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It is with great excitement that I, on behalf of the local organising committee, warmly invite you to the SAACI 2014 Annual Congress and Exhibition in St Lucia from 17 to 19 August.

Our theme – ‘to the beat of a different drum’ - is meant to inspire us all to think creatively around business events. We acknowledge that we are not an insular industry and are affected by changes both globally and nationally. Congresses are becoming more about delegate experiences, creativity and value, and less about destinations. SAACI 2014 in St Lucia will provide delegates with a memorable KwaZulu-Natal delegate experience.

As all of us adapt to never-ending changes in every aspect of our industry, constantly striving to remain relevant and competitive, we must also focus on offering return on investment to clients and delegates. This return on investment can be measured in various ways and may mean very different things to different people.

It is with this thought in mind that we in SAACI KZN invite you to put on a different set of lenses to the ones you are generally comfortable or complacent with and view conferencing and exhibitions through diverse eyes - and hopefully with a renewed sense of energy and excitement. For those three to four days, let your heart and thoughts beat to a different drum and feel the magic, energy and passion for what you do seep back into your veins.

We have all come across the famous quote “if you are not growing you are dying”. Perhaps dying is a tad dramatic, but maintaining the status quo or becoming dormant does not bode well for increased prosperity and growth. Whilst we do not intend re-inventing the wheel, we certainly hope to add some interesting spokes to it and provide you with food for thought.

Lastly, SAACI 2014 is about exploring partnerships, relationships and networks and using them to your advantage. This can only be achieved by being present! So save the date and join us in this unique world famous heritage site. Get involved in our CSI project, rhino conservation - bring your families, your colleagues, your imagination, your expertise and spread the word!

Merryl Fairfoot
SAACI 2014 Congress Chairperson

PS: Stress can be dropped off at the R618 turn off to St Lucia.

SAACI National Chairperson

I look forward to welcoming you to the wonderful town of St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal.  
I am sure you will agree with me that our congress location for 2014 is unique – in fact, it is somewhat unusual!

Hats off to our local organising committee for being bold in their decision-making, across all aspects of the event. I believe this kind of boldness is exactly what we need to make the business events industry grow as much as it should.  Times continue to be tough, and thinking out of the proverbial box is becoming the new ‘normal’.

Over the years SAACI has become the largest association in the business events industry in Africa and our annual congress its flagship event.  It is an important meeting of industry professionals and leaders and should not be missed by anyone who is serious about growing their business.

By August we will have made progress with the implementation of SAACI’s new business plan and this congress is the ideal opportunity to learn more about it and make a tangible contribution to the industry’s future.

All this in an informal, relaxed atmosphere with – I am told – guaranteed great weather!  Beating to a different drum, indeed!

So join us in St Lucia in August for what promises to be a most pleasant and inspiring congress.

Oh, and bring your families – they are welcome too!

Zelda Coetzee
National Chairperson


On behalf of the Municipal Council and community of Mtubatuba, I wish to welcome you to St Lucia. It is an honour and great privilege to welcome you to the Godly perfected natural environment of St Lucia. I express a smile to you all as a Universal Language of warmth, excitement and appreciation. I want to commend the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry for electing to hold this congress here at St Lucia. This strategic  move, needless to say, is pivotal for general Tourism Development and for regional economic growth in particular at St Lucia.

 St Lucia is well known as the home of undisturbed natural landscapes, Isimangaliso World Heritage Site, The Beautiful beach, world class accommodation facilities and world known restaurants and “Things-to-do”. This region of our municipality is the key Tourism Economic Driver. It has created many job opportunities and subsequently fed many families. It is from this backdrop that I am grateful that you chose St Lucia for your congress and I urge you to make time to tour around the town, the beach, the Wetlands Park to discover for yourselves the true meaning of Isimangaliso (Miracle). I wish you all a great Congress and best wishes for all your future endeavours.

With warmest regards.