The VA TourismPodcast

Kojo Bentum-Williams

The VA Tourism Podcast is a dedicated platform for discussing happenings in the travel and tourism sector. It is hosted by Kojo Bentum-Williams, the Managing Editor and Publisher of Africa's Leading Travel Media VoyagesAfriq Travel Media

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Mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level- Linda Pereira
Yesterday
Mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level- Linda Pereira
My conversation today is about the opportunities that the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (mice) offer for young people. Dr. Linda Pereira, an industry leader with over 3 decades of experience in business events says mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level. ays the MICE masterclass will be a refresher course and a learning curve for practitioners in the industry. Linda Pereira is the senior partner and CEO of the L&I Communications Group. In addition to her long and respected career as one of the most influential voices in the Meeting Industry, she is also Executive Director of CPL Meetings &Events. Respected internationally as a speaker, consultant, strategic communication expert, writer, and as an educator, she has been an invited speaker in over 149 countries on all continents. She is an expert in communication and corporate diplomacy and has vast experience in cross-cultural communication strategies, localization, and public speaking and as a master of ceremonies.    She has worked on the major events which marked the last 30 years of modern history, from World EXPOs to Football and Sports Championships, various EU Presidencies, and major political events. She is also an invited lecturer at five different international Universities where she lectures on strategic meetings management and corporate diplomacy and protocol. She is absolutely passionate about associations and sits on a variety of international association boards herself. Linda is also a consultant to a variety of international Governments and associations. She was considered one of Portugal’s five most influential people in the industry and has received various international education awards as well as the medal of honour for responsible entrepreneurship for her commitment to promoting culture and heritage and for Social Responsibility initiatives.
Mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level- Linda Pereira
Yesterday
Mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level- Linda Pereira
My conversation today is about the opportunities that the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (mice) offer for young people. Dr. Linda Pereira, an industry leader with over 3 decades of experience in business events says mice is a driver of talents and a way of spreading knowledge at an inexpensive level. ays the MICE masterclass will be a refresher course and a learning curve for practitioners in the industry. Linda Pereira is the senior partner and CEO of the L&I Communications Group. In addition to her long and respected career as one of the most influential voices in the Meeting Industry, she is also Executive Director of CPL Meetings &Events. Respected internationally as a speaker, consultant, strategic communication expert, writer, and as an educator, she has been an invited speaker in over 149 countries on all continents. She is an expert in communication and corporate diplomacy and has vast experience in cross-cultural communication strategies, localization, and public speaking and as a master of ceremonies.    She has worked on the major events which marked the last 30 years of modern history, from World EXPOs to Football and Sports Championships, various EU Presidencies, and major political events. She is also an invited lecturer at five different international Universities where she lectures on strategic meetings management and corporate diplomacy and protocol. She is absolutely passionate about associations and sits on a variety of international association boards herself. Linda is also a consultant to a variety of international Governments and associations. She was considered one of Portugal’s five most influential people in the industry and has received various international education awards as well as the medal of honour for responsible entrepreneurship for her commitment to promoting culture and heritage and for Social Responsibility initiatives.
