Carry-on’s never been this easy

Like any frequent traveller, I am always on the lookout for luggage that is durable, user friendly and suitable for my travel needs. It’s also a bonus when everything I need to take with can fit into one bag that can be stowed in an overhead compartment.

THULE Subterra Carry-On Credit: Renate Engelbrecht

Travel needs also continuously changes as life changes. Since our baby girl was born, I inevitably had to re-evaluate the practicality of my luggage. If there is one thing that can really get on my nerves, it is struggling with something which should be assisting you. The same goes for luggage – it is there to assist you in transporting your valuables, not to frustrate you with wheels that can’t carry the weight, zips that break or impractical design. I’ve been looking for something that could tick all the boxes in terms of comfort when it comes to travelling. Something that is easy to carry and pull; durable, but not heavy; with handles placed at comfortable angles and in sensible positions considering picking up, pulling and taking out of vehicles and overhead stowage and something that would stand the test of time, because boy, oh, boy, travelling has become expensive!

The latest addition to my luggage collection has proven to be quite handy for multiple travel needs. Whether I travel with my family or for work, the THULE Subterra Carry-On has become my go-to carry-on bag as it is light and durable with its interior brilliantly designed. It’s also quite presentable, which helps me to travel in style.

THULE Subterra Carry-On Credit: Renate Engelbrecht

I’ve found that this carry-on bag is perfect for bleisure travel, as it has a divided main compartment, which assists in keeping your work outfits from your play outfits or clean clothes from dirty clothes.

THULE Subterra Carry-On Credit: Renate Engelbrecht

Travelling with a hat often frustrates me, as I don’t want to wear it indoors, but I like to keep it close for when we get on and off the plane and carrying it by hand is just a schlep. With THULE’s Subterra Carry-On‘s piggyback strap, which can easily be attached and removed, I can travel with at least one hand free.

The bag’s wheels seem to be larger than the norm, making it much easier to pull and they are of really good quality too. So is the handle, which can be adjusted, as well as the bag’s exoskeleton and polycarbonate back panel.

Travelling with THULE has made an immense difference on the way I pack and travel. It’s easier and more organised and it calms the nerves.

THULE Subterra Carry-On C

 

Venue: Menlyn Boutique HotelCarry-On: THULE SA | Flower print dress: EdgarsBlack shoes: Sissy BoyJeans: EdgarsLace top: Pick ‘n Pay ClothingSneakers: SovietGray dress: Pick ‘n Pay ClothingRing: PandoraWatch: HuaweiEarrings: Lovisa | Hat: Woolworths

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Christmas is in the air with Nespresso

Okay, I’ll admit it. The fairy lights and Christmas carols around every corner are some of the things that brighten up my day this time of the year. Not the kitsch Santa toys, bright red and green decorations and one-line Christmas jingles – the more sophisticated kind of Christmas things. I mean, have you seen the beautiful decor items at @Home this year? Even Santa’s Warehouse has a few more sophisticated wooden Christmas items among all the brightly coloured and flickering lights.

And, have you seen what Nespresso has to offer for the Season? They’ve got a few options to choose from too:

Parisian-Inspired Coffee and Petit Fours

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the Festive Season that tantalises our senses and heightens our expectations, so why not up the ante and treat your loved ones to Parisian-inspired coffee and petit fours? Nespresso has launched their annual Limited Edition Variations coffees, made with Parisian treats in mind. These coffees, inspired by the traditional French flavours of Parisian patisseries, including Macaron and Praliné, are the crème de la crème of decadent delight. These treats are perfect for any summer soiree.

Try this recipe:

Paris Praliné Indulgence

1 Capsule Variations Paris Praline, brewed as an espresso

100 ml Milk

1 tsp Hazelnut Crumbs

1 tsp Dark Chocolate Shavings

2 tsp Chocolate Spread

How to: 

Pour 2 tsp of chocolate spread into a cup. Extract the coffee over it. Froth your milk and pour on top of the coffee. Sprinkle some hazelnut crumbs and dark chocolate shavings on top.

