Tag Archives: accommodation

Spending on education continues to increase in South Africa

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan


South Africa’s spending on education is growing with the help of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan allocating R207-billion to the sector for 2012/13, along with forecasts that this could possibly increase to up to R236-billion over the upcoming three years.

Gordhan explained that provincial education spending is most likely to grow by 5.9% over the next three years, from R169.9-billion this year to R183.8-billion in 2015.


Student financial assistance for no-fee schools


The government is going to also spend in excess of R18-billion of the money towards increasing learner subsidies for no-fee schools and broadened access to Grade R.

South Africa’s education authorities point out that learner overall performance in literacy and numeracy continues to be an issue, as revealed by the national assessment of grade 3 and 6 learners carried out this past year.

The assessments determined trouble spots in each school and made it possible for tailored interventions to be made, with R235-million put aside in the Budget for this purpose.

R850-million for university infrastructure


Approximately R850-million has been earmarked specifically for the improvement of the country’s university infrastructure, as well as student accommodation facilities.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which has assisted poor students at tertiary institutions with loans, will get in excess of R17-billion over the next three years.

A Green Paper on Higher Education, published earlier this year, contains commitments by the government to construct two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape to cope with the difficulty of space at the country’s tertiary institutions.

Despite the fact that he made no reference to the project in his budget speech, Gordhan did inform reporters that work was at this time at an advanced stage, stating that R300-million was provided in the fiscus for planning and design of the universities. Additional financial commitments will be made as the projects get off the ground.

Early childhood development programmes


An additional R1.4-billion is going to be invested over the next three years to help and support early childhood development programmes along with the implementation of the community-based childcare and protection programme throughout the country.

This will boost access to early childhood development from the current 500 000 to 580 000 children, with an emphasis on rural areas, with targets that more than 10 000 young adults will likely be employed resulting from the programme.

Source: BuaNews


South Africa bold plans for tourism

The Tourism Department hopes to boost South Africa’s domestic tourism statistics from the most recent estimated seven million to upwards of 17 million by 2020.

This approach has come about as government’s recent economic growth path labeled tourism as being among the list of primary markets that can assist the state realize its economic goals and objectives for the country.

The department recently showcased its overhauled 2011 leg of the widely recognized Sho’t Left advertising and marketing campaign, through which it intends to commit in excess of R30 million in a combination of road trips and advertising campaigns geared towards rallying local communities behind the brand South Africa.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who had been giving a presentation during one of the road trips in Limpopo, proclaimed that domestic tourism continued to be the backbone of his department’s intentions to contribute in excess of R500 billion to the GDP 2020.

Domestic tourism is considered the most significant contributor to South Africa’s tourism volume and is also responsible for 79 percent of all tourists in the country.

The Sho’t Left advertising and marketing campaign is an element of government’s total tourism strategy and the concept will be to showcase the culture of tourism among South Africans, along with the emphasis focused towards the small and the least frequented regions.

“For all of us, investing in domestic tourism continues to be our fundamental goal. Domestic tourism is without a doubt our backbone and the government has finally begun to understand and appreciate the function and importance of this sector plus it currently forms part of the new growth path,” van Schalkwyk said.

He in addition reported a positive increase in domestic figures for 2010, with noticeable rises when it comes to duration of trips undertaken along with the money spent on holidays when compared to the previous year.

“For the very first time in a great many years, we have observed growth within critical areas which include frequency, overall spend along with the length of stay,” stated the minister.

Well over 13.5 million individuals undertook a domestic trip during the last year, with an average of 2.2 trips per traveler. This has been a small improvement when compared to the 2.1 annual trips per traveler undertaken in 2009.

Despite the fact that the department registered less domestic travels in 2010, the boosts in spending along with the frequency of traveling indicated that South Africans were definitely beginning to “grasp” the culture of travel.

Authorities suggested despite the fact that total annual spend on domestic tourism was in fact down from R22.4 billion recorded in 2009 to R21.1 billion, they were enthusiastic as a result of the surge in spending to 31 percent last year when compared to 22 percent in 2009.