Using Gastronomy to empower communities: the story of Chef Fatmata Binta
Jul 31 2022
Using Gastronomy to empower communities: the story of Chef Fatmata Binta
My Guest today is the Founder of Fulani Kitchen Chef Fatmata Binta. Chef Binta who has become the first African to win the Basque World Culinary Prize opens on her journey to achieving this noble prize in gastronomy and set sights on expansion of her projects aimed to bring change to the people of her community and also help grow the knowledge of African gastronomy in the world. Founder - Fulani Kitchen Foundation / Executive Chef - Dine on a Mat Chef Binta is an award winning chef born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone to first-generation Sierra Leonean Fulanis of Guinean descent. She is a modern day nomadic chef. Like her ancestors, Binta has traveled to many countries to explore different cooking techniques, ingredients and ways of life. At Fulani Kitchen, she combines her nomadic Fulani roots, classical training and love for rural life and nature to create modern dishes, while maintaining the simplicity and authenticity of Fulani culture.  By creating a traditional setting, discussing Fulani culture and serving ancient grains, indigenous spices and other exciting West-African ingredients in an interactive way, Binta triggers all senses and takes you to a whole new world.  Food for Sustenance Her passion to share African nomadic cuisine is based on her experiences as a child growing up during the darkest period of Sierra Leonean history- the civil war. She experienced first hand how food brings people together and pulls down walls. Many times during the conflict no one could go out to buy food or food was simply not available. She saw neighbors from different backgrounds contribute, share and prepare meals together to make something out of nothing.  The rice they could afford was filled with cockroaches which they had to hand pick, repeatedly wash and blend with bulgur in order to get enough to share for everyone. What she calls creating food for sustenance; learning to create totally new dishes with just a handful of ingredients, sharing and working together, was not only a life-saving skill in a war zone, it has actually made her the chef she is today.  Fulani Cuisine Ambassador Chef Binta presents herself as an ambassador for Fulani cuisine and she promotes fonio, an ancient super grain, traditionally grown and consumed in West Africa. Over the last couple of years, fonio, as a result of its similarity to quinoa, has gained more attention in international culinary circles. And rightfully so- it’s gluten free, extremely nutritious, requires minimal water to grow, has a shorter life cycle than its similar foods, is more disease and drought resilient and gives back more nutrients to the soil than other staple crops like rice and maize. This little grain might possibly be one of the answers to food security and climate challenges to come. Binta’s menu almost always features this super grain, fonio, as she continues to promote its value to her guests on the mat.
Tourism is becoming extremely relevant for young people -UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Jul 19 2022
Tourism is becoming extremely relevant for young people -UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
In today’s episode, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake is my Guest. At the recently held Global Youth Tourism Summit in Sorrento, Jayathma implored the youth not to wait to be invited to the table but take the initiatives they feel strongly about it since it’s the surest way to effect change. She applauded the UNWTO for organizing the landmark youth summit. Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. She is the youngest senior official in the UN and the first woman to hold this position. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of the organization’s work — sustainable development, human rights, peace and security, and humanitarian action — and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General. In 2019 Jayathma was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the “Time 100 Next: Rising stars shaping the future” and in 2020 she was recognized by Forbes magazine as part of its “30 under 30” list.   Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, including playing a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country. Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women, in Sri Lanka through the “Hashtag Generation” movement. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.
Backpacking 54 countries in Africa: The fascinating story of Solo Traveller Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi
May 31 2022
Backpacking 54 countries in Africa: The fascinating story of Solo Traveller Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi
In today’s episode, Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi a solo traveler and author of a travel memoir titled: “A safari back to self – Backpacking 54 countries in Africa” narrates her fascinating travels in Africa having literally covered the entire continent with public transport. Having travelled to 4 continents across the world, it is her solo travels across 54 African countries that has captured her heart the most. She is left with only one country (not due to lack of trying from her side) to complete setting foot in the whole continent. She shares her story as a contribution to reclaiming the African narrative in hope that this brings a certain understanding amongst Africans and pride that compels us to do better for one another and see the need to build for the benefit of each and every one of us. Besides an African map clearly outlining the routes she took from one country to the next, her self-published book vividly depicts minute by minute details of her authentic journey across Africa, crossing land borders and using public transport. You get an insider’s account as she navigates between cultures, religions, languages, currencies, issues and delights across the rest of Africa. From attending weddings, funerals, throwing kiddies parties, night clubs, getting hospitalized, sleeping on rooftops, at the beach, on the roadside among strangers, at the police station, starring in her own movie of jumping on and off moving vehicles, surviving deportation, endless immigration processes - to being fed and warmly welcomed into homes of people who felt the need to protect her regardless of having never met her before. Boipelo is an alumna of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) with a N-Dip in Engineering Computer Systems and a B-Tech degree in Knowledge Management.
Talking Wesgro’s Tourism Restart Strategy with Monika iuel
May 3 2022
Talking Wesgro’s Tourism Restart Strategy with Monika iuel
My conversation today is with the Chief Marketing Officer of Wesgro Monika iuel on Western Cape’s progress in its tourism restart strategy. She says she is encouraged by the present numbers of inbound travels to cape town which presently sits at 55% of 2019 figures. Monika has a long-standing passion for Southern African tourism, a deep knowledge of the international marketplace, and strong industry relationships at home and abroad. She has extensive experience in the industry, spending the first half of her career in the inbound tourism industry, including 13 years at Tourvest Destination Management. Monika then spent 4 years at South African Tourism, initially as Regional Director for the Americas and ultimately as General Manager International Marketing, supporting all international SA Tourism offices in Europe, Americas and Australasia. Returning once again to the private sector, Monika served for 5 years as CEO of Private Safaris, a Destination Management Company operating from offices in Cape Town and Windhoek. At the helm, she successfully steered the business to its new owners, Fairfax Financial Holdings (based in Toronto) in 2017, and together with her team, led the resultant reinvention of the business. Deepening her love for her country and ready to promote the Western Cape province to the world, in January 2021 Monika accepted the role of Chief Marketing Officer at Wesgro, the Official Tourism, Trade, Investment and Film Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, where she leads an inspiring team of place marketers and aims to make the region the top choice in Africa for tourism or business.
