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BestCities Global Network of Convention Bureaux meet in Cape Town

Hosted by the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau (Cape Town Routes Unlimited), the BestCities Client Imbizo (3-6 July 2009) is an important platform that converged important association meetings representatives, managers and sales officials from the BestCities Global Alliance of convention bureaux. Global membership of the alliance comprises leading meetings and incentive destinations including Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Juan, Singapore and Vancouver.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited, CEO Calvyn Gilfellan says "We are proud of the destination’s increasing innovative and fresh incentive offerings that provide enhanced value for our visitors. Despite a persistent depressed economic climate, in Cape Town & the Western Cape we are committed to strengthening our corporate hospitality – we have a lot of energy and promise to keep conference delegates on their toes!" .

The brief was simple: For four days sales representatives of the alliance were tasked to sell their respective destination’s convention offerings to key association buyers with style and panache and look at ways of improving the business performance of the alliance with a specific focus on increasing the number of association meetings and incentives to each of the member cities.

Prior to the Client (association representatives) Imbizo, managers of the eight convention bureaux met for three days of strategic planning. Emphasis was on frank dialogue around important issues such as the certification status of particular destinations, dissemination of marketing intelligence, development of the BestCities brand and improving business performance within the alliance. It was largely agreed that for association buyers the knowledge that a particular destination is accredited by the Alliance facilitates the process of procuring business given the established Quality Management System with which all member bureaux must comply. Certification with the BestCities Global Alliance represents a best practice benchmark and assures buyers that minimum infrastructural and operational standards are firmly in place in member destinations. Partners of the alliance agreed to pool their marketing intelligence and share client information across the eight cities to secure rotational meetings within the alliance and to support the individual marketing efforts of member bureaux with consequent benefits to the local business tourism industry.

For all the clients, it was their first time to visit Cape Town as they explored future meetings opportunities in the BestCities conference destinations. The annual workshop serves as an important resource of potential leads to alliance partners. In an easy and sympathetic atmosphere, clients were encouraged to network with each other and increase their learnings and knowledge of how to better position their respective associations in the international Business Tourism industry. As a destination, Cape Town performed well with the clients with four strong leads that will hopefully yield secured conferences in the destination over the next five years.

Tucked into a very full itinerary, Artjamming provided the perfect ice-breaker at the Alphen. This serene and peaceful venue and national monument is known for its genteel hospitality and old world charm. Facilitators explained the basic guidelines and encouraged participants to be a little vulnerable, let their imagination loose and play! Participants were asked to capture lasting impressions of the destination on their arrival and memories they will take with them on their departure from Cape Town.

Artjamming is already a very successful phenomenon and made its debut in July last year in Cape Town. Although most of the delegates felt out of their depth initially, they soon found that once they had made the first couple of strokes, it was easy to unleash the artist within. While some focussed their energies painting landscapes, others found their muse in the bold and colourful African culture of local people. The end result was nine very different works of art. For many it was their first painting experience in their adult lives.

Delegates returned to their respective bureaux with a piece of Cape Town on canvas, a finished work to hang in their offices. Artjamming accommodates a special niche in corporate hospitality and is an excellent teambuilding exercise to strengthen groups and encourage cohesion and boost morale in a relaxed environment. A team of young and innovate facilitators are ready to enthuse delegates at their studios in Wembley Square and the V& A Waterfront or if preferred, they are mobile and can set up shop round about anywhere.

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