South Africa: Sustainability Starts With Participation

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South Africa
The Willaston Restaurant at The Silo Hotel

Incorporating shared value into meetings, incentives and conventions is becoming ever more relevant as the ethical dimensions of events evolve.

At the center of this shift is the notion of sustainability, and as you will see, in South Africa, the landscape for sustainable meetings spans far and wide.

Hailed as Africa’s answer to New York’s MoMA or London’s Tate Modern, the new architecturally stunning Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) has brought business and pizazz to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town as the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world.

The 102,000-sf museum was conceived in a converted grain silo, and the surrounding Table Mountains, ocean and cityscapes combined with the museum’s sleek exterior and whimsical cathedral-like interiors are just jaw dropping.

“For us, sustainability is about participation,” explains South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa. “This is a place where South Africans can come to share their stories.”

For us, sustainability is about participation. This is a place where South Africans can come to share their stories.

With 100 galleries spread over nine floors, along with photography, performing arts and film centers, a dedicated arts and education center and costume institute, there is plenty of room for those stories to unfold. Attendees can mix and mingle in a sculpture garden, and then meet for dinner in the on-site restaurant. Capping off the Zeitz-MOCAA experience is the 28-room luxury boutique hotel, The Silo Hotel, which inhabits the top six floors of the building and Conde Nast Traveler’s 2017 “Hot List.” The hotel was built in the grain elevator portion of the silo and comes with its own perks for attendees: a bookable penthouse that takes up an entire floor, a spa offering customized treatments, an exclusive art gallery and a rooftop pool with the best views in town. Groups can enjoy afternoon tea overlooking Table Mountain, champagne breakfasts on the roof or a guided tour of the museum, not to mention the bustling waterfront district.

Elevating Women in Leadership

Xasa says another sustainability touch point for South Africa entails carving out a path for women in leadership roles and a new “Women in Tourism” initiative aims to do just that. The goal is 30 percent representation by women in executive tourism roles by 2020; Xasa says a robust Executive Development Program (EDP) and forum has the program in full swing. “Recognition, respect, representation and reward—these are the tenants of ‘Women in Tourism.’” So far, 16 women have graduated from the EDP, and as these numbers grow, Xasa believes so will the South African economy. “Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to combating poverty and stimulating sustainable development.”

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