Enjoy!

Picnic with Iced Coffee

A tip for your iced coffee: Infuse ice cubes with interesting flavoured syrups. As the day gets warmer and the ice melts, your drink will slowly, but surely change flavour.

Road Trip!

Appreciate what our country has to offer and take on the open road with a great playlist, good company and a couple of charged Nespresso travel mugs with your favourite brew.

Pool Plunger

Who said you can’t have coffee by the pool? A refreshing iced coffee cocktail sounds like the way to go. Here is a recipe to try:

Variations Paris Macaron with Almond Milk

1 capsule Variations Paris Macaron, brewed as Espresso

30 ml Almond Milk

10 ml Almond Syrup

4 Ice cubes

How to:

Pour the almond syrup into a cup. Place 4 big ice cubes in the glass. Pour in the almond milk. Extract the coffee over it. Add the remaining two ice cubes and mix.

There you have it. A coffee-filled Christmas – two of my favourites at once. Bam!

Buy these Variations at Nespresso Boutiques and Booths nationwide, from The Nespresso Club on 0800 637773 or online at https://www.buynespresso.com/ 

 

Travelling must-haves

When travelling, packing smart is just as important than packing light. With these essentials, you’ll be prepared for any trip. Choose items efficiently and make sure you can manage with your luggage by yourself.

Hard-shell Rolling Suitcase

Although soft suitcases are great for squeezing in extra items, when it comes to rainy weather, no one wants to sit in a situation where you must drag your bag through the rain. We recommend a hard-shell rolling case like the K-Way Spinner 65L Roller available from Cape Union Mart.

Backpack

Not only does a backpack spread the weight, it also ensures that you can easily access all the essentials while travelling hands-free. The Anti-Theft Waterproof Travel Laptop Backpack is available at R499 from Takealot.com.

Foldable Down Jacket

A warm jacket is a definite travel essential. Down Jackets like the K-Way Tundra Down Jacket is very compact and won’t take up much space in your suitcase. Roll it into its pouch and it doubles up as a travel pillow.

Scarf

A large scarf can serve a variety of purposes – keeping warm, dressing up, covering your head or padding a fragile souvenir. Poetry has a wide variety of scarves to choose from. Go check them out on http://www.poetrystores.co.za.

Multi-Purpose Shoes

Two pairs are all you need. Leave behind the high heels you’ll only wear once and rather take one pair of waterproof, sturdy sneakers and a pair of comfortable shoes that can be used on long walks as well as for going out.

Wipes

When travelling, you want to avoid getting ill at all costs. We always prefer Dettol’s Personal Care Wipes, available at Clicks, to keep you feeling fresh and clean.

Customized First-Aid Kit

We suggest that you pack pain-pills, anti-itch creams, motion sickness tablets, stomach meds, cold/flu medicine, bandages and eye drops. Don’t forget your multivitamins!

Flip Flops

In addition to the above-mentioned two pairs of shoes, a pair of flip flops is also an essential. Flip-flops are water resistant and are flat enough to take up minimal space in a suitcase. Our favourite is the tried-and-tested Havaianas.

Pen

A pen will always come handy. Think filling in customs forms, doing Sudoku puzzles or doodling on a napkin.

Notebook

Be it for diarising memories made on an adventure or writing essential numbers – one simply cannot travel without a notebook. Hello Pretty has a variety of notebooks to choose from.

Noise-cancelling earphones

One way to make the best of a situation where you have noisy plane neighbours is to block out the noise while keeping yourself entertained. The Gadget Shop stocks most of the top noise-cancelling earphones.

Portable Power Bank Charger

Make sure to pack a portable charger. You don’t want to waste time waiting for your electronics to charge. A great portable charger is the 10000mAh Ultra Compact Power Bank available from Chargedpower.com. 

Face Essentials

Cleansing and moisturizing are the two smartest steps you can take for your skin when travelling. Look for a cleanser that is both soothing and that can gently remove makeup on the go. Once your face is makeup-freeClinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizer will hydrate even the driest complexion.

