Global DMC Partners (GDP), the premier, one-stop global resource for virtual, hybrid and in-person events , today shared the results of its Q4 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey. Conducted from December 3-29, 2020, the survey polled 242 respondents from the meetings and events industry. Of these, 93 percent were planners versus vendors or suppliers. The survey had respondents from nearly every part of the globe, with the majority from the United States (57 percent), and the United Kingdom (28 percent). Participants were primarily third-party/independent planners (53.3 percent), as well as association planners (8.3 percent) and those in pharma, technology, and insurance. Global DMC Partners President & CEO, Catherine Chaulet, shared key insights and data from GDP’s Q4 Meetings & Events Pulse Survey during the company’s virtual 2021 Trends & Panel Discussion that took place on Wednesday, January 27 to an audience of nearly 350 attendees.  Key insights from the responses included: – A clear shift towards hope for face-to-face meetings to resume in the latter part of 2021 with most planners (53 percent) now predicting that their in-person meetings and events will resume sometime in Q3 & Q4 2021.– General health and well-being of planners and their family and friends is the top concern now, as opposed to fear/uncertainty, travel & government restrictions, and job security in Q3 2020.– 92 percent believe a vaccine is the most important factor in bringing back face-to-face events, an increase of 10 percent from Q3 2020. Biggest COVID-19 Crisis ConcernThere was a notable change in…

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Data remains the industry’s lodestar In a 2021 – hopefully post-COVID – world, we can expect data to become ‘the old answer to new questions in travel’. The uncertainty faced by the entire sector in COVID’s wake has given rise to many ‘new questions’, particularly around the nature and length of the industry’s recovery, but also around consumer behaviour, booking trends and necessary changes to travel policies. Bonnie Smith, GM of FCM,  Flight Centre’s global travel management company, believes that data has been at the heart of advancements in the travel industry over the last few years – and that data will continue to guide travel management companies (TMCs) and travel managers as they navigate a post-COVID landscape: “TMCs use data to get a really good overview of a company’s travel needs, preferences, expenses, spend and return on investment. But equally important, data helps us analyse risk – and track behaviour and trends.” For Smith, data is a powerful tool which can: Inform future-focussed travel management solutions Through the use of automation, blended technology, and advanced data analytics, TMCs are going to play a critical role in a company’s future travel decisions. “There’s no doubt,” says Smith, “that concerns around COVID health and safety are going to put corporate travel under a critical lens for the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to the necessity of travel and the need for safe, considered travel solutions.” A TMC can look at your company’s travel history, the current environment and data-backed predictions…

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Business as usual has been flipped on its head in 2020. What was for many companies second nature—sending employees across country and continent to meet with clients and colleagues, sign new business and share knowledge—has become a more measured and complex exercise. Business trips are being classified as essential or non-essential, travel budgets have been re-evaluated, and duty of care is front and centre. While duty of care has always been a priority, a company’s actions to manage traveller risk more often occurred behind the scenes. That has changed over the course of this year with employees taking a more active role in their personal health and wellbeing and calling for greater policy transparency and reassurance of their safety. Even before COVID-19, travel risks were growing increasingly difficult to predict. All it takes is a lost passport, misunderstanding with local authorities or unforeseen natural disaster to derail a perfectly planned business trip. Add a pandemic and ever-shifting travel restrictions and it becomes evident why some businesses are grappling with their heightened duty of care obligations. It’s important that as small businesses resume their business travel programmes in 2021, they thoroughly reassess the processes, suppliers, tools and resources they have in place to help employees travel safely and seamlessly. However, while much of this responsibility naturally falls on the company, the traveller also carries responsibility and must act in accordance with the duty of care policy. Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller, sheds some light on where the line lies between an…

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Fez is home to both the oldest continuously functioning university in the world and the best preserved old city (medina) in the Arab civilization.

1. Getting There
Saïss Airport, take a bus or a taxi, or make use of the shuttle service. The train that links the city to Oujda, Tanger and Casablanca and the road system is in good condition.

2. Getting Around
Taxis are a good option for tourists as fares are regulated and there is a reliable bus service.

3. Where to Stay
Riad Fes is a popular choice. Blending old-school opulence with modern touches, this hotel also offers a great rooftop terrace with views of the Atlas Mountains. The Barcelo is lovely while the Riad Doha offers great value.

4. Eating Out
Riad Rcif has a great selection of tagines and cous cous dishes and a chocolate pudding to die for. If you’re craving Italian, Le 44 Café has the best Bolognese in the city and an amazing atmosphere. L’Amandier Palais Faraj has great service and even better views. Both international and Moroccan cuisine is served here so there are plenty of options. Nagham Café is well-priced and a beautiful terrace looks straight onto the mountains.

5. Things to Do
Café Clock stages various traditional music concerts, including sufi drumming, while traditional dancing can be found at Restaurant Al Fassia. Merenid Tombs are quite a climb above the city but well worth the views.

