REFLECTING ON 2018

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Reflecting on 2018, it’s difficult to say it’s gone by so fast, however it was more like an emotional roller coaster for the nation and the economy. One minute we are starting off the year excited implementing the crazy idea to turn our office into a cocktail lounge for our Office Launch. The next minute we were readjusting and reassessing our service delivery to in order to ensure that we cushion our clients against the harsh economic climate marred by the escalating cost of fuel and taxes.

We have seen remarkable the efforts by our municipality EThekwini and Province in promoting investment in Durban and the surrounding areas. It was a privilege to be part of this eye opening experience working with Invest Durban Unit in their London and Newcastle Investment Drive in June. It gave us a new found appreciation of the role we can play as a company and industry in making Durban a world class business and leisure destination. We hosted the 200 member international delegation for the RISI Woodfiber Conference at Elangeni Hotel. The 3 day conference saw us entertaining the group at 4320 for the true South African Shisa Nyama experience- good music and mouth-watering meat dishes. Thereafter we took the group for some fine dining at Havana Grill at Sun Coast – generous portions and quick service. Following the Industry Stakeholder Breakfast presentations by the MEC of Economic Development Hon. Sihle Zikalala and the Convention Bureau in October, held at the ICC, It is our hope that we contribute more in 2019 to the tourist and business delegate experience.

TsogoSun hosted our International and SADC region delegations for the SATN 4th Industrial Revolution, with Pepper the robot as the guest of honor. Technology advancements are making the future look more exciting even for our event industry. In accordance with the latter we decided to do an instant photo booth for both print and electronic photos for ACSA Feather Awards 2018. Attention to detail and an engaging MC- Donovan Goliath, made the awards phenomenal. Hats off to the amazing team at Elangeni Hotel for the outstanding service delivery.

Congratulations to John Arithro the new Manager for Beverly Hills and thank you for hosting our Mayoral Breakfast induction for Team Durban, during your first week in office. To Samantha Croft all the very best in this new adventure, looking forward to working with you and raising the bar for the already successful hotel group.

Happy 21th Anniversary to the International Convention Center- to top it off scooping top honours at World Travel Awards 2018 and the cherry on top was Lindiwe Rakarebe being at awarded the KZN Premier`s Service Excellence Awards 2018. An amazing year! You made Durban and KZN proud. Your service was on point, timeous and of world class standard for the African Renaissance Conference and Concert which saw President Cyril Ramaphosa opening the conference reinforcing the need to cultivate social cohesion not only locally but in Africa.

The highlight of the year for us and the test of our flexibility, speed and excellence in service delivery was when we were appointed to host the 3RD BRICS Film Festival 2018 at The Playhouse. Five nights of tantalising cuisine from the BRICS nations from Eat Greek. The grand finale was an electric hair raising entertaining Award Ceremony production by Makulu Events Producers.

Though we do not do birthday parties Vivian Reddy’s 65th #VR65 was an exception. It was fun playing around with different concepts and finally turning his pool into a stage. It was grand and befitting for a selfless man -he donated monetary gifts towards Reach for a Dream Foundation.

Talking about stepping outside the box, the SAICA Amazing Race was a riveting experience. We started off with 8 teams of 10 at the SAICA office in Sherwood to 8 adrenaline racing points taking participants on a tour of Durban ending at Greyville Race Course. It was hilarious watching SAICA Regional head, Naeem Asvat fall out of his kayak at Ushaka and witnessing grown men and women competing to bury team mates in the sand at Suncoast Beach.

We round off the year by saying farewell to a man that has become a family to thoughtFIRE, Dr Rama Naidu outgoing Democratic Development Programme, Executive Director. We wish you all the very best in your retirement. To Paul Kariuki the incoming Executive Director of DDP here is to a powerful and impactful 2019 and beyond.

Pravina’s Message:

We welcome our new clients Standard Bank and WWF to the thoughtFIRE family. 2018 was only a teaser of what we can offer you. Looking forward to knocking your socks off in 2019!

Visit our gallery for pictures to 2018 events.

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