The seventh annual SAYTC Youth Travel Conference was held in Hogsback in 2014 – to be able to continue in the spirit of benefiting local communities and expose members to important destinations and attractions. Chosen through a really exciting process, where various Eastern Cape members put in bids to host the conference in their respective areas (their presentations and the voting – by Eastern Cape members – took place in at Elundini Backpakers just outside of Hogsback in September 2013). Away with the Fairies, Terra-Khaya and Elundini Backpackers co-hosted, as they are the three accommodation members in the greater Hogsback area.

The aims of the SAYTC Conference

  • Showcase the diversity, beauty and historic importance of the Eastern Cape.
  • Have FUN!
  • Give members a space to network.
  • Form long lasting relationships, both professionally and socially.
  • Get maximum participation from all our members from all over South Africa.
  • Have informative and industry-related Indaba expo stalls, topics and speakers.
  • Have open forum discussions about pertinent issues.
  • Experience the Eastern Cape and encourage delegates to further their stay in the province by joining tours run by other backpackers from the Eastern Cape region.

The theme

“Building Sustainable Communities” – a theme our Eastern Cape members feel especially passionate about. With that in mind, Elundini, Away with the Fairies and Terra-Khaya donated 50% of accommodation income during the conference directly to local community upliftment programs. The balance of accommodation went towards conference costs to bring the delegates better value for money. All goodie bag goodies were be made by local artists and crafters.

Registration & 0pening Party – Monday, 8 September

Registration and the opening party took place at and was hosted by Elundini Backpackers in Elundini, outside of Hogsback, in the form of a cultural festival, starting with a relaxed afternoon on the lawn overlooking the Amathole Valley and soaking up the culture of Elundini Village.

Special features

  • Village tour – A visit to the Elundini Primary School & Crèche
  • Food stalls – Traditional Xhosa fare provided by the mamas from Elundini Village. Proceeds from sales will go directly to the stall-holder. Food on offer will include samp and beans, chicken stew and rice, amagwinya (vetkoek), beef stew and pap, umqombothi…
  • Xhosa dress up wardrobe – Hire a local’s traditional attire to dress up in. Proceeds will go directly to garment owner.
  • Craft stalls – Curios and art for sale from local crafters and artists.
  • Face painting
  • African afternoon chilled beats – from Dino Moran
  • Drinks on the lawn – Supplied by Elundini Backpackers

The evening’s entertainment included a sunset gathering, opening by SAYTC Chairman Gavin Eyre, music, and “Amathole’s Got Talent” – where six selected performing artists from the Amathole area took part in a talent show. Prizes for the top three acts that were judged by the conference delegates.

We’d like to thank Rush Adventures for sponsoring the opening evening!

Day 1 – Tuesday, 9 September

Opening with a welcome by the SAYTC Eastern Cape chapter’s esteemed Chairman, Johann Stadler, the delegates were ready for the introduction and keynote address by our wonderful Minister of Tourism – Derek Hanekom. A strong supporter of the youth travel sector and a more authentic style of travel, it was a pleasure to hear Minister Hanekom’s address, followed by a Q & A where various members were heard and their issues considered with a view to arriving at solutions and a way forward.

After tea, the delegates were kept in their seats by presentations from Dave Martin from Bulungula Lodge and Incubator, Hugh Bartis from NMMU and Tony Budden from Hemporium.

The speed dating preceded lunch and gave everyone an opportunity to find out about the products showcased – a great opportunity to promote one’s brand!

Following lunch, everyone needed to get their running shoes and caps on for Hogsback’s version or The Amazing Race! This was an incredibly fun activity, and had all the delegates working in teams, running around Hogsback to find clues necessary for the next steps.

This all ended with G ‘n T’s at an amazing view at Away with the Fairies, with ‘Hogsback According to Dan’, a very entertaining perspective of this beautiful area of the Eastern Cape. After that, we ate homemade pizzas, drank ourselves merrier, and danced the night away under the full moon to the sounds of DJ Harold and DJ Gerrie.

We’d like to thank The Backpack for sponsoring tea, UR Card for sponsoring lunch, Coast to Coast for sponsoring the Amazing Race, Away with the Fairies for sponsoring ‘Hogsback According to Dan’ and ECDC for sponsoring the gala dinner!

Day 2 – Wednesday, 10 September

With the delegates really feeling it after the epic evening before, the AGM took place bright and early.

After tea, the delegates heard about the latest trends in digital marketing and social media from William Price – Global Manager: Digital South African Tourism (always a pleasure) and Kash Bhattacharya – the Budget Traveller.

We received some very sad news of a tragedy involving one of our delegates, Roger Thring. Following lunch, the second half of the day’s program was cancelled.

The final evening took place at Terra-Khaya, where we saw the incredible Jeremy Loops perform live, had a wonderful wholesome dinner to help us keep warm on a very chilly night and a few delegates shared a view words about Roger.

We’d like to thank Hotspots2C for sponsoring tea, Terra-Khaya for sponsoring dinner, and Fair Trade Tourism for sponsoring Jeremy Loops.

Thank you

In closing, BIG thank you’s must go to our sponsors:

  • Rush Adventures
  • UR Card
  • ECDC
  • Coast to Coast
  • Coffee Shack
  • Terra-Khaya

And the conference of course did not happen without the help of the following people:

  • SAYTC’s hard working staff
  • Gavin, the driven Chairman and hilarious MC
  • The Eastern Cape conference planning committee, with special thanks to Dan, Shane and Lieve from Away with the Fairies, Terra-Khaya and Elundini Backpackers respectively
  • All those who sponsored prizes for the auction

Most of all, we have to thank our amazing members. We can safely say that it’s worth every drop of effort just so that we can get you all in one place for a few days to learn something valuable, exchange ideas, and generally have a wonderful time together!

2014 Hogsback – A grassroots celebratory informative networking gathering

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