The numbers speak a thousand words and are quite impressive: a total of 62 international meetings took place in Cape Town in 2016, with an additional 12 international association meetings taking place in Stellenbosch.
Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the head Official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, explained the success of Cape Town as a business destination by saying: “The Western Cape offers a captivating, dynamic product and service offering as well as unwavering professionalism that make it a top destination to meet and do business.”
Henk Graaff, MD of SW Africa, is not surprised that Cape Town received this accolade as a business tourism destination. He says: “In 2017, personalised experiences and non-traditional meeting spaces were amongst the top trends predicted for the MICE sphere, and Cape Town ticks all these boxes. We can count ourselves lucky that Cape Town never fails to present us with opportunities to exceed the expectation of business travellers around the world.
Graaff explains Cape Town is without a doubt a superior incentive destination, offering not only superb meeting and events venues, but also adventure, culture and top-class food experiences. The city offers everything from pristine beaches, to globally renowned winelands, award-winning restaurants and a unique history and heritage.
Cape Town is also at the forefront when it comes to technological advancement in the meeting and incentive sphere, says Graaff. The city boasts quite a few world-class multi-purpose venues, and is home to the country’s first virtual reality community, the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi).
Here are a few unique experiences delegates can expect on a MICE trip to Cape Town, according to Graaff:
1. Culinary experiences
Cape Town’s majestic winelands are a big draw for tourists worldwide. The Cape's wine and brandy routes are among the most scenic in the world, featuring many historic wine estates that date back centuries.
But, the Cape’s culinary experiences are not limited to only the winelands. Nothing compares to the rich flavours of the Bo-Kaap cuisine, also called Cape Malay. A Bo-Kaap cooking tour is one of the best ways to taste the essence of Cape Town. It introduces travellers to the life, culture and food of the Cape Malay people in Bo-Kaap. They’ll learn how to fold Samoosas and mix Masala to obtain the perfect Cape Malay Curry.
2. Unique wildlife experiences
Although the Kruger National Park is often recognised as the most iconic wildlife park in Africa, Cape Town also has a great number of unforgettable wildlife experiences. Both the Aquila Private Game Reserve and the Gondwana Private Game Reserve offer spectacular malaria-free Big Five wildlife viewings.
Imagine a mobile safari camp set up exclusively for your incentive group in the middle of the African wilderness. Away from the noise and pollution of the big city, your delegates will experience the most rewarding soul searching amidst the wildlife and the beauty of Africa’s landscapes. Go to sleep under the stars and wake up to the gentle noise of the wildlife surrounding you…
3. Social responsibility projects
Many companies have started using social responsibility activities to strengthen bonds between employees and help them feel a sense of company pride. Delegates are actively asking to give back to the communities they visit.
The chance to actively cooperate with the local population, means developing knowledge about the destination in an alternative way, focusing on human relations and getting responsibly involved. People today want to make a long-lasting difference in someone’s life. They don’t just want to embark on a township tour, they want to get their hands dirty and do something truly meaningful, such as building a house for a family. Graaff warns however: “It’s important to make sure that the project you select is about genuine upliftment and not a ‘showcase’ for tourists. In Cape Town, your delegates can get an insight into the remarkable stories that make life in South Africa so interesting, dynamic and very importantly, inspiring.”
4. Luxury train indulgence
The Blue Train and the Rovos Rail both offer unique and majestic rail experiences for delegates to Cape Town. Imagine chugging off on safari, traversing the Karoo or just watching the amazing scenery pass by from the ultimate luxury of your carriage. Rovos Rail will offer delegates a nostalgic and elegant experience. Delegates can enjoy big windows and open-air balconies from where they’ll be treated to the most magnificent views.
The Blue Train is one of the most luxurious trains in the world, and delegates can expect a personal on-board butler as well as fine dining and superb service. They’ll be treated to Irish linen, quality silver in the dining room, marble floors, plush white towels and fluffy eiderdown duvets, while at the same time getting a taste of some of the best that Africa has to offer.
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