8 March 2012

SAA launches Global MICE Desk

Recognising the growth potential of the business tourism market, South African Airways has launched a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) division to service the meetings industry.

Sean Bradley with Happy Phutiyagae of SAA's Global MICE Desk Sean Bradley with Happy Phutiyagae of SAA's Global MICE Desk.

We are looking at how we can better target events for destination South Africa, and partner with relevant stakeholders from a flight and pricing perspective - Sean Bradley, Global Trade & Product Support Manager SAA.

South African Airways' (SAA) MICE division was formed to better meet the needs of this market segment, offering competitive fare levels to the meetings industry with the flexibility required by delegates.

Sean Bradley, SAA’s Manager for Global Trade & Product Support, said SAA has recognised the growth potential in business tourism globally and is strengthening its partnerships with South African Tourism (SAT) and the new National Convention Bureau (NCB) to better service the MICE market and attract meetings business.

'We are looking at how we can better target international meetings for destination South Africa, and partner with relevant stakeholders from a flight and pricing perspective,' he said.

SAA has taken its published fares and linked discount structures across various fare classes to create its MICE fares. 'The reason we’ve used our published fares is that they offer far greater flexibility in terms of fare rules than group or promotional fares,' Bradley explained.

The validity periods for the MICE fares has also been extended to 14 days prior to and post an event.  'This will enable people attending MICE events in South Africa to extend their stay and explore the country, thereby also benefiting the tourism industry,' said Bradley.

SAA is also increasing its reach into Africa. The airline recently launched new routes from Johannesburg to Bujumbura (Burundi), Kigali (Rwanda) and Pointe Noire (Republic of Congo).

'From a MICE perspective, it's obvious that SAA's reach into Africa from our primary hub in Johannesburg, along with our strong international inbound flight connections, gives us the edge,' he said.

Bradley added that SAA's commitment to South Africa's BRICS alliance was demonstrated by the launch of the carrier's 3 direct weekly services to Beijing, China. 'Our load factors on the route are encouraging. Obviously we'd like to see a situation where we can offer a daily flight between the 2 destinations,' he concluded.