2018 Conference - MEET THE SPEAKERS


Abby Swartz

Abby Swartz is the Marketing and Promotions Manager: Nordic Region at South African Tourism

Abby Swartz holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours in Economic and Business Sciences from the University of the Witwatersrand and is currently completing her Master of Commerce degree in Economic and Business Sciences with the same university. Her other qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Marketing as well as a diploma in Tourism Management.

She has over 12 years of tourism industry experience ranging from working for one of the largest South African based Destination Management Companies (DMCs) focusing on the inbound tour operating environment, outbound sales for travel in and around East and West Africa as well as in retail, targeting domestic tourists for South and Southern Africa. Additionally, she has worked with one of the biggest online travel agencies (OTAs) globally.

She has been with South African Tourism for 7 years and within that time frame held various positions including Product Specialist in SA Tourism’s Brand Experience unit, Assistant Manager: International Marketing and is currently the Marketing and Promotions Manager: Nordic Region. Abby’s experience also includes acting positions as Acting Global Manager: Watchlist Markets between 2015 and 2016 and more recently, Acting Head: Global Trade, which comes to an end in July 2018.

Adrian GardinerBorn in Zambia in 1943, Adrian Gardiner’s passion for nature coupled with his strong entrepreneurial skill was forged from an early age. His love of wildlife came from his father who worked for a cattle ranching business and who took his son camping in the bush and hunting from an early age. His entrepreneurial skills were formed when he attended Falcon College in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. From Zimbabwe he traveled to Cape Town to further his studies.

Whilst learning the ropes working for various Cape Town firms, it was evident that Adrian was not content working for other people and by the age of 29 he had moved from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape where he embarked on his first venture, to help build the Spar franchise in Port Elizabeth.

And so began a love affair with the city of Port Elizabeth (PE). As a rapidly developing location PE offered exciting new business opportunities which Adrian relished. For the next 20 years he embarked on a rollercoaster ride of a building companies in a multitude of industries from swimming pool development to garage swing doors, pagers to crane hire. Today, as the home of his major business developments, Adrian’s affection for PE continues and has caused him to keep his company HQ in the city rather than relocating to larger markets such as Johannesburg, Cape Town or London.

Having enjoyed commercial success, Adrian was able to ‘return to the land’ so to speak by developing a new venture into tourism in the early 1990’s. He began with 2,000 hectares of eroded degraded and abused land, a small insignificant piece of valley bushveld, and from this he grew Shamwari Game Reserve, which is now 25 000 hectares in size and has seen the re-introduction of all the large game that once thrived in the Eastern Cape. He was the first person to put the Eastern Cape on the tourist map and today the area is a booming tourist destination and home to countless other private game reserves.Shamwari has since become a blueprint internationally for successful sustainable conservation tourism and its development was instrumental in forming the next phase in Adrian’s life.

On seeing the success of Shamwari, Adrian was able to replicate the model a few years later, by creating Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Western Cape (54 000 hectares). With two wildlife reserves flourishing, Adrian then founded the parent company Mantis in 2000. The name Mantis relates to the San people who revere the praying Mantis and protect it as the most important animal in their eco system as ‘if you look after the little things, the big things take care of themselves’. Rather than only securing the inbound business within his game reserves, Adrian recognised the opportunity in providing a consistent high-quality tourism experience from start to finish where properties could join forces under one group, thus providing a one stop shop for international visitors wishing to travel from West to East along the Garden Route.

The Mantis Group, whilst maintaining its origins in South Africa, then developed their model worldwide understanding that consumers could use Mantis as a mark of quality, consistency and character with their portfolio of 53 properties worldwide. Today the Group comprises the finest examples of privately owned boutique hotels, game reserves and eco experiences. Each property is unique and seeks to bring to life the real character and spirit of each location in which they are situated.

As the company has grown, Adrian’s ambitions for Mantis have also grown in two distinct directions; developing Mantis’ global footprint of properties worldwide and using the lessons learnt when developing Shamwari to educate, support and develop major conservation tourism projects worldwide. In this vain, Adrian has returned to his homeland of Zimbabwe and is now helping to regenerate the long-established Stanley & Livingstone reserve near Victoria Falls and is supporting the IAPF (International Anti-Poaching Foundation) who have a base on the reserve to grow. He is also consulting on wildlife regeneration in Nigeria. Adrian sees this as a tangible way of giving something back to nature and creating a positive legacy where communities can see the financial benefits in conserving their environment and wildlife.

alex finalAlex Granger is CEO of The Possibility of You, a niche mentorship and coaching business, also providing businesses with bespoke intervention workshops in leadership, high performance, and sales. He is also the CEO of Metro Conference Centre, a Global Business Speaker, and author of three books.