Sunscreen

Did you know that it is advisable to apply sunscreen in-flight, especially if you’re in the window seat? The altitude can expose you to harmful UVA rays.

Lip Balm

The Proudly South African Zam-Buk lip balm is all you need. Cherry Kiss Zam-Buk lip balm is available at Clicks and is perfect for all day use.

Small bag of toiletries

Luggage get lost so easily when travelling. The last thing you want to do is spend R500 on all the toiletries you’d need when your bags get lost. Pack a small bag with necessary items to keep in your hand luggage. Make use of Dischem’s Travelmate bottle set for some of your hair and skincare products.

 

Written by: Katrien Nel

Where to go on your next trip

I was recently asked where I want to travel to next. This question was difficult as, when it comes to travelling, any destination is an opportunity for discovery, inspiration, learning, adventure, relaxation or all of these combined!

As travel time is limited, the decision on where to go shouldn’t be taken lightly. Travelling Mystery Guest has compiled a list of criteria to help narrow down your options.

Consider your budget

Knowing how much you have to spend will help you decide where to go on your next trip. Considering what you want to spend your money on is just as important.  Some prefer to travel for longer rather than spending money on expensive meals and accommodation. Others will splurge on luxury accommodation and top restaurants even if it means a shorter stay. Only you can decide what is worth spending your hard earned money on.

Ask yourself why

Why do you want to travel? Do you want to learn something new or relax and get a tan? Do you want an adventure? Have fun with friends or travel solo? Have a break from work or reconnect with a loved one? Knowing why you want to travel makes the decision of which destination to go to much easier.

How far do you want to go?

Travelling doesn’t have to include long flights. South Africa is such a diverse country and if you do a bit of research, you’ll see that you most likely haven’t explored half of it. Decide whether you want to travel domestically, visit our neighbouring countries or go for something completely different abroad.

Decide on your preferred environment

City, beach or countryside? Cold or hot weather? Not everyone is enthusiastic about snowy, cold weather and are drawn to warmer climates. Think of the weather, landscape and style of the destination you want to visit to narrow down your travel choices.

Different or familiar culture?

It’s important to consider whether you want to visit a country that has a similar culture to yours or experience something different from what you are used to. Being in a country with an unfamiliar culture can be lonesome and stressful but it can also be incredibly exciting and inspirational. Do thorough research on the culture of the destinations you are considering before making a decision.

So much to do…

Time is precious when travelling, so plan your travel activities wisely. If you want explore the outdoors, think of travelling to a destination that is known for great hiking routes. If a great culinary experience is what you are after, look for destinations that have a reputation for excellent cuisine. If you are interested in art, consider travelling to cities with the world’s major art galleries. Decide on activities and organize your trip around them.

Wherever you go, make the most of the experience. Remember – you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do so have an open mind and broaden your travel wishes.

 

Written by: Katrien Nel

COLLABORATION, SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, UNIQUE EXPERIENCES – KEY TO CAPE WINELANDS TOURISM GROWTH

11. Lunch enjoyed at Spier by the speakers and delegates (HR) The recent edition of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference saw those operating in the Cape’s wine, food and hospitality industries gather at Spier in Stellenbosch to glean insights from local and international specialists, and engage in informative discussions focused on growing revenue and loyalty for tourism in the Cape Winelands.

 

1. Margi Biggs, convenor of The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference 2017 (HR).jpg

Margi Biggs

Now in its second year, the annual conference is convened by seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Margi Biggs.  She believes that travel and tourism can potentially contribute significantly more than it currently does to South Africa’s national GDP.  The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.  The indirect contribution was approximately 9%, according to South African Tourism.