This has been to some extent linked to the excitement as a result of the Soccer World Cup, as individuals were very likely to have been motivated to fork out a whole lot more on a number of luxuries and entertainment.

The excellent news for the holiday accommodation industry is the fact that total annual nights spending on establishments for domestic travel escalated to well over 130 million in 2010 compared with 124 million the previous year.

Having said that the minister maintained that despite the fact that the trend in domestic tourism figures had continued to be in the upward direction over the year, the difficult task would be to turn this into a “tangible” opportunity for job creation and economic growth.

In accordance with the government’s new growth path and emphasis on job creation, South Africa Tourism intends to improve upon the current R199 billion contributed by the sector towards the GDP to approximately R500 billion by 2020.

“All of us need to make certain that it leads to job creation at the same time encouraging us to accomplish economic growth simultaneously,” he added.

SA Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-Mclean at the same time pointed out that investing in domestic tourism will certainly form part of the organisation’s future growth plan, adding the fact that the strategy was to showcase all nine provinces, even those located a long way away from the coastline as well as other popular tourist sites.

“We will need to make it possible for South Africans to travel their country and become tourists within their own country, and for us to accomplish this we will need to inform them that something beautiful exists in all provinces,” she said.


Source: BuaNews, mediaclubsouthafrica.com, ushouldvisit.com,


Meeting and Convention Planners

Significant Points

* People with a variety of educational or work backgrounds can become meeting and convention planners.
* Planners often work long hours in the period prior to and during a meeting or convention, and extensive travel may be required.
* Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
* Opportunities will be best for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and some experience as a meeting planner.

Nature of the Work

Meetings and conventions bring people together for a common purpose, and meeting and convention planners work to ensure that this purpose is achieved seamlessly. Planners  coordinate every detail of meetings and conventions, from the speakers and meeting location to arranging for printed materials and audio-visual equipment.

The first step in planning a meeting or convention is determining the purpose, message, or impression that the sponsoring organization wants to communicate. Planners increasingly focus on how meetings affect the goals of their organizations; for example, they may survey prospective attendees to find out what motivates them and how they learn best. A more recent option for planners is to decide whether the meeting or convention can achieve goals in a virtual format versus the traditional meeting format. Virtual conferences are offered over the Internet where attendees view speakers and exhibits online. After this decision is made, planners then choose speakers, entertainment, and content, and arrange the program to present the organization’s information in the most effective way.

Meeting and convention planners search for prospective meeting sites, primarily hotels and convention or conference centers. When choosing a site, the planner considers who the prospective attendees are and how they will get to the meeting. Being close to a major airport is important for organizations that have attendees traveling long distances who are pressed for time. The planner may also select a site based on its attractiveness to increase the number of attendees.

Once they have narrowed down possible locations for the meeting, planners issue requests for proposals to all possible meeting sites in which they are interested. These requests state the meeting dates and outline the planner’s needs for the meeting or convention, including meeting and exhibit space, lodging, food and beverages, telecommunications, audio-visual requirements, transportation, and any other necessities. The establishments respond with proposals describing what space and services they can supply, and at what price. Meeting and convention planners review these proposals and either make recommendations to the clients or management or choose the site themselves.

Once the location is selected, meeting and convention planners arrange support services, coordinate with the facility, prepare the site staff for the meeting, and set up all forms of electronic communication needed for the meeting or convention, such as e-mail, voice mail, video, and online communication.

Meeting logistics, the management of the details of meetings and conventions, such as labor and materials, is another major component of the job. Planners register attendees and issue name badges, coordinate lodging reservations, and arrange transportation. They make sure that all necessary supplies are ordered and transported to the meeting site on time, that meeting rooms are equipped with sufficient seating and audio-visual equipment, that all exhibits and booths are set up properly, and that all materials are printed. They also make sure that the meeting adheres to fire and labor regulations and oversee food and beverage distribution.