Ashley Wentworth

Ashley grew up in the then rural village of Irene, obtaining a formal qualification in agriculture. He was in the Pharmaceutical Industry for 28 years in various marketing and sales management positions with ethical multinational companies, where he gleaned extensive marketing experience and was also involved in training and development. He also had the opportunity to travel extensively to Europe with multinationals. Ashley then spent two and a half years in the computer industry, as Marketing Director for a software company.

Ashley left the industry in 1998 to move from Cape Town to Stormsriver Village with the vision of making a tangible difference to the community’s lives by way of poverty alleviation. He was particularly interested in developing youngsters. He took the very brave step of selling up everything at the age of 46 and established SRA with very limited capital. He is the founder of Stormsriver Adventures, a long standing member of SATSA, SATIB and FTT. Ashley pioneered transformation of the adventure industry in Stormsriver and has actively been involved in “Responsible Tourism” since 1998 when the company was founded. This company, under his guidance, has received numerous responsible tourism awards including Imvelo, Proudly SA Company of the Year, Old Mutual Company of the year and WTM Virgin Atlantic Responsible Tourism runner up 2008.

Stormsriver Adventures is regarded as a model for responsible tourism and is used as a golden standard for poverty alleviation and transformation in the tourism industry.

Ashley’s vision is to extend this model to other rural areas. He has already made progress in this direction with six Canopy Tours already up and running. All of these companies are now operating as independent companies which have created new sustainable job opportunities for communities in these respective areas. He was actively involved in expanding the Tsitsikamma Tourism Association where he served as Chair person for 8 years.

Ashley is involved in the generic marketing of Canopy Tour SA and also drives the responsible tourism ethic through all the license holders running Canopy Tours. Ashley is a director and board member of five Canopy Tour companies including Canopy Tour SA which represents seven independent operations.



Blacky, who holds a BAdmin (Hons) from the University of Fort Hare and a Master of Tourism Administration degreefrom George Washington University, has been involved in the tourism industry since 1985, among other things asgeneral manager for the Americas of SA Tourism.

In 2002 he was appointed as sales and marketing director for Karell’s African Dream Vacations,an American based travel agency, and South African Airways Holidays in the USA,becoming managing director in 2004.

Blacky was also chief executive officer of 1time Holdings from 2011 to 2013.  Blacky also has a distinguished record with Tourvest, starting in 2006 as a non-executive director.  He is a former marketing director of American Express Foreign Exchange and is a long-standing member of the group’s board and executive committee.  He is in charge of Tourvest’s On-The-Ground Duty Free business.


Carol Weaving

Carol brings to Reed Exhibitions, a diverse working background in the business, tourism and events industry. Over 30 years, Carol’s career has expanded through many sectors within the industry, and her knowledge and expertise spans across marketing, exhibition management, events, conferences as well as venue and facility management.

After growing up in the United Kingdom and working as the Marketing Manager for a Radio Station, Carol pursued her dream of living in South Africa, and became the youngest Director (age 29) of the Automobile Association at the Kyalami Racetrack which equipped her with the skillset she would soon need to start her own company, International Exhibition Consultants. Carol later sold majority share of this company to Dutch exhibition company RAI, and then proceeded to head up RAI in South Africa.

As the South African economy grew and expanded over her time at RAI, she realised a need to team up with an empowerment partner and proceeded to facilitate a buy-out of RAI’s shares to the Thebe Tourism group in 2004, a subsidiary of South Africa’s first Black Empowerment Company, Thebe Investment Corporation.

In November 2013 Reed Exhibitions, the world’s largest and most respected exhibition company and part of the RELX Group, signed a joint venture agreement with the Thebe Tourism Group and Carol to acquire a majority share in Thebe Exhibitions & Projects Group (TEPG). TEPG was renamed Thebe Reed Exhibitions and was owned 60% by Reed Exhibitions, 30% by Thebe Tourism Group, with Carol Weaving retaining 10% as Managing Director. Three years later and a desire for accelerated growth Reed bought out Thebe’s shares and now Thebe Reed is called Reed Exhibitions. Our BEE level remains unchanged and we remain committed to transformation.

Thanks to Carol’s continued passion, hard work, dedication and management, Reed Exhibitions is one of the largest and most successful exhibition and venue management companies in Southern Africa and is now in a position to grow its footprint across the African continent with many new ventures in the pipeline.