 

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Rico Basson

Rico Basson, executive director of Vinpro, the non-profit organisation that represents around 3 500 South African wine producers and cellars, used the example of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (WISE) initiative, launched in 2015, to illustrate how collaboration is paramount to unlocking value and stimulating growth.  WISE was developed by the South African wine and brandy industry to help it reach a desirable future state by 2025. Its robust and adaptable approach is geared towards driving profitability, global competitiveness and sustainability. It is a collaborative effort driven by Vinpro, SALBA (South African Liquor Brandowners Association), SAWIS (South African Wine Industry Information and Systems), WOSA (Wines of South Africa) and Winetech (Wine Industry Network of Expertise and Technology). 

Basson mentioned key targets for the industry towards 2025, such as building a greater presence in strategic markets, specifically in the US and Africa; growing Cape wine tourism to increase visitor numbers by 25%; and increasing Cape wine tourism’s annual direct contribution to South Africa’s national GDP from R6 billion to R16 billion. He also highlighted the use of technology and research in continuing to create a sustainable future for the overall industry.

19. Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro (HR)

Tim Harris

Tim Harris, head of Wesgro, the Western Cape’s trade and investment promotion agency, foresees continued growth potential in tourism for the region. He referenced the Fourth Industrial Revolution, its disruptive effect on all economies, and especially the necessity for Africa to adapt in terms of digital skills development, changing business models and public-private partnerships to advance its ‘Africa rising’ narrative.

 

 

8. Speaker, Linda d'Holt Hacker getting more insight from the speakers (HR).jpg

Linda D’Holt-Hacker

“The Cape Winelands offers a high quality slow product in a world where time is seen as increasingly rare and valuable. The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference provides an incredible opportunity to celebrate this,” Harris said.    

5. Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo from South African Tourism (HR).jpg

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo

Representing South African Tourism, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo explained how the entity is rallying South Africans and the economic sector to fully support tourism growth with the launch of the ‘We Do Tourism’ movement, on 29 September 2017. “Every citizen of South Africa plays a role in local tourism. We are in a crisis if we don’t support tourism. It creates jobs, enriches lives and brings people together.”

 

 

 

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Jerry Mabena

Jerry Mabena, CEO of Thebe Services that owns the Thebe Tourism Group surmised that South African Afropolitans could boost the annual South African economy by more than R2 billion and grow tourism. That is if they are given appealing reasons to travel to the Cape Winelands.  He described Afropolitans as cosmopolitan Africans; global in their outlook, straddling the divide between African and Western cultures, and having the disposable income for travel. Yet they are not really targeted by the local travel and tourism industry.

Mabena suggested that wineries rethink and refocus their marketing efforts, and create events around wine drinking, activated in spaces that Afropolitans can relate to. “Make wine drinking accessible – take away the snob value and mystery but leave some ‘upmarket’ attributes.  Encourage Afropolitans to meet the owners and/or winemakers at cellars – make them feel like they are guests, not just random customers.

“Big events such as the annual Soweto Wine Festival have and continue to play a major part in bringing wine and wine-related experiences into the consideration sets of Afropolitans. Create more of these and combine wine with whisky, cognac and other spirit experiences. Experiences create stories. Polo and wine festivals seem to attract Afropolitans – expand those.”

 

10. Dr Robin Back (HR)

Dr. Robin Back

Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US, shared the findings of his recent research study that looked specifically at the effect of a winery visit on brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour. He explained that the results indicated that winery tourism does in fact have a positive long-term effect on brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour, but that the strongest effect of positive winery visitation appears to be on brand loyalty, which is shown not to diminish over time. He also mentioned the significant role of frequent and continuous communication with those who have visited, to further strengthen the bond between the brand and the consumer. Back added that wine tourism should be incorporated into overall winery marketing plans.

4. Delegates listening to Don Shindle (HR)

Conference delegates learned about the art of impeccable service from Don Shindle, an expert in customer service from Napa, California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre. He explained the importance of expertly and thoroughly trained staff, empowered to act with confidence, in achieving top service standards.  “Everything communicates, so engage your workers and enable them to perform.  Be agile in practices to create loyalty beyond reason, and delivery your brand promise. Teamwork means I am you, and you are me.”

