South Africa’s leading tourism businesses were celebrated and recognised for their contributions to the country’s global destination competitiveness, at the recent 2017 Lilizela Tourism Gauteng Awards Ceremony held at Freedom Park in Pretoria. Conferencing giant, The Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, was selected as one of the three provincial winners in the Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events Category. “We are delighted to have been recognised as a major player within Gauteng’s booming business tourism sector,” says Greg Hoffmann, Birchwood Hotel’s Marketing Manager. Established in 2013, the Lilizela Tourism Awards are an initiative of the National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism. The awards aim to emphasise and encourage the role tourism businesses play in employment creation, foreign exchange, growth for other sectors of the economy and entrepreneurship development. “Situated 10km from OR Tambo International Airport, we pride ourselves on our contribution to the growth and perceptions of SA’s Business Tourism Sector; making this achievement extremely validating for the Birchwood family,” says Hoffmann. Open to public vote, the Lilizela Tourism Awards represent the opinions, experiences and ratings of consumers; providing valuable feedback for establishments, as well as provincial and national sectors on how to improve tourism industry ratings in the future. “We’d like to thank all those who took the time to rate their meetings, exhibitions and special events experiences with us. Your support is invaluable and we hope to be your venue of choice for many years to come,” says Hoffmann. For more information about The Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, call (011) 897 0000 or visit www.birchwoodhotel.co.za. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Tsogo Sun’s new dual-brand 19-storey hotel in the Mother City’s flourishing and vibrant City Bowl celebrated its opening on 28 September with the Director General of Tourism, Mr Victor Tharage, delivering the keynote address, along with speeches by Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille, and many other local dignitaries and celebrities in attendance. The R700-million development incorporates two economy hotels, the select service SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl (https://www.tsogosun.com/sunsquare-cape-town-city-bowl) with 202 bedrooms and StayEasy Cape Town City Bowl (https://www.tsogosun.com/stayeasy-cape-town-city-bowl) with 302 bedrooms, and represents Tsogo Sun’s continued commitment to the city of Cape Town, bringing the total number of rooms operated by the group in the city centre to over 2 000, spread across six hotels. In addition to the two new hotels, Tsogo Sun’s other hotels in the greater Cape Town area include Southern Sun The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront, Southern Sun Cape Sun, Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard, SunSquare Cape Town Gardens, Southern Sun Newlands, StayEasy Century City, and three SUN1 properties. In addition, the Tsogo Sun Group owns the Westin at the CTICC, Radisson Blu Waterfront and Protea Victoria Junction through its controlling investment in the Hospitality Property Fund. Jacques Booysen, Group CEO of Tsogo Sun, says, “Cape Town has become a globally-competitive business and leisure destination – and tourism to the city is growing. Just last year, according to Cape Town Tourism, over half a million visitors arrived in Cape Town by air, representing an 8% year on year increase. Of these visitors, close on 84 500 were international visitors, which was a strong 29% increase on the previous year. The numbers say it all – and we were convinced that the City Bowl would be an excellent location for a major investment, particularly as this is the first large-scale new build in the Cape Town city centre for . . .
Kigali, Rwanda, 11th October 2017 – From the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Kigali, Rwanda, Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) today announced further expansion plans in Africa with seven new hotel signings. Marriott International was the first global chain to make a significant investment in Africa with the acquisition of Protea Hotels for $210 million in 2014. The company is targeting over 200 hotels with 37,000 rooms open or in the pipeline by 2022, equating to around $8.5 billion of capital investment by its real estate partners, reinforcing its continued commitment to expansion in Africa and solidifying its leadership on the continent. The investment is expected to generate substantial economic activity and around 50,000 direct and indirect jobs once the hotels open. “Africa today makes a very compelling story. We are seeing unprecedented traction for our compelling brands, driving our momentum of growth,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “We have always believed in the potential of Africa and the opportunities the continent has to offer. With economic growth, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization, the demand for travel and high quality lodging is growing, providing us with a significant opportunity to enhance our footprint and play our part in supporting many emerging markets across the continent,” he added. Today Marriott International hotels are present in 20 African countries: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The company is expected to foray into new markets including Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal and has signed 1300 new rooms marking the debut of Marriott International into Côte D’Ivoire while strengthening its presence in existing markets including Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria. Abidjan . . .