The group owns major exhibition titles such as Africa Travel Week – International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTM Africa); Incentives, Business Travel & Meetings Africa (ibtm Africa); and World Travel Market Africa (WTM Africa), Sports and Events Tourism Exchange, Africa Automation Fair, Connected Industries, #Buy a Business Expo, Decorex Joburg, Cape Town and Durban, 100% Design South Africa, Mediatech Africa, Small Business Expo, International Sourcing Fair, Value Added Agriculture West Africa, SMART Factories, FIBO Global Fitness Africa, Fire & Feast Meat Festival and Comic Con Africa. We also offer strategic venue management solutions and our contract to manage the award-winning Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, on behalf of its owners – the Sasol Pension Fund, stretches until 2024.

Chris-RocheCurrently Chief Marketing Officer at Wilderness Safaris, Chris Roche started out in the ecotourism industry in the mid-1990s working as a guide, guide trainer and conservation ecologist for well-known ecotourism operator, CC Africa (now andBeyond).

He moved to Wilderness Safaris in 2005 where he has filled various roles in the marketing and sustainability teams (biodiversity conservation), as well as working with the Wilderness Wildlife Trust. In addition to his ‘day job’ in marketing, Chris is also involved in new projects for the company, including expansion into new countries and ecosystems in Africa.

He is a passionate advocate for the good that ecotourism conducted properly can achieve.

craig final

Craig has worked in inbound tourism since leaving university in 1995, firstly for Trafalgar Tours in London, and then Thompsons Africa in Durban. He started New Frontiers Tours, a tailor made FIT and small groups DMC, in 2004.

Craig van Rooyen

Craig has a business degree through the University of Stellenbosch and bought shares in Tour d’Afrique 15 years ago based on the potential he saw in the business.

He was originally a SAP Sales and Distribution IT consultant to a number of companies including Chevron/Texaco and thus brought a strong IT and systems influence to the business. He has successfully been part of a business that has seen significant growth in the B2B market where others thought the wholesale businesses would not survive.

Craig is a hands on business owner that is very involved in the day to day running of Tourdafrique and the various house of brands we support.



Darryl Erasmus

Darryl Erasmus is the Chief Quality Assurance Officer for the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.

Hospitality and Tourism sector specialist, Darryl Erasmus, was appointed in September 2015 as Chief Quality Assurance Officer (CQAO) for South African Tourism.
Darryl, a commerce graduate with majors in the fields of Marketing Strategy and Business Administration who has also completed the Global Executive Development Program with Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), has considerable commercial experience in sales, marketing and communications in the tourism, e-commerce and financial services environment. Darryl is well known to the hospitality sector after spending a number of years in a myriad of operational, sales and marketing roles. These experiences he garnered with well-known brands such as Protea Hotels by Marriott and IHG’s Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands.

He has also led marketing and corporate communications efforts across Africa for the Travel ecommerce Platform, Travelport, before taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer at a technology provider in the passenger transportation sector before joining SA Tourism.

His role as Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism is focused on driving the quality assurance mandate of the organisation to maintain and increase South Africa’s quality positioning as a destination. This also entails supporting and empowering the thousands of graded establishments across the country with capacity building and market access platforms. This he undertakes through partnerships with industry stakeholders, whilst constantly searching for innovative ways and global best practices to add value to the graded community and support the overarching South African Tourism strategies.

Dawn Robertson

Dawn Robertson, the Chief Executive of The Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct started her career lecturing in Arts Education before moving into executive management positions in arts, culture, heritage and tourism both in National and Provincial Government in South Africa. She was responsible for the design, development and implementation of the multi-million CreateSA project which saw the development of fourteen new qualifications which enabled thousands of previously disadvantaged young people to achieve qualifications in the creative industries. One of her greatest challenges to date was the coordination of the Gauteng 2010 FIFA 2010 World Cup Technical Task Team.

This included managing the legislative and operational environment whilst overseeing the implementation of inter-governmental infrastructure, marketing and legacy programmes. After the World Cup, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer at the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the provincial destination marketing organisation, a position she held for the next five years.

She took up her current portfolio in 2016. Besides managing the museums on the Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct, her current position includes spearheading the development of the remaining land-parcels to accommodate the Chapter 9 Institutions on the site which has been home to the Constitutional Court of South Africa since 2004. She was recently appointed to the South African Tourism Board by Minister Derek Hanekom.


Derek Houston Managing Director of Houston Travel Marketing Services. HTMS was established in 1984 and has extensive experience in the promotion and marketing of Africa Tourism and assisting the African Tourism industry to effectively promote themselves in local and global markets.

For the past 20 years his iconic Spotlight Travel Workshops, Expo’s and Roadshows have provided a convenient platform for Travel suppliers to introduce and market their products throughout Africa and Europe. Annually he organises Spotlight workshops in Tanzania, Lusaka, Harare, Gaborone, Luanda, Addis Ababa, Nairobi as well as the Nordic Countries and Eastern Europe.

