Submitted by: Kirk Maietta

Article written by Rosalie Howard

We’ve conversed with a variety of users from the hospitality business lately, all of whom have shared precisely the same story with me … that they have experienced bumper seasons with 100% occupancy all through December into January with extra holidays booked and confirmed for next Xmas season, resulting in full houses all over again!

This tells me that there is cash flow once again and I celebrate this information that if South Africans and visitors from foreign lands have vacation money, the congress trade may also have the experience in this 12 months of turning a page … leaving the past behind except for the happenings which serve us and moving forward right into a new paradigm, both personally and in trade – a time of reaping.

It’s generally sensible advice to make long term strategies where likely, in Jan, as this really is often the time that hotels and symposium centers offer reduced costs particularly within the first quarter of the 12 months.

In the Western Cape, summer season as you all know is the perfect time to visit the fair Cape when the weather conditions is far better than anyplace else (whilst they too have had a handful of heat-waves not long ago); the Kwazulu Midlands where the local weather is well balanced and with decent rainfall, the greenest province in South Africa; the Eastern Cape, which while windy boasts many of the most attractive beaches alongside the entire coastline; inland at our plenty of Game reserves and Country Retreats and in Gauteng in the picturesque Magalies region, Muldersdrift, alongside the Vaal River or for restricted schedules, the few 4-5 star, superb hotels on the East Rand.

What’s up that’s big this year?


• The African Mining Indaba in Cape Town 4-7 February

• The Microsoft Tech-Ed Conference at the I.C.C. Durban 10-14 February

• Enterprise Risk Management Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Johannesburg 12-15 February

• The Core Banking Solutions Conference at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg 13-14 February


• The 6th World Congress on Paediatric, Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery at the I.C.C in Cape Town 17-22 February

• Future Bank World Africa Congress at Sandton Convention Centre Johannesburg 11-12 March

• The 12th World Federation of Chiropractic Congress at the I.C.C. Durban 10-13 April

And the calendar for the rest of the year continues over many pages … this is a mere handful of what to expect in the first quarter of the year.

Should any of you have block accommodation bookings you wish to make, we can assist you with these … contact us on or make your enquiries on (

Special Days and celebrations coming up …

BURNS NICHT is on Friday 25 January … Being a Friday, all the Scots among us can celebrate in grand style, without considering tomorrow … order your Haggis now; start planning the Athol Brose for which has published a delicious recipe:

Pear and Haggis Salad with Athol Brose Dressing

Athol brose is a sweet Scottish dessert of cream, whisky, honey and oatmeal.


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6


• 3 tbsp blended malt whisky, or our Buyer’s recommendation: Isle of Jura 10-year-old whisky

• 4 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche

• 2 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp Scottish heather honey

• 120g pack Waitrose Aromatic Baby Leaf Herb Salad

• 6 Perfectly Ripe Conference Pears

• ½ x 454g pack Macsween Vegetarian Haggis


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Cut the pears in half lengthways. Remove the cores with a teaspoon to leave a cavity for the filling, but leave the stems intact. Put the pears into a shallow, ovenproof dish just large enough to fit them in a single layer.

2. Divide the haggis between the pears, filling each cavity with a generous mound of the mixture. Drizzle 100ml of cold water and the whisky around the pears.

3. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, until the pears are tender. Uncover and bake for a further 5 minutes, until the haggis is golden. Meanwhile, blend the crème fraîche, mustard and honey together in a bowl.

4. Serve the cooked pears with the salad leaves. Pour the juices from the baking dish into the dressing, season to taste and mix well. Drizzle over before serving with oatcakes.

VALENTINE’S DAY … 14TH February. Wine and dine your loved one in a romantic setting with roses and chocolates …

EASTER SUNDAY 31 March. Plan and book your weekend away ahead of the rush at your favourite get-away or try a venue you have never been to before

Start your conference planning well ahead this year as this is the year when venues will book up earlier than in the past three or four years. For a comprehensive list of venues throughout South Africa, visit our website on

We wish you a successful, happy and abundant 2013!

About the Author: The author completed studying a National Diploma in Cost and Management Accounting at DUT previously known as Technikon Natal in 1992. He then practised as an accountant for 5 years following which he started up a Conference Organising Corporation in South Africa sourcing venues and arranging seminars for quite a few blue chip firms, governement and NGOs. He’s lectured at Damelin College on the topic and has served on many different committees of SAACI (The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry).


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