Amos ‘Fish’ Mahlalela, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, noted in his Budget Vote address (May 19) that the ministry was moving to implement the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan to put a dent in the pandemic-induced 70% loss of arrivals and earnings for South Africa.
Among others, objectives outlined included a focus on growing domestic travel, prioritising the MICE industry, growing local SMMEs, and job creation.
In response, Helen Brewer, founder of The MICE Academy, commented:
“The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan is commendable especially in regard to the maintenance programme together with skills development and a re-focusing on the grading system.
“The Deputy Minister of Tourism made mention of the MICE industry with regard to rotational city/town annual association conferences by holding their smaller meetings in smaller South African towns to build-up momentum to an Association's annual conference in a different major centre each year. Planning an annual association conference in one major city is usually dependent on the concentration of their members residing in that specific area.
“In-person conferences are invaluable for effective communications yet rotational logistics coupled with travel, accommodation, time et al adds to the conference expense by both delegate and member association. Unless discussions for special rates can be confirmed at least two years in advance for an association conference to rotate amongst South Africa's major centres - it is unlikely this suggestion will prove popular. A word to the wise: the more moving parts in the MICE planning process - the more likely the glitches.”