Derek has been involved in Travel exhibitions since 1968 and worked with Reed Travel Exhibitions as Africa sales Agent from 1995 to 2016 working on events such as WTM London, Arabian Travel Market and WTM Africa. Currently he handles the Africa Sales for IBTM World in Barcelona for the IBTM portfolio of Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Derek has been in the Travel industry for 53 years and has visited about 85 countries. Each year he attends 12 different travel exhibitions in Africa and Europe.


Elizabeth de Stadler is the founding director of Novation Consulting, and co-founder of HeyPlainJane. She specialises in all things Consumer Law, privacy law, plain language drafting, and designing and delivering training. She is the chairperson of the IABSA Regulatory Affairs Council and a crusader for ethical digital marketing.
She prides herself on being slightly out there and bringing a fresh perspective to compliance issues. She has a Masters (cum laude) in Consumer Law, and can’t stop herself from writing about her work and her field.

She is the editor of the Consumer Law Review and wrote A Guide to the Protection of Personal Information Act with Paul Esselaar. She is also the author of Consumer Law Unlocked, a co-author of the hefty Commentary to the Consumer Protection Act and wrote chapters on the Consumer Protection Act in The Law of Contract in South Africa and The Law of Commerce in South Africa. She is currently working with Liezl van Zyl on Plain language legal drafting, which will be published in 2019.



Hanneli Slabber

Hanneli Slabber, Regional General Manager: Asia/Australasia/Middle East for South African Tourism is at the helm of affairs, spearheading initiatives of the national tourism board in the region. Prior to this role, Ms. Slabber was the Country Manager for India.

After completing her Honour’s Degree in Applied Anthropology (With Honours) from the University of Pretoria, Hanneli went on to begin her career in the hotel industry before moving to sales and marketing. With experiences in both inbound and outbound companies, Hanneli was heading Contiki Holidays before moving to South African Tourism.

An industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector and more than eight years of considerable experience with South African Tourism, Hanneli served as the Country Head for the India market for more than 6 years. Her in-depth knowledge of South Africa’s beautiful landscape and the right kind of destination packaging has led to the creation of many a global marketing campaign that has helped boost travel numbers to South Africa.

As the Country Manager for the national tourism board in India, Hanneli’s core responsibility was to effectively market the destination to Indian audiences and help further increase the growth of Indian arrivals to the country. During her service as Country Head in the recent years, Hanneli has been awarded numerous titles that include the most recent ‘Mahatma Gandhi Samman’ award for Strengthening the relations between India & South Africa in January 2016, ‘Women Achiever’s Award 2015’ by The Young Environmentalists Programme Trust for her outstanding work and noteworthy achievements in the travel industry and the ‘Best Professional in Marketing’ by Safari India National Tourism Awards 2014.

She is dedicated to taking the market forward in leaps and bounds for South Africa as the Regional General Manager for Asia, Australia & Middle East and foster long-standing relationships in the region.

Fundisile Goodman Mketeni

Fundisile holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Management with 25 years of experience in the field of Environmental Management and Biodiversity and Conservation.
He brings a wealth of experience in the development and management of protected areas, tourism development and management, conservation of biodiversity and public sector management. He started his career as a Trainee Manager, Manager for some of the Eastern Cape Reserves and later on moved to work for South African National Parks (SANParks) as the Park Manager of the Addo Elephant National Park. He worked in Addo at a time when there were major initiatives on Tourism Development, Concessions and Community Beneficiation.

He later on moved to the Head Office of SANParks as Chief Operations Officer (COO) for the 19 National Parks except the Kruger National Parks and once acted as Executive Director: Parks before leaving South African National Parks (SANParks). He spent 10 years and 8 months with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as the Deputy Director General (DDG): Biodiversity and Conservation. It is in this role that Fundisile honed his skills on Policy and Legislation Development, Intergovernmental Coordination and Relations and International Negotiations and Relations.

He also served as the Chair of the 13th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) Senior Officials Segment and Vice Chair of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee. Fundisile is currently a Bureau member of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) representing Africa.

On 1 December 2014, Fundisile was appointed Chief Executive Officer of South African National Parks.

Fundisile is a recipient of many achievements notable among these are the 1996 Mount Cameroon Project, 1997 Black Lemur Research Project: Madagascar.

Jacqui Reynolds

An organiser at heart, Jacqui thrives with the adrenaline of the highly-pressurised events industry. As co-owner of On Show Solutions, she has managed a range of client events and has played an instrumental role in expanding Africa’s tourism trade through the Africa Showcase roadshows. Jacqui has specialised in sales, marketing and communications within the eventing space.