3. Don Shindle general manager of The Westin Verasa Napa (HR)

Don Shindle

Shindle’s thinking was echoed by Linda d’Holt-Hacker of South Africa’s The Touch Company, that assists large and small organisations in developing and fine-tuning outstanding customer journeys and brand experiences. Showcasing a model she calls ‘The Hosting Paradigm’ as a tool for effective decision-making, she also outlined how crucial it is for employees to understand very clearly why they do what they do – in other words, to have a sense of real purpose aligned with the brand they represent. In addition, she shared insights on how to align guest experiences with a brand’s core values, and highlighted the need for a shift in how service staff are perceived and think about themselves. 

 

16. Kevin Arnold, cellar-master & managing partner of Waterford Wine Estate (HR).jpg

Kevin Arnold

Waterford Estate’s Kevin Arnold outlined best practice for winery tasting centres. He believes that wine brands are built in the tasting room and that unique, innovative and personal tasting experiences are paramount to creating memorable value. “At Waterford, we’ve found that we sell more wine and build greater loyalty when offering guests not only a tasting, but an experience such as a vineyard safari where they get to taste our wines outside, in the vineyards. Personalised experiences help us form real connections with our guests. Wine brings them through the door, experience brings them back.” Arnold views visitors as guests, not customers.  He also believes in in-depth training and development of staff, mentorship, building confidence and ensuring that employee aspirations fit with those of the brand.

 

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Kelly Jackson

General manager of Contiki in South Africa, Kelly Jackson, presented ways in which virtual reality could be very effectively used as a strategic marketing tool to bring a product or service to life. She however cautioned against using virtual reality as a gimmick, and suggested that brands use it only if it fits with the experience they aim to promote.

 

 

7. Andrea Robinson, master sommelier for Delta Air Lines (HR)

Andrea Robinson

Meanwhile, world-renowned US lifestyle TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female Master Sommeliers in the world, covered the process of choosing wines for Delta Air Lines and showed how the airline uses its marketing and media properties such as its in-flight magazine and on-board entertainment system to highlight specific wines and wine routes.  She also elaborated on other marketing activities including sponsorships and partnerships, themed wine region promotions in strategically located hubs, and the up-skilling of flight attendants in terms of wine knowledge and service.

 

9. Panel discussion headed by Dr Jaisheila Rajput, Jessica Shepherd, Luke Grant & Joe Stead (HR)

Dr Jaisheila Rajput, founder and CEO of Tomorrow Matters Now (TOMA-Now), an independent consultancy focused on developing the green economy with special emphasis on value chain management and growth, together with Joe Stead of the Spur Corporation and Luke Grant and Jessica Shepherd of The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch, winner of the Eat Out Sustainability Award in 2016, presented a panel discussion focused on the role hotels, wineries, restaurants and consumers can play in promoting a sustainable future, particularly addressing the issue of food waste management.

 Rajput said that the sustainability movement had already started in South Africa, with clear examples provided by Stead, Grant and Shepherd. Stead mentioned that although waste management is a complex issue, the Spur Corporation has had major successes, from Spur restaurants recycling cooking oil to produce biodiesel, to John Dory outlets eliminating all plastic packaging in a bid to tackle the issue of ocean pollution.   

 

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Wendy Masters

Reputation management and strategic communication specialist Wendy Masters of The Phoenix Partnership, based in Cape Town, educated delegates on the key phases of crisis communication: prepare, respond and recover. She believes that reputation is about delivery, not promise, and described how pro-active approaches to crisis situations could actually strengthen brand reputation, citing the example of The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands, Cape Town.  “When the water shortage crisis in the Western Cape became evident, immediate action was taken to remove plugs from bath tubs and install low-flow shower heads in all guest bathrooms. These efforts clearly demonstrated the hotel’s commitment to sustainability, recognised and applauded by guests and other stakeholders such as local government,” Masters said.  

