Sun International pursues GCC MICE opportunities

South Africa’s tourism and leisure group, Sun International has set out to secure its share of the Gulf region’s flourishing outbound MICE market.

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By  Gemma Hornett Published  August 12, 2006

South Africa’s tourism and leisure group, Sun International has set out to secure its share of the Gulf region’s flourishing outbound MICE market. The company has appointed Dubai-based Fusion Marketing Management to market and promote its portfolio of properties and services in the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain and has already received expressions of interest from several companies including UAE travel agency chain, Thomas Cook Al Rostamani. “I think the UAE will be one of our key markets, particularly with Etihad and Emirates flying here on a daily basis,” said Ruth Hulatt, sales and marketing manager, inbound and Middle East, Sun International. The GCC currently accounts for 3% (7500) of Sun International’s room nights annually, the majority of which are leisure-orientated, according to Hulatt. “Around 50% are FIT travellers, 38% leisure and 12% conference and incentives,” she said. “Therefore, the MICE market presents the biggest growth opportunity.” One of South Africa’s key selling points is value for money (US $1 = 7 Rand at time of press). Top quality conference facilities and the diverse range of scenery and activities of offer are also an attractive proposition, particularly in Sun City and the surrounding area of Pilanesburg National Park. Of the 14 hotels managed by Sun International’s resorts division, the Palace of the Lost City, the Sun City Hotel, Cascades and Cabanas, all in Sun City, and the 329-room Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town are highly geared towards the MICE market, said Hulatt.

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