6. Shopping
If you navigate the medina alleyways with patience and humour, you will find amazing choices of woodwork, leatherwork, pottery, jewellery, mosaic tiling, brass and copperware, textiles, rugs and drums.

7. About town
The ancient Roman site of Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes ruins of a basilica, temple and triumphal arch as well as some beautiful mosaics. Nestled within the Atlas Mountains you’ll also find the ski resort of Ifrane.

8. History & Culture
Fez takes its name from the pickaxe that Idriss the First used to draw the lines of the city in 789 AD, on the banks of the Jawhar River. Two large autonomous quarters made up the original town, founded by Idriss I and Idriss II (his son). Ten centuries of architecture is visible in and around the city, especially in the medina, including a number of religious, civil and military monuments.

9. Language
Darija (the Moroccan Arabic dialect), but many people speak French. English is developing among the younger peoples. In the countryside outside Fez many people speak Berber dialects.

10. One last thing
Morocco is a Muslim country so all due respect should be shown, particularly when in the medina and in the consumption of alcohol.

Described as the commercial, industrial, and educational centre of western Algeria, Oran is Algeria’s second largest city and once home of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent.

1. Getting There
Oran Es Sénia Airport and can also be reached by ferries from Europe; from the ports of Marseilles, Sète, Alicante and Almería.

2. Getting Around
Taxis and buses can be used to get around. Once in the city centre, it is an easy and pleasant walk with plenty of stunning architecture

3. Where to Stay
Royal Hotel Oran is beautiful and Le Meridien Oran Hotel’s monolithic structure dominates the skyline and offers some great views. Hotel le Raja is suited to a modest budget.

4. Eating Out
Restaurant les Gazelles has a view to die for and excellent seafood. La Calypso has delicious pizza, while It Side is an affordable Turkish restaurant.

5. Things to Do
Cathédrale de St Louis. From afar, the building, which sits atop a hill, looks impressive but is actually closed up and derelict. Visit Bey’s Palace and Pasha’s Mosque. For a little history, try the Musée National Ahmed Zabana

6. Shopping
Oran is a great place for shopping, offering everything from mall trawling, specialist boutiques, markets and bazaars. Les Arcades is a shopping zone housing food, clothing and souvenir stores, while Mdin Jdidait is a large market where the locals do their shopping. Corniche, or Front de Mer, inspired by Nice’s seafront, is a perfect place for an amble.

7. About Town
The Murdjajo hill is quite a climb but is worth it for the views overlooking the city. As if that wasn’t enough, your real reward for the climb is the beautiful Santa Cruz church, built by the Spanish in the 16th century and, above it, the Santa Cruz Fortress, built by the Marquis de Santa Cruz in 1563.

8. History & Culture
Established by Moors in the year 903 and since has changed hands many times. It has been variously owned by the Spanish, the Turks, the French and the Vichy Government during World War II.

9. Language
Algerian Arabic and Berber are the native languages with Kabyle being the most spoken Berber language in the country.

10. One Last Thing
Though mostly peaceful, demonstrations taking place, there is an increasing threat of terrorism, but it is generally safe in Algiers and other main cities like Oran.

According to pre-Islamic legend, the Comoros archipelago was formed when a Genie dropped a jewel in the ocean, which became the Karthala volcano that in turn formed the islands of the Comoros.

1. Getting There
Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport and yachts can be chartered from various points on mainland Africa. Be aware that all visitors need a visa to enter the Comoros Islands.

2. Getting Around
You can drive on your own if you have an international drivers license, otherwise you can hire a taxi, use a bicycle or walk. Try to avoid travelling at night as potholes and animals are a hazard.

3. Where to Stay
Retaj Moroni Hotel, Cristal Itsandra Beach Hotel or for a less pricey option, Jardin de la Paix.

4. Eating Out
Moroni is a varied and flavoursome affair. Seafood is an obvious staple on local menus; the well-known Restaurant des Arcades, for instance, does a great lobster. Chez Babou Restaurant is great for Indian food while Café de la Paix makes a delicious calamari and octopus!

5. Things to Do
The nightlife is Moroni is almost non-existent. Medina is made up of narrow and maze-like alleyways. Ancienne Mosquée du Vendredi is a beautiful and popular tourist spot. Itsandra Beach is roughly 3km from the town centre and offers white pristine sands and deep blue ocean.

6. Shopping
The Comoros region is the world’s largest producer of ylang-ylang and is a big producer of vanilla. Local spices are therefore a great buy. The Volo Volo Market is an excellent place to buy handcrafted jewellery, scarves and woodcrafts

7. About town
Mount Karthala wasteland is a haven for bird lovers, as well as hikers and mountain bikers. The views from the top are spectacular. Mitsamiouli and Moludja Beach has plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.

8. History & Culture
Muslim, Swahili and Arab influences dominated until European colonization took hold.

9. Language
French and Arabic are the official languages of Comoros, while Comorian or Shikomor are also spoken by locals

10. One last thing
The Comoros is a predominantly Muslim region so it is important to dress modestly and show the requisite respect at religious sites.

