5 MICE Trends for 2017 - South Africa ticks all the boxes!

9th Aug, 2018
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For 2017, research shows that MICE organisers are looking for more active teambuilding, exciting culinary experiences, non-traditional meeting spaces, destinations with a sense of urgency and short-stay incentives.

The World Tourism Organisation’s Global Report on the Meetings Industry sums it up beautifully: “New generations don’t want ‘standard’ events; they are tired of the traditional model and want to co-create the content, to engage with more networking and more interactivity. They want to feel part of the event, not a mere spectator. New formats and concepts are growing and these are affecting venues and organizers in a way they haven’t seen before.

SW Africa’s Henk Graaff tells us why South Africa ticks all the boxes on the MICE list for 2017.

  • Active Team Building

According to Destination Hotels’ ‘State of the Meetings Industry’ survey, active teambuilding will be high on the agenda for 2017. As more Millennials are becoming meeting attendees, planners are looking for more exciting options.

The mark of a good team building event is one that takes participants out of their comfort zones and provides them with the ultimate ‘wow’ factor. Says Graaff: “When delegates do something active or adventurous together, it creates a great feeling of achievement.

Graaff explains there are numerous options for delegates looking for active teambuilding in South Africa. He says: “Planners can opt for a powerboat excursion around seal island in Cape Town, participate on a shark-cage diving experience in Kwa Zulu Natal, or embark upon a hands-on conservation safari in a Northern Cape private game reserve. These kind of activities really give delegates the feeling that they’ve experienced something extraordinary with their colleagues.

  • Destinations with a sense of urgency

Travellers today increasingly want to explore destinations with a sense of urgency – destinations that are changing rapidly or could be disappearing soon.

MICE delegates are increasingly aware of the plight of the African wildlife, says Graaff. He explains that even today, the human race has encroached already upon its surroundings to such an extent that wild animal populations are  increasingly being managed in parks and conservation areas, and do not always truly roam freely anymore.

Graaff explains that a meaningful way to experience South Africa’s wildlife is by embarking upon a conservation safari. He says: “Delegates will learn all about and actually participate in the management of wildlife, from relocations to darting, to vaccinations and tagging.

This kind of experience gives delegates an authentic overview of what wildlife management is all about. He says: “The reality is that habitats and numbers of different species in most modern day game parks are very closely managed and professional wildlife management ensures the future existence of these species for generations to come.”

  • Culinary Experiences

Let’s face it: the food that delegates enjoy at an event will affect how they feel. Food is a cultural experience and delegates want to embrace this. According to research conducted by the International Association for Conference Centres (IACC), showcasing local cuisine at conferences is a major trend.

Graaff explains that Cape Town is the ideal location for a culinary experience with a great number of authentic eateries. Of course, the Cape Winelands also offer delegates a unique culinary adventure. Other than wonderful restaurants to choose from there are also some of South Africa’s leading wine estates in the Franschhoek valley.

At Prince Albert in the Great Karoo, delegates can enjoy a full day cooking course together with the head chef at a cooking school, where they will have the opportunity to enjoy a wide choice of cooking themes and specialised activities.

  • Non-traditional meeting spaces

In 2017, planners are looking for meeting, conferencing and networking spaces that are different. They are experimenting with space and are open to hold their events, talks, workshops and networking sessions around a campfire, on a mountain trail or in the middle of the African savannah.

Graaff explains SW Africa can set up mobile safari camps and meeting rooms exclusively for their incentive groups in the middle of the African wilderness. Away from the noise and pollution of the big city, delegates will experience the most rewarding soul searching amidst the wildlife and the beauty of Africa’s landscapes, fauna and flora. Go to sleep under the stars and wake up to the gentle sounds of nature surrounding you…

  • Short-stay incentives

Budgets continue to remain tight in 2017 and time a scarce commodity, making short-stay incentive trips a popular option.

Southern Africa is the ideal destination for a short-stay incentive trip from Europe, according to Graaff. He explains that from Europe, delegates can take a night flight to and from Southern Africa, allowing them to spend as little three nights at their destination.

The secret to a successful short-stay incentive, says Graaff, is to not include too many different destinations. “It’s important to stay put in one place and focus on just one area/destination and not try and see the whole country or region in such a short stay.

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