Africa Showcase is produced by On Show Solutions, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. On Show Solutions hosts exhibition and workshop platforms in key markets around the world in its quest to promote tourism to Africa.

After cutting her teeth in the industry working on the House and Garden Show in Durban and at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg, Jacqui took a position with Reed Travel Exhibitions in the UK. This involved extensive travel across Europe and the Middle East focusing on core exhibitions such as World Travel Market London, Arabian Travel Market, Mediterranean Travel Fair and CIS Travel Market. On returning to South Africa, Jacqui enjoyed the role of Tourism Exhibition Manager with Kagiso Exhibitions & Events, looking after a number of tourism initiatives and the dynamic South African Tourism account for Indaba. Over the last decade, in addition to running Africa Showcase, Jacqui has managed leading exhibitions such as Meetings Africa and Magical Kenya Travel Expo.

Jacqui has over 20 years experience in exhibition and event management – both locally and internationally. Qualifications include a Masters Degree in Tourism (University of Witwatersrand) and a degree in Public Relations (UNISA).



Louis Nel

Advocate Louis Nel studied at the universities of Stellenbosch, UCT, Wits, Tulane (New Orleans, USA) & London. He holds the degrees B. Comm, Ll.B and Ll.M, completed the Wits EDP & Executive Negotiator Courses, holds diplomas in Marketing and Industrial Relations & is an admitted attorney and advocate.

After 15 years with Rennies as Group Legal Advisor he set up his own consultancy in 1997 focusing on travel & tourism, logistics as well as the Small, Micro & Medium Enterprise (’SMME’) markets. Advocate Nel is a regular contributor to Automobil, Anytime, BTN, Career Success, Entrepreneur, The Event, Field News, Hospitality Marketplace, JFM Transport Facilities, Meet, Meetings SA, Status Quo, Tattler, The Planner, TIR, TIR 360 Galileo eNews, Tourism Update, Travel News Weekly, TravelIInfo and conducts regular countrywide roadshows. He has appeared on a number of Now Media webinars & on national television (‘Your Own Business’ + ‘Right & recourse’ + ‘Agri TV’), Kyknet: Landbousake as well as 702 ‘Talk Radio’, Radio Jakaranda & Classic FM. He has furthermore presented papers at the International Federation for Travel Advocates’ conferences in Monte Carlo & Malta, as well as annually at conferences held by BNI, IIB, ABTA, ACTE, EXSA, FEDHASA, FGASA, GBTA, HWTSA, MICE, ASATA, SATSA, SAACI, Sure Travel, SATC, SITE, CMP, Travel Counsellors & Under Cover & monthly at Wanderers Club on an array of topics.

He offers the travel & tourism industry, logistics industry & SMME market the following: (a) An intimate (36 YEAR!) knowledge thereof (b) Services & products tailor-made for the industry (c) A discounted fee structure & 24/7/365 service via his Legal Advice Club & (d) His unique ‘Legal Audit’tm product aimed at proactive legal compliance (especially with the CPA & POPI) (e) Regular talks at various forums and (f) In-house personalized training. He also works closely with the various travel consortia i.e. Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Club Travel, Connex, eTravel, Flight Specials, HWTSA, Rennies Travel, STA Travel, Sure Travel, Travel Counsellors, Uniglobe & World Travel, travel & tourism bodies such as ASATA, ATTA, EGF, EXSA, FGASA, GBTA, MICE, SAACI, SACIA, SATSA, SITE, SKAL & STPP, TPSA as well as SMME specialists BNI, IIB, Business Partners and FNB. Logistics companies he has advised include Fedex, Freight Services, Intermodal, Magni Logistics, Menlo Worldwide, Roadwing, Schenker, Value Trucking & World Groupage Service & various insurance entities e.g. Camargue, BKA Brokers, Crawford Dougall, GIB, Marsh, M&F, RBS, SANTAM, Staysure, Status Willis Group.

CPA: He has advised 257 businesses, written 246 articles & done 178 presentations
POPI: He has advised 33 businesses, written 85 articles & done 27 presentations

He’s also active in responsible & sustainable tourism as consultant to STPP (Sustainable Tourism Partnership Program) & member of steering committee of EGF (Event Greening Forum).
He is married to Sue; they have four children and live in Bryanston. Louis represented all the universities he studied at on the rugby field & the track. He is still a very active athlete competing in track events both locally & internationally (100m outdoor & 60m indoor), swimming, and tennis. He is an avid reader, gardener, birder, nature lover, wine enthusiast and writes poetry in his spare time.