One of my favourite places to be,Nacala is a beautiful small town serving the deepest natural port on the east coast of Africa.

1. Getting There
The only airline currently making scheduled flights to Nacala is Mozambique Airlines (LAM) plus car hire services.

2. Getting Around
Roads in the town are not all up to scratch so do take care, especially during periods of rain. Hiring a car is probably your best option as public transport options are limited.

3. Where to Stay
Nacala Plaza Business Design Hotel, Afrin Nacala Hotel or Casa de Hospedes Muzuane are great options to try out!

4. Eating Out
For the best pizza in Nacala, you can’t go wrong with Libelula Restaurant. O Barqueiro Beach Bar Restaurant is situated right on the beach and good food, good drinks and amazing sunsets. There is no better place to relax than The Thirsty Whale, attached to Kwalala Lodge

5. Things to Do
Baía Azul Restaurante & Barpub hosts great outdoor street parties. Cathedral of Nacala and Mesquita Central de Nacala should definitely be on your list. Moz Adventures Nacala offers everything from whale watching, scuba diving and fishing to kayaking, snorkelling and wake boarding.

6. Shopping
Fresh produce and fruit can be procured from local markets while Estúdio Criativo Nacala is a good place to look for locally-made crafts and souvenirs.

7. About town
Neighbouring city Pemba is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture as well as its water sports and diving opportunities. A coral reef lies close to shore.

8. History & Culture
Pemba was a major trading base for Arab traders since the eighth century. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is connected to the mainland by a concrete bridge. The people of Nacala are of Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbulo, Yao, Sena, Tonga, Asian, European and Ngonde descent.

9. Language
The prevailing religions are Christianity and Islam and the official languages are Chichewa and English

10. One last thing
Mozambique is a relatively low-risk country to travel in. The risk for Malaria is high all year round so precautions are essential. It also gets blisteringly hot, so make sure you have plenty of sun protection and water.

A bright, vibrant jewel on the West African coast, this country is a geographic curiosity. It is Africa’s smallest nation. Banjul is situated on St Mary’s island at the mouth of the Gambia River.

1. Getting There
Banjul International Airport or the Ferry service.
2. Getting Around
Car hire at the airport, taxis, bicycles and quad bikes.
3. Where to stay
Try out these options.. Laico Atlantic, Ngala Lodge or the Carlton hotel which is a cheaper alternative.
4. Eating Out
Ngala restaurant has a great view of the Atlantic. Karsten’s Smiling Coast restaurant is certainly worth trying. The Clay Oven in Bakau is described as the best Indian restaurant.
5. Things to Do
Wander the streets of Banjul to see examples of Arabian influence. War Memorial, Arch on Independence Drive and of course the International Roots Festival.
6. Shopping
If you have a soft spot for shopping, Albert Market on Liberation Avenue is the place to be.
7. About town
African Heritage Center, King Fahad Mosque and Oyster Creek are great places to see.
8. History & Culture
Formerly named Bathurst, its history includes being chosen as a NASA space shuttle emergency landing area. The Banjul International Airport was originally a World War 2 allied airfield.
9. Language
English is the official language in schools and public offices but Wolof is widely spoken. Due to its proximity to Senegal you will find people are fluent in French too.
10. One last thing
The Banjul Challenge is a banger rally that runs from England, Spain, Morocco and through the Sahara to Banjul. It follows a similar route to the more famous banger event “Dakar Rally”

After last week’s military attacks in Zimbabwe’s capital, a question mark looms over the continued growth of the country’s dynamic tourism industry. Tourists have been here before over the last two decades, but what does this mean for the citizens, the economy and the potential the former bread basket of Africa has in tourism

The three day attack on citizens came as a result of a protest to the announcement of a fuel increase. This saw police and soldiers open fire on fleeing citizens, flogging and the arrest of predominantly male citizens. A recorded 12 were confirmed dead, while over 200 were seriously wounded.

In a statement, Mthuli Ncube, Finance Minister, reiterated that “the economic reform agenda is a very serious one, but also we are determined to see it through,” he said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“This (unrest) is part of the pain in terms of the reform roadmap,” he said.

“The truth is we’ve had 20 years of economic decay and morass, and we’re determined that we fix this and move Zimbabwe to the next level.”

That is reassuring for tourists already on the ground, but a question mark hangs over the fallout of this latest attack and what the future holds for citizen unrest.

That atrocity was the catalyst for a dramatic plunge in the fortunes of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry. Foreign governments warned citizens against travel to the country, major tour operators cancelled packages, and hotels — particularly in Victoria Falls – were left empty.

The reality is, an increase in fuel will have a significant impact on Zimbabwe’s tourism sector. From the cost of flights and accommodation to the tours available as some business owners may not have the capacity to keep their operations running.

While time will tell whether the tourism industry will pick up in the next few months, it is with hope that the strategic plan is a fortified one to revitalize destination marketing efforts.