Conference and Incentive Travel
Conference and incentive travel is on the rise, by all accounts, and we think it is accurate to say that South Africa is a superb conference and incentive destination. It is equally true that South Africa stands amongst few as one of the finest ecotourism destinations.
Here are a couple of terms that we often find ourselves using when promoting conferences and incentives in the ecotourism sector;
Eco-conference – A conference held in the outdoors or from a rural location. Not a conference about ecology and the like.
Eco-incentive – An incentive held in the outdoors or from a rural location. Not a government rebate on energy saving.
In mainstream hospitality, there is little distinction between the conference market and the incentive market, either can be accommodated in fairly large numbers.Almost all establishments remain within the confines of the ‘known and done’ (tried and tested). Traditionally, the list of incentive options has provided every possible variation within the limitations of the ‘known and done’ establishments. These could include; bush dinners, boma dinners, dining room dinners, pool-deck dinners, garden dinners etc. and the list is almost endless.
Conference and specifically incentive travel client briefs send organizers scurrying across the country in search of the impossible to fulfill all of the requirements of a brief. This is because the brief inevitably starts with;
‘we need to do something really different this year’.
And when you, the person tasked with executing this brief, has presented every country to which an airline flies. You may have stopped just short of becoming irritated towards the establishments’ sales staff as they start attaching their list of stunning incentive ideas – the first 5 pages of which, are variations of chicken or beef.
We could carry on, and run the risk of giving you an aneurysm. Instead we’ll get to the point, and say that we really can offer you an incentive or conference that is different. We can get you into an environment that, possibly, niether you nor anyone attending has ever been to.
Finding conference venues in South Africa is a bit like searching for cars on auto trader, you will find many. And they would be 10m wide and 20m deep and have wifi, flip charts, data projectors, surround sound etc. And an address, yes an address, and that would be the single most significant difference between a conference venue and a wilderness conference venue.
Not even Wikipedia lists a ‘conference venue’, you will find a conference hall, and many other similar search terms, but something which is more than just a room can’t be found. Is that because like most of us, they too have not stopped to get out of the box.
It is conceivable that science and technology may well have eclipsed our ability to in fact confer. It is almost no longer possible to talk without the aid of sound, lighting, vivid power point and other digital visuals. More often than not the message finds itself relegated off the podium making way for technological aids, and often the success of a presentation or conference is judged on our use of these aids. When last did someone in your organization stand before your colleagues and engage them, using the ‘ancient’ art of talking? where modern presentation tools are replaced with eye contact. Is this a bridge too far, or does this present an opportunity to return to the outdoors? The concept of eco-conferences will hopefully entice you to consider an alternative. And allow you the unique opportunity to select your own venue, or we can suggest a location or two, and then allow mother nature, herself, to provide you with sound, lighting, and visual aids that are beyond compare.
South Africa is characterized by spectacular diversity in its fauna and flora, and it remains a great pity that the most magnificent of these locations are never seen by the vast majority of visitors, both international and domestic travelers. This is in part due to the fact that there is seldom any accommodation to speak of, let alone accommodation for groups, and the reason for this, is largely the restrictions on formal hospitality development.
Luxury tented camps are extremely ‘light’ on the environment, and as a result are able to be established in these areas, well at least those who have demonstrated an affinity for the environment through their operational practices which ensure that sites are not overly disturbed and are not contaminated in any way before, during and after the camp.
It is always important to remember that a luxury camp, which is temporary in nature is not an alternative to conventional accommodation, but rather a solution which enables guests to immerse themselves in scenic locations. It is an experience which should not be defined by the floor area under canvas, but rather by everything else.
One of the most popular destinations for incentive groups is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and there are a number of reasons why this reserve is so attractive;
The reserve is within 2,5 hours drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg)
The size of the site permits camps which can accommodate in excess of 200 guests.
There are multitude of activities in and around the reserve which are ideal for safari guests, which include game drives, hot air ballooning, the Sun City complex, not to mention the list of ‘in camp’ activities.
Drop us a line and lets start creating a wild card option for you, and make your next conference or incentive travel experience different.