Marc van Zyl

Marc van Zyl serves as the Managing Director of Bidvest Merchant Services, formerly known as First Data South Africa. Bidvest Merchant services offers some of the most flexible payment acceptance options in the industry, offering merchants around the country the ability to accept electronic payments safely and securely. Mr van Zyl has led business growth from its first client to over 3 800 client locations. Under his leadership, Bidvest Merchant Services has grown its commercial and operational capabilities to allow merchants to confidently entrust it with their payment solutions, so that merchants can focus on growth of their businesses. Bidvest Merchant Services has launched Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) on Point of Sale Terminals in 2017, allowing foreign cardholders to pay for goods and services in their home currency.

Prior to joining the financial services industry in 2013, Marc was in the pharmaceutical and homecare industry, playing a leadership role in the finance area for the largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK for 5 years. Marc is a Chartered Accountant (SA) and member of CIMA in the UK, and holds B Comm Accounting and B Comms Accounting Honours degrees.

Mandlakazi Skefile

Mandlakazi Skefile is the Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) and a passionate tourism industry advocate. During her eight-year tenure as NMBT CEO, she has been deeply influential on positioning the city as an alternate destination to mainstream cities in South Africa.

She has actively lobbied for and supported major city events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ironman South Africa and recently Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2018, IRB World Series Sevens rugby tournament, a growing concerts portfolio, and the naming of the city as the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World. She has also actively participated in bringing to life global partnerships, sister city agreements, and tourism trade and investment opportunities to the benefit of the city – and is a major proponent of sustainable and responsible tourism. She is an accountant by trade and previously worked as NMBT’s finance and accounting manager.


Mateus Tembe (MScBA, Econ) is specialised in Economics and Business Administration. He was issued his Masters’ Degree by the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland. Mateus is acknowledged for his work in Project Finance and Development Projects in Mozambique. He has over 15 years of Programme Management experience in Mozambique and abroad.

Mateus has also consulted with diverse national and foreign companies and organisations for cooperation projects and in 2010 was appointed Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expert in a USD 30 million bilateral project between the governments of Finland and Mozambique. He is currently the Executive Director of the Mozambican Tourism Federation and also the Economic Advisor at the former president Joaquim Chissano’s Foundation in Mozambique.

Mateus Tembe is a shareholder of several companies of a widespread spectrum from Real Estate Development to Agriculture and Communication. Mr. Tembe has working experience in Mozambique, South Africa, Portugal, and Finland.

Monika Iuel

Originally from South Africa, Monika Iuel completed her education and began her working career in Berlin, Germany. She made the move back to Johannesburg in 1995 and has since honed her skills and knowledge through experience in various roles within the tourism industry.

Monika has been CEO of Private Safaris Southern Africa since August 2016. With offices in Cape Town and Windhoek, the team at Private Safaris crafts exceptional travel experiences in Southern Africa – for business or for leisure – using in-depth knowledge, creativity and meticulous planning. Monika has an excellent track record and almost 25 years in tourism, having worked with Your Africa (Tourvest) as Sales and Marketing Director and South African Tourism as General Manager International Marketing.

Nopasika MxunyelwNeil not only has two degrees and an Hotel School diploma he also has a broad base of experience and is equipped to deal with all challenges that present themselves in the broader hospitality industry. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills allow him to build relationships with employers, employees and business owners alike.

With experience to board level and a reputation for strategic leadership he has been instrumental in many business turnarounds. With many years in the hospitality industry people management and empowerment has been the key to driving sustainable profitability in the business in which he has worked and been involved in. A sought after mentor by all levels of staff and management. He has an absolute passion for successful business across all levels of hotels/lodges from 2 star to 5 stars. In recent years Neil’s focus has been on developing relationships and driving profit for owners, multi property management, asset management, hotel openings and running large and complex operations.

Neil successfully introduced the “aha” brand into the market which is fast becoming a household name.

Neil other passions include cycling and golf as well as trying to get a word in, in a female dominated home where he has three daughters and a wife ….





Nopasika Mxunyelw

Armed with 22 years of experience in the field of marketing, ranging from consultancy to management in both private and public sector, Nopasika Mxunyelwa is at the helm of destination marketing for the Eastern Cape, at the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency since June 2015. Prior to her move to ECPTA she spent 4 years as the head of marketing for the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).

Mxunyelwa started her marketing career in 1996 and has accumulated marketing and brand management experience from companies as diverse as the accounting firm SizweNtsaluba VSP (now SizweNtsalubaGobodo), Masana Petroleum Solutions and Kaya FM.

