With a volatile rand and crippling exchange rate fluctuations, incentive travel has come under pressure for 2017, and companies seem to have adopted a wait-and-see approach for the coming year when it comes to booking incentives.

Conference travel, on the other hand, is in full swing. Although, it has to be said that conference organisers are also getting creative to get the most bang for their buck.

Let’s have a look at some of the popular MICE destinations for South African travellers for 2017:

The local conference roadshow

Companies are increasingly looking at organising conference roadshows throughout South Africa, visiting Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg for their symposiums and training. Roadshows are an effective tool that companies can utilise in their growth strategy, as it will allow them to better understand the market, gauge interest, collect enquiries and establish contacts.

Offering 1 700 MICE venues, South Africa has become prime destination for MICE events for overseas travellers. It’s therefore not surprising that the locals also like to explore their own country for their MICE requirements.

Namibia

Regional destinations, such as Namibia, are also a hit with companies faced with a weak rand. The country has seen a number of new venues open their doors in the past year, ranging from beachfront hotels to resorts and lodges. For a truly unique experience, conferences can also be organised in mobile camps in the desert under the African sky.

The country further offers a vast range of activities to keep delegates busy before or after the conference. Options range from cultural excursions to sporting events and high-adrenalin activities.

Indian Ocean islands

The Indian Ocean islands have always been a big hit with South African conference and incentive organisers. Close to home and affordable, the islands offer a great break for South African delegates.

Mauritius is a long-time favourite and is a convenient destination for South African travellers for once-off or annual events like AGMs, conferences, seminars and team-building workshops. The island has large and modern convention centres with all the latest facilities. Its popularity as a tourism destination also makes it an obvious choice for combining business with pleasure.

Other Indian Ocean islands are also gaining popularity, with Réunion and Madagascar especially high on the list for South African delegates.

Although Madagascar has only one large convention centre, located in Antananarivo, the country is a famous destination for incentives, team-building trips and smaller meetings.

Only a four-hour flight away and with no visa required, Réunion has also become a great destination for South African MICE travellers who are looking for adventure-based incentive options. Adrenalin junkies will enjoy hiking the island’s lush amphitheatres, or Cirques, formed from now-dormant volcanoes. For those interested in discovering the bottom of the ocean, Réunion offers some of the best diving excursions.

Vietnam

A rapidly emerging hotspot for South African travellers for 2017 is Vietnam. Often overlooked, it is a surprisingly affordable destination for South African MICE travellers. The country offers memorable MICE tours covering exciting activities, amazing nature, stunning beaches, delicious culinary experiences and cultural enrichments. The country also has a broad range of MICE facilities and first-class services.

Vietnam offers South African travellers a very different experience. They can discover the must-see highlights of bustling cities such as Saigon, explore the old port town of Hoi An, or discover the Unesco World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. A visit to one of the world’s largest caves, Hang Son Doong, is also definitely recommended. The cave is so big, it has its own river, jungle and climate.