In terms of MICE from In­dia, in­cen­tive led travel dom­i­nates, at ap­prox­i­mately 80 per cent.

A num­ber of new pol­icy ini­tia­tives aimed at ex­pand­ing the MICE seg­ment in re­cent years have been in­tro­duced and en­forced to this ef­fect. In 2012, South Africa Na­tional Con­ven­tions Bureau (SANCB), an en­tity fo­cused solely on the pro­mo­tion of MICE travel was in­tro­duced. SANCB's In­dia of­fice brings a sim­i­lar fo­cus and ef­fort to sup­port and boost MICE of­fer­ings in In­dia, with a range of ser­vices such as bid sup­port, desti­na­tion ex­per­tise, build­ing at­ten­dance, con­ven­tion plan­ning sup­port, on­site event ser­vices, pre & post meet­ing itin­er­ates. Ad­di­tion­ally our an­nual prop­er­ties – Road­show and Learn South Africa, help bring to­gether travel agents and ho­tels and ser­vice providers in the MICE seg­ment.

Alpa Jani

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