As a young marketer, she worked for iconic brands such as Yardley of London Cosmetics and the pioneering advertising agency, TBWA Hunt Lascaris, Radio Active (SABC Radio Sales & Marketing) and Research International as a Thumb Print Trainee, a programme that exposed her to a broader marketing field.

Mxunyelwa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Cape Town. She recently completed a Global Executive Development Programme with the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science under the stewardship of CATHSSETA, thus proving her with a much needed tourism sector exposure and understanding.

Her interests lie in improving destination packaging, profiling and quality customer service offering for an even greater traveler experience. She further places the potential of the agency to change lives at the top of her list and seeks to ensure that strategies and plans created to elevate the profile of the Eastern Cape tourism sector speak to that mission.

As a migrant labourer’s daughter, Mxunyelwa has been travelling by train and bus since she was little between the Western Transvaal, now the North West and Koloni, the Eastern Cape and has over the years developed a knack for travelling which is central to her passion for destination marketing.

Otto de VriesOtto is the CEO of ASATA (Association of Southern African Travel Agents), the Chairman of the World Travel Agents Association Alliance (WTAAA) and board member of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).

He has been active in the travel industry for 30 years, 20 of those in senior management roles in the inbound, retail and wholesale sectors.
He is a WTAAA delegate to the IATA Passenger Agency Global Joint Council (PAPGJC). Through the Council he has participated on a number of sub-committees, including the steering group on NDC Thought Leadership, the Transparency in Payment Advisory Group and the IATA ADM Working Group. Closer to home he actively participates in the National Tourism Stakeholder Forum (NTSF) and through the TBCSA worked on several committees that focused on the B-BBEE Tourism Sector Code amendments; amendments to the South African Immigration Act and the Market Access/ Regulatory Environment Working Committee of the Department of Tourism.

ASATA represent around 95% of the South African travel industry, in terms of market share and its primary role is to interface with key opinion leaders in the industry and senior Government officials in representing its Members on all issues of common interest. This includes policy, planning, operational and regulatory issues that ensure the ongoing sustainability of the travel industry.

Paul Zille

Paul is an economist specializing in the design, management and evaluation of programmes, funds and financial instruments which promote market-based solutions to poverty reduction, enterprise development and inclusive growth. He has extensive national and international experience over 35 years in the design and management of ‘poverty reduction through market development’ programmes, on behalf of donors, governments and development finance institutions. He specializes in the use of concessionary capital to enable investment partnerships that combine financial returns with social impact.

He was appointed CEO of the Tourism Conservation Fund in January 2018 and, amongst other board appointments, chairs the Nedbank Legacy Trust.




Pieter Geldenhuys comes from a strong retail travel background. After completing his studies at Stellenbosch, he worked for Maties Sure Travel and Tourvest in several different executive capacities. He left Tourvest to pursue a sabbatical as a part-time academic at Lehigh University in Bethelehem, Pennsylvanina, and a lecturer at the Institute for Hospitality Training Cape Town. In 2008 he started PG TOPS Travel and Tours, a boutique Cape Town day trip and Garden Route operator. In 2014 he launched Luxury Safaris South Africa. His success with identifying and training talent both inside and outside of industry prompted the third initiative: Tourism Boot Camp. This non-profit aims to address practical skills shortages, demographic access and aptitude assessments not done by formal tertiary institutions. Three Boot Camps so far, and the simple, practically focused model has proven successful as both a vetting mechanism and supplying industry partners with talented youngsters.


Rob’s interest in tourism is how it can be leveraged to generate the maximum advantage for wildlife and rural community outcomes. He maintains that should a less harmful form of land use come to pass, that exceeds the benefits that tourism generates, then he’ll exit tourism.

For now, tourism is the least harmful land use that he’s aware of, so his focus is to be competitive in tourism! To that end, he is engaged in a variety of projects, including the management of Ongava Game Reserve neighbouring Etosha National Park which provides sanctuary to, inter-alia, a rapidly expanding population of black and white rhinos. A new project in construction is an innovative science and research-based luxury lodge opening in March 2019. Ongava is also expanding wildlife habitat with the acquisition of neighbouring land.

Rob serves as a Trustee of the venerable non-profit Save The Rhino Trust working in partnership with communities in the remote North-West.

Ross Kennedy

Ross Kennedy is the chief executive of Africa Albida Tourism (AAT), a hospitality group operating a portfolio of premium properties in the iconic Southern African destinations of Victoria Falls and Chobe, including the flagship Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

Ross is also a leading figure in Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, often featuring in magazine and newspaper articles, both locally and internationally, speaking on current issues relevant to the destination.