The third annual Sanlam Top Destination Awards honoured key players in the hospitality industry which saw 35 establishments go home with the winning title in the ten categories and star gradings. This year Orion Hotels & Resorts were honoured with the Sabre Top Destination Technology Award, the newest category created to include all establishments that have selected Sabre technology and its SynXis Central Reservation System to power up their activity. The proudly South African Hotel group was presented the award by Richard Wiegmann, Managing Director & CCO EMEA, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, who flew in from Germany to hand over the award personally, including a unique trophy designed by Rialheim Ceramics for the occasion. Additionally, the hotel group’s CEO, Franz Gmeiner, won a seat at the Sabre Technology Exchange event taking place in the Spring of 2018 in Europe. “We certainly have very different plans and in short we want to achieve more with new technology and take our Hotels into the future of travel and hospitality, with SABRE as our Technology Partner,” says Franz. Orion Hotels & Resorts has also been awarded with the ‘Top Employer’ recognition for the sixth consecutive year. Sabre Hospitality Solutions is the leading provider for distribution, operations and marketing solutions to the hotel industry. Delivered primarily through a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, Sabre Hospitality Solutions is used by more than 36,000 properties around the world. Its integrated reservations systems, property management system, distribution and marketing services help hotels increase revenues, identify savings, and improve customer service. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Empower, inspire, nurture Organizations looking to operate successfully have realised that they need to contribute to and invest in infrastructure, training and education within the countries where they operate to facilitate an increase in local talent capable of filling the roles that companies create. Tourism is one of the world’s biggest employers and the hotel industry recognises the benefit of investing in, recruiting and developing local talent in the communities in which they serve, and are rallying to attract, empower, upskill, nurture and retain their homegrown talent. BON Hotels, a hospitality company that owns, manages and markets hotels throughout Africa, has a Learnership Programme that is geared towards school leavers wanting to pursue a career in hospitality. It involves on-the-ground work experience coupled with in-house or external training that has proved to be a successful way to fast-track skills development in the industry. Similarly, other hotel groups have apprenticeship programmes that run on much the same premise whereby apprentices study for a set period at a college, university or hotel school, and then spend time gaining experience and training in the workplace. General Manager of BON Hotels Bloemfontein Central, Pieter van Rooyen, says that it is important for them to invest in local talent, and that by nurturing this talent they are educating and empowering the community at large. In the eighteen years Van Rooyen has worked at the hotel he has seen approximately 46 hospitality management students and 26 professional cookery students who have trained with them, graduate, three of whom still work at the hotel. Suitable candidates under the age of 23 are invited for an interview and if successful will undergo a year of Orientation Training which takes them through each department. Upon successful completion, they are invited for an interview with BON Hotels Head Office to enroll for a three-year in-service training . . .
Eastern Cape, 05 October 2017: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers that controlled blasting is scheduled to take place on the R72, section 3 to section 4, from Monday, 9 October 2017 until Wednesday, 11 October 2017, between Birah River and Openshaw Village, weather permitting. The blast will occur at various positions along the R72 between KM 49.24 (road marker) and KM 16.0 (road marker). Blasting will take place from Monday, between 2pm and 4pm and the road will be closed between Hamburg turn off and Gcinisa Village. On Tuesday and Wednesday blasting will take place between 1pm and 3:30pm on both days. The road will be closed between Hamburg turn off and the Peddie turn off on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Travellers are asked to plan their trips accordingly, consider alternative routes and to use caution when making use of the road,” said Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region’s Manager. SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience caused. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
