The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa Cape division (FEDHASA Cape) took the past year under review, heard about government’s future plans for destination marketing of the province and elected a new chairperson at its AGM last week.
Hotel general managers and other leaders in the local hospitality industry elected a new board and chose respected hospitality expert Michelè de Witt to succeed their association chairperson of two years, Dirk Elzinga.
FEDHASA Cape represents the interests of about 700 members across the hotel, small accommodation, restaurant, catering and hospitality allied sectors, as well as youth in the hospitality industry, in the Western and Northern Cape.
De Witt was chosen as chairperson of FEDHASA Cape for the next two years. She is a director of the South African-based firm of Horwath HTL, currently the world’s largest professional association of consulting specialists in the hotel, tourism and leisure industries, with 50 offices in 39 countries. She has been a member of FEDHASA Cape for more than 13 years and was a member of the board for six of those years.
‘I look forward to the challenge of ensuring that the association remains relevant to its members,’ De Witt said.
Wrapping up as chairman of FEDHASA Cape, Dirk Elzinga told the AGM that tourism was an essential job creation sector, especially for unskilled workers, and that FEDHASA would continue to champion the interests of the people in the industry.
As such, FEDHASA Cape was willing to negotiate on behalf of the hospitality industry on the retention of important direct international flights to Cape Town. Neither FEDHASA Cape nor Wesgro – two of the most important tourism industry organisations in the Western Cape – were consulted by SAA before it announced the cancellation of the direct flight between Cape Town and London last week. FEDHASA Cape would however by happy to take up such discussions, Elzinga said.
Wesgro CEO and keynote speaker Nils Flaatten was invited to address the industry on the much-anticipated future strategy for destination marketing in the province following the incorporation of Cape Town Routes Unlimited into Wesgro. He commented on SAA’s announcement: ‘Our research indicates that the Cape Town-London route still holds strong economic value for the Western Cape and neighbouring Eastern Cape. We will have a round table with SAA and local and regional tourism organisations to discuss marketing of the route and the Western Cape as South Africa’s key international tourist destination.’
During the AGM, it was announced that John Sanei, owner of hospitality consultancy The Fresh Ingredient, would become sector chairman of the FEDHASA Cape Restaurant Segment, with restaurateur Richard Key as alternate. Carol Armstrong-Hooper, owner of Highlands Country House, would remain chairperson of the FEDHASA Cape Small Accommodation Segment, with Susanne Faussner-Ringer as her alternate. Jeff Rosenberg, GM of the Southern Sun Waterfront, Ally Strachan of CIRO Coffees, and Michael Oosthuizen of Asara, would remain in their roles as sector chairpersons for the Hotel, Allied and Youth segments respectively.
To end the AGM on a high note, FEDHASA Cape executive officer Rema van Niekerk and outgoing Restaurant Segment Chairman Rey Franco presented the annual ‘FEDHASA Cape Development Fund Bursary for Underprivileged Entrants into the Hospitality Industry’. Bursaries were presented to Mandy Khanyisa Mxabo and Nangamso Veliti, learners of False Bay College in Khayelitsha. Their bursaries were funded by the proceeds of the FEDHASA Cape Nederburg Annual Golf Day in March.