 

Desert Destinations

With all the possible holiday destinations, it can be quite overwhelming when planning your travels. Since we are entering warmer temperatures again, Travelling Mystery Guest took a look at some interesting desert destinations to visit. Some are in our neighbouring countries and some are very far, never the less, they do not disappoint:

  1. Canyon Lodge, Namibia

Located near the Fish River Canyon, not only does this lodge provide activities for all visitors, but their unique stone chalets will make you feel part of the beautiful Namibian desert. For South Africans, this lodge is not too far from home and for international travellers, this oasis is worth the distance.

  1. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa

Located in the lush Catarpe Valley of the Salt Mountain Range (in Chile, South America), this destination is for those looking to travel further than South Africa’s neighbouring desert. Similar to the architectural design of the Canyon Lodge, the Alto Atacama Desert Lodge blends in with its surroundings, making you feel part of the terracotta ridge that rises behind it.

  1. Kubu Island
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Baobab in Botswana

Though this island’s location may not be defined as desert, the Kubu Island in Botswana (in the Makgadikgadi Pan area), consists of dry granite rock that features some beautiful Baobabs. An interesting fact about this destination is that the entire island is a national monument and it is considered sacred by the natives living in the area.

  1. Salvador Dali Desert, Bolivia

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The name of this desert, originating from the environment’s resemblance to Salvador Dali’s landscapes, already paints a picture in our minds of what to expect from this desert destination. It consists of long stretches of rocky hills, sand dunes and lagoons. So if it’s really desert that you’re after, you’ll find it here. This desert is in South America (close to Chile).

  1. Luxury Desert Camp in Erg Chebbi

Erg Chebbi is one of Morocco’s two Saharan ergs (a sand sea), the other is Erg Chigaga. The Luxury Desert Camp provides a true Moroccan experience in the desert, with the culture adding to every aspect of this camp. Camping in tents completed with Moroccan décor whilst surrounded by camels and the sun setting behind a dune would be an amazing experience!

Written by: Alicia Redelinghuys

 

 

Wine and Food Conference to show how to grow Loyalty and Revenue for Cape Tourism

 

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9 billion, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

Margi Biggs

Commenting on the WTTC findings presented in its recent 2017 Economic Impact Report, Margi Biggs, convenor of the upcoming The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference, set to take place in Stellenbosch in the spring, said:

“The good news is that the council has projected the sector’s contribution to domestic GDP will rise by 2,7% in 2017, a very welcome increase given the subdued state of our local economy.”

A seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Biggs contends that travel and tourism can contribute still further to the national GDP, “provided we, as an industry, take note of new trends in consumer spending, behaviour and priorities to make our food and tourism offerings more compelling and more competitive, while upping the standard of our execution and service delivery.”

“If we get it right, the impact will be substantial.  It will help to build skills, create economic opportunities and reduce unemployment, generating greater prosperity for more South Africans.  We have all the right ingredients: beautiful locations, a growing reputation for world-class food and wines, and friendly and welcoming hospitality staff.  We just have to finesse what we are doing with the technology and research we now have at our disposal, while applying new thinking to marketing and problem-solving.”

 

She said the annual conference, now in its second year, would be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists and would focus on best practice and how to improve the customer experience. An important feature of the forum would be the various ways in which wine and food impact customer loyalty.

“There is a growing view internationally that customer experience will ultimately drive more loyalty than complicated point-based programmes and schemes. We need to take note.”

Amongst this year’s keynote speakers is CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. His address will explore how the food and wine experience can promote South Africa’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination. Included in the line-up of international speakers are Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicenter. World-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world will also be there. Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US will be looking specifically at the impact on loyalty of cellar door visits. The programme will also cover such topics as virtual reality, attracting new markets, and PR trouble shooting.

The conference takes place at Spier on Wednesday, 20 September.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.

Early Bird registration is now open at a fee of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate, and ends on 12 June. The standard cost per delegate is R3 950 (excl. VAT), and ends on 18 August.  If you register and pay after 18 August, the cost rises to R4 500 (excl. VAT) per person.