(September 29, 2017) - Water is not the only element decorated swimmer Michael Phelps and multinational water-innovation company Crystal Lagoons have in common. As of today, Crystal Lagoons officially announced a strategic alliance with the greatest swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps. The common cause tying both together is the goal of bringing swimming and water sports activities to communities around the world via Crystal Lagoons’ industry-leading technology that transforms ordinary landscapes into majestic crystal clear lagoons. Fernando Fischmann, Founder of Crystal Lagoons, said that, “it is a great honor for us to have a great sportsman like Michael Phelps coming on board, willing to invest his time in collaborating with the company. We believe crystal clear lagoons will help bring swimming and water sports into the 21st century. In addition to the wide range of water sports activities, crystal clear lagoons also provide an inclusive environment for social and leisure activities within a majestic, tropical setting.” The concept of crystal clear lagoons has been well received and the company is actively engaged in more than 600 projects – in different development and negotiation stages – worldwide. In addition, Crystal Lagoons is developing a public access model with projects in countries including the United States, Thailand, Australia, Turkey, Argentina, and Chile. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Johannesburg, 27 September 2017. The Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) hosted a record number of its Japanese market stakeholders at its Networking Reception at the end of the 2nd day of trading at the 2017 Tourism Expo Japan on the 22 September 2017. In her welcoming address, the Chairperson of the Tourism Sub-Committee of the SADC Ambassadors in Tokyo, Zambian Ambassador, Mrs Ndiyoi Mutiti encouraged all the tour operators and travel agents present to sell the unique SADC tourism experiences. ‘The role of my office is to coordinate the efforts of RETOSA and the SADC group of Ambassadors based in Tokyo Japan in promoting our Region jointly to the Japanese Market. Our combined efforts aim to secure an increase in Japanese tourist arrivals’. She further called on the private sector in the Region to take advantage of the opportunity that is being created by RETOSA’s participation at the Tourism Expo Japan, Tokyo each year. The South African Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa gave the main address, her first at this Expo since her appointment as and Chairperson of the SADC Committee of Tourism Ministers, where she highlighted the importance of the work done by RETOSA in Marketing the Region. She said: ‘ I would like to thank JATA and RETOSA for affording SADC Embassies accredited to Japan an opportunity to participate in the Tourism Expo Japan 2017 and to afford our tour operators present here tonight an oppotunity to sell Southern Africa’ She assured the audience that ‘All of us in SADC will continue to innovate and develop more tourism products that will not only bring mutual benefits to tourists and tour companies alike, but will continue to increase revenue simultaneously creating a positive economic impact on local communities in a sustainable way. The SADC region is unique and has diverse activities that can be enjoyed by both young and old tourist” She further indicated that “JATA helps us create a collective approach to . . .
Eastern Cape, 22 September 2017: The South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) would like to notify travellers that controlled blasting is scheduled to take place on the N2, section 13, between Grahamstown and the Fish River Pass every Tuesday until 24 October 2017, weather permitting. The blasts will occur at various positions along the N2 between KM 81 and KM 92. Blasting will take place between 14h00 and 16:30 and the road will be closed for approximately one hour during this time. “Motorists are asked to plan their trips accordingly, consider alternative routes and to use caution when making use of the road,” said Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region’s Manager. SANRAL apologises for any inconvenience caused. CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
Farrel Hirsch appointed chef of View restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg. September 2017: Having worked alongside some of Europe and South Africa’s most acclaimed chefs, Farrel Hirsch now brings his exuberant mix of passion and experience to Joburg with his appointment as chef of the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg’s flagship eatery, View Restaurant. The 30-year-old studied professional cookery in Nottingham, and was declared runner-up for that city’s 2008 Young Chef of the Year competition. After five years of working in the UK, the pull of home proved too strong: he moved back to Durban, where he was born, to join The Oyster Box Hotel’s Grill Room Restaurant. Having worked in the kitchens of the Singita group of luxury lodges, his two most recent posts were in Cape Town where he worked with Peter Tempelhoff at the acclaimed Greenhouse Restaurant. He then worked at The Test Kitchen (awarded Top Restaurant in SA at the Eat Out Awards from 2012 to 2016) seconding Luke Dale-Roberts before becoming head chef at View Restaurant. The restaurant – which following its opening in 2014 fast became a favourite fine dining destination for Joburg’s most discerning foodies – was previously helmed by Dirk Gieselmann, who had previously served as Chef de Cuisine alongside owner Marc Haeberlin at the famed Michelin three-star Auberge de l’Ill restaurant in Illhauesern in France’s Alsace region. Hirsch loves to travel, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people – whether that’s visiting the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala or seeing the ancient pagodas of Burma. His travels are also an opportunity to broaden his culinary horizons. “I love stepping out of my comfort zone – I’m always excited by the idea of the unknown,” he says. “Nothing beats going to a foreign country where no one speaks English and pointing at the dish being eaten at the table next to you, and order that. Not to taste is not to know.” This . . .