A recipient of numerous industry awards, Ross has also served as chairman of African Travel and Tourism Association (ATTA), a United Kingdom-based organisation that promotes tourism to Africa from all corners of the world.

Born in Bulawayo and educated in Harare, Ross learned his trade at South Devon Technical College in England, before beginning his career at the Jameson Hotel in Harare, and going on to operate hotels, pubs and restaurants in the UK.

It was during this time, more than a quarter of a century ago, that an old friend, Dave Glynn, AAT Chairman, called to say he had found a piece of land for a possible development in Victoria Falls, and invited Ross and his wife Karen to be become involved as the hoteliers in the project.

They jumped at the opportunity to return home, and the rest is history. While Ross puts enormous energy into his professional life, he is also very much a family man, with four adult children, and five grandchildren.

Ross is a Fellow of the Institute of Travel & Tourism (F.Inst.TT) and Member of the Institute of Hospitality (MIH) as well as Trustee of Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit.


Ryan has worked in sales since 1994, joining tourism in 1998. Initially focused on outbound wholesale sales servicing the retail segment, he transitioned to luxury lodge and DMC sales spanning the full tourism value chain across most source markets.

He spent 4 years in consulting focussing on strategy, project management, sales and salesforce transformation in FMCG, Financial Services and Energy Sectors in South Africa and the UK. For the last 6 years Ryan has led andBeyond’s source market salesforce for Africa, Asia and South America, the Africa permanent sales and touring operations teams which include B2B and B2C businesses for the lodges and integrated touring operations.

He holds a Humanities undergraduate and Master’s degree in business. He is an avid runner, husband and father.

ShamillaChettiarShamilla Chettiar is the Deputy Director General: Destination Development at the Department of Tourism. This role involves dealing with planning, investment and enhancement of tourism spaces, places, routes and experiences. Shamilla has gained management skills and experience in an unusually high number of varied disciplines. These range from strategy and policy development, research, monitoring and evaluation, land use and spatial planning to organisational development, public participation and public-private partnerships. Shamilla holds a BSc, BSc Hons, HDip.Ed. and an MSc in Community Psychology. Shamilla is a passionate public servant committed to high performance team delivery.

Sisa Ntshona

Sisa Ntshona has been at the helm of South African Tourism from October 2016. Since joining the organisation, Ntshona has been instrumental in driving the organisation’s overarching 5-in-5 strategy which aims to have 14 million tourists visiting South Africa annually by 2021.

Ntshona has also recently overseen South African Tourism’s organisational restructure in line with global best practice.
With over 20 years’ experience he has held several strategic leadership positions across different jurisdictions in Africa & Middle East in blue chip corporations and multinationals. Having initially joined Barclays Africa as an Investment Banker, he later moved to become the Head of its SME Banking Division, a role he held until joining SA Tourism.

Mr Ntshona also has worked in the aviation industry for South African Airways, Financial Services Money Transfer, Western Union and Manufacturing, Parmalat Food Industries.
An accountant by training, he holds a string of commerce qualifications including a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from GIBS and an International Executive Programme (IEP) from INSEAD Business School in France. He has also served on a number of boards including as non-Exec Board Member for the Enterprise Development Council of South Africa and Livity Africa, a youth development NPO.


Tim Harris is the CEO of Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Tim previously served as Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Finance for the Democratic Alliance (DA). He holds a BA in English Literature and a Masters in Economics from the University of Cape Town. Tim currently sits on the board of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the Cape Town Film Studios and BPESA.

Zoe Molapisi

CEO and founder of By Design Africa, Zoe Molapisi has 18 years’ experience in the global tourism sector in a variety of roles, from organising events to hosting groups to advising sector partners.
Ms Molapisi is a seasoned entrepreneur who has a company with a footprint across the African continent with blue chip and Fortune 500 companies. By Design Africa is a leading Destination Management Organisation, offering a wide range of services with a special focus on MICE programmes and a growing FIT division. Her team is made up of the most experienced event planners, professional conference organisers and destination specialists.

Her achievements reflect the passion she brings to all she does. She has received global recognition:
• as a participant in the Fortune/US State Department Global Woman’s Mentor Partnership, a mentoring programme for emerging women leaders from around the world; and
• as an invited guest to the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit held in the US, a gathering of the world’s most extraordinary leaders including pre-eminent women in business, government, philanthropy, education and the arts.

Ms Molapisi was also a finalist in a number of national business awards, including the Metropolitan Empowerment Awards in the young black entrepreneur category; the 2010 All Access African National Business Awards in the top young entrepreneur category; and in the Top Women in Business and Government Awards in the top young woman entrepreneur category.
She is driven by the philosophy of CREATE, INSPIRE, ENTERTAIN.