By Irene Costa, editor of Business Events Africa
The monetary value of incentive travel business, insights into social media and a look at how “African” South Africans are, were some of the hot topics at the third Site Southern Africa Summit recently held at the Radisson Blue Gautrain Hotel in Johannesburg. The event was well attended and the content was thought- provoking.
Guest speaker Victor Kgomoswana, author and radio presenter and a specialist on Regional Africa, gave delegates food for thought. His direct approach challenged everyone in the audience to think about how “African” we really are. His main point is that we, South Africans, need to realise we are part of Africa.
He emphasised South Africans need to change the way we view Africa, but this can only be done by exploring other African countries. Mr Kgomoswana concluded by saying: “Africa is open to business. My question is: Is your mind open to do business in Africa? Be African here.”
Daryl Keywood, Walthers DBS and Site International board member for Africa and Middle East, recently got his Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) qualification. Mr Keywood spoke on incentive travel as something special when done properly. He said the incentive business in the US is worth $77-billion.
“The US is strong in ‘traditional’ incentive sectors like automotive; automotive parts; finance and insurance; medical and pharmaceutical and direct selling organisations.
He said markets that are growing include information technology (service providers) and telecommunications.
“More clients are doing various parts of the incentives themselves, like booking hotels and airlines, so the puzzle is changing. We have to divide the pie. We are living in a dynamic world. Good news is budgets are up.
“With the state of our currency, South Africa should be thriving, but we do have some stumbling blocks like the new visa regulations,” he said.
On a positive, he announced Rwanda has joined as a member of Site Southern Africa.
Debbie Ghillino, incentive strategist at Uwin Iwin, spoke on the benefits of incentive programmes.
Francois Muscat, from WSI, delved into the social media realm and gave delegates indepth tips of how to better make use of social media. His presentation gave delegates some great social media application ideas. His focus was mostly on LinkedIn.
Again, this year, the Site Summit had a speed networking refreshment break. This is very productive as delegates got to meet almost everyone at the event.
The event finished off with a thriving panel discussion on the future of incentives.
In summary, the panel of experts including David Sand, Uwin Iwin; Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, South Africa National Convention Bureau; Carole O’Connor, Rovos Rail; and Dalene Oroni, Cruises International; all agreed that there is great potential in incentives.