There also is a financial management component of the work. Planners negotiate contracts with facilities and suppliers. These contracts, which have become increasingly complex, are often drawn up more than a year in advance of the meeting or convention. Contracts often include clauses requiring the planner to book a certain number of rooms for meetings in order to qualify for space discounts and imposing penalties if the rooms are not filled. Therefore, it is important that the planner closely estimates how many people will attend the meeting based on previous meeting attendance and current circumstances. Planners must also oversee the finances of meetings and conventions. They are given overall budgets by their organizations and must create a detailed budget, forecasting what each aspect of the event will cost. Additionally, some planners oversee meetings that contribute significantly to their organization’s operating budget and must ensure that the event meets income goals.

An important part of the work is measuring how well the meeting’s purpose was achieved. After determining what the objectives are, planners try to measure if objectives were met and if the meeting or conference was a success. The most common way to gauge their success is to have attendees fill out surveys about their experiences at the event. Planners can ask specific questions about what sessions were attended, how well organized the event appeared, how they felt about the overall experience, and ask for suggestions on how to improve the next event. If the purpose of a meeting or convention is publicity, a good measure of success would be how much press coverage the event received. A more precise measurement of meeting success, and one that is gaining importance, is return on investment. Planners compare the costs and benefits of an event and show whether it was worthwhile to the organization. For example, if a company holds a meeting to motivate its employees and improve company morale, the planner might track employee turnover before and after the meeting.

Some aspects of the work vary by the type of organization for which planners work. Those who work for associations must market their meetings to association members, convincing members that attending the meeting is worth their time and expense. Marketing is usually less important for corporate meeting planners because employees are generally required to attend company meetings. Corporate planners usually have shorter time frames in which to prepare their meetings. Planners who work in Federal, State, and local governments must learn how to operate within established government procedures, such as procedures and rules for procuring materials and booking lodging for government employees. Government meeting planners also need to be aware of any potential ethics violations.

Convention service managers, meeting professionals who work in hotels, convention centers, and similar establishments, act as liaisons between the meeting facility and planners who work for associations, businesses, or governments. They present food service options to outside planners, coordinate special requests, suggest hotel services based on the planner’s budget, and otherwise help outside planners present effective meetings and conventions in their facilities.

In large organizations or those that sponsor large meetings or conventions, meeting professionals are more likely to specialize in a particular aspect of meeting planning. Some specialties are conference coordinators, who handle most of the meeting logistics; registrars, who handle advance registration and payment, name badges, and the set-up of on-site registration; and education planners, who coordinate the meeting content, including speakers and topics. In organizations that hold very large or complex meetings, there may be several senior positions, such as manager of registration, education seminar coordinator, or conference services director, with the entire meeting planning department headed by a department director.

Work environment.

The work of meeting and convention planners may be considered either stressful or energizing, but there is no question that it is fast-paced and demanding. Planners oversee multiple operations at one time, face numerous deadlines, and orchestrate the activities of several different groups of people. Meeting and convention planners spend the majority of their time in offices, but during meetings, they work on-site at the hotel, convention center, or other meeting location. They travel regularly to attend meetings and to visit prospective meeting sites. The extent of travel depends upon the type of organization for which the planner works. Local and regional organizations require mostly regional travel, while national and international organizations require travel to more distant locales, including travel abroad.

Work hours can be long and irregular, with planners working more than 40 hours per week in the time leading up to a meeting and fewer hours after finishing a meeting. During meetings or conventions, planners may work very long days, starting as early as 5:00 a.m. and working until midnight. They are sometimes required to work on weekends.

Some physical activity is required, including long hours of standing and walking and some lifting and carrying of boxes of materials, exhibits, or supplies. Planners work with the public and with workers from diverse backgrounds. They may get to travel to luxurious hotels and interesting places and meet speakers and meeting attendees from around the world, while enjoying a high level of autonomy.

Source: bls.gov, visitlongbeach.com, masacc.org, visittraversecity.com, westmemphis.org,