Fixing Discrimination against Women in Tourism: A Conversation with Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Apr 22 2022
Fixing Discrimination against Women in Tourism: A Conversation with Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
My conversation today is about the role of women in the tourism sector and how governance structures can be improved to uplift the girl child to the upper echelons of the tourism establishment. My Guest is Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka who is the Former Executive Director of UN Women and current Chairperson of the World Committee of Tourism Ethics. The former vice president of South Africa also discusses her mandate as the chair of the Tourism Ethics Committee and how tourism can be a real force for good. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was awarded a doctorate in Technology and Education from Warwick University. She has authored several scholarly and other opinion pieces. A Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. She became a Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of Minerals and Energy, and finally as Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked tirelessly on programmes and policies to reduce inequality.  As the head of the UNwomen, she has been a global advocate for women and girls. She established initiatives such as the HeForShe for men and boys to address gender Equality. She also successfully mobilized a historic $40 billion USD   for women and girls around the world. She is a founder and leader of Umlambo Foundation which is dedicated to the improvement of education and digital literacy training for educators.
Minor Hotels to Continue its Expansion in Africa- Amir Golbarg
Mar 28 2022
Minor Hotels to Continue its Expansion in Africa- Amir Golbarg
In this episode, the Senior Vice President Operations Middle East and Africa at Minor Hotel Amir Golbarg tells me, some of its hotels are back to pre pandemic levels. Amir who has been attending the 16th Meetings Africa in Johannesburg South Africa says Minor Hotels is committed to expanding its enviable footprint in Africa.  Amir Golbarg heads up Operations in the Middle East and Africa region for Minor Hotels, in addition to the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles and Mauritius. Minor Hotels’ portfolio currently totals 528 hotels in 56 countries and includes the highly-acclaimed luxury Anantara brand and the upscale Avani brand. Amir currently oversees a total of 33 properties in operation across ten countries and four brands, in addition to driving the development of a strong pipeline of properties within the region across multiple brands. This will see the launch of two new brands – NH Collection and NH Hotels – to the region later this year. Joining the Minor Hotels regional team in March 2019 as Vice President Operations for the Middle East, North Africa, Mauritius, and Seychelles, Amir was promoted in September 2021 to Senior Vice President Operations, including adding the group’s operation in Southern Africa into the mix. Amir previously held the strategic position of Chief Operating Officer at Al Rayyan Hospitality and Corporate Director – Asset Management at Katara Hospitality. Both entities are subsidiaries of the state-owned Qatar Investment Authority and in this dual role, Amir supported the State of Qatar with the opening and positioning of government assets and hotels both locally and internationally, in addition to managing a portfolio of operating entities and opening five luxury properties. These included the relaunch of Ritz Carlton Doha, the rebranding of the Six Senses Spa with Chiva-Som Resort in Thailand, the renovation of Raffles Singapore and the acquisition of Grosvenor House London. A graduate of Glion Institute of Higher Education, Amir began his career in hospitality in 2004 and held various front of house roles for prestigious hotels such as Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. Amir first joined Minor Hotels in 2012 as Director of Operations & Hotel Openings based in the Bangkok Corporate Office. He then held several international positions with Minor, before becoming Hotel Manager at Souq Waqif Hotel Doha, Qatar in 2015. Amir, who is a Danish national, is currently based in the Middle East Regional Office in Dubai. Now a seasoned international hotelier, Amir’s passion for excellence has led him to successfully drive the operations and hospitality assets for a number of companies for over 17 years. Minor Hotels is an international hotel owner, operator and investor with a diverse portfolio of brands including Anantara, Avani, Oaks, Tivoli, NH Collection, NH, nhow and Elewana.