2016 Drakensberg – Unrivalled Diversity

2016 Drakensberg – Unrivalled Diversity

The ninth annual SAYTC Youth Travel Conference was held in the awe-inspiring Northern Drakensberg mountains in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) province this year – as ever, in the spirit of benefiting local communities and giving members exposure to important destinations and attractions, off the beaten track. The venue was chosen through an exciting process, whereby a few SAYTC KZN members submitted bids to host the conference in their respective areas, voted on by their fellow regional members. Amphitheatre Backpackers Lodge, where the conference and activities all took place, looks directly onto the façade of the majestic “Amphiteatre”, one of the world’s most impressive cliff faces.

2015 Cape Town – Un-conference

2015 Cape Town – Un-conference

Given that the global WYSTC conference was being held in Cape Town during 2015, instead of a conference, a short “unconference” was held in Cape Town around the time of WYSTC to take advantage of the many members who would be attending the conference. An unconference is different from a conference because participants set the agenda.

The theme of the unconference was “Game Changer”, meant to find a way to showcase youth tourism in SA and is aimed at setting trends and expansion of understanding about trends and how to be on the forefront.

2014 Hogsback – A grassroots celebratory informative networking gathering

2014 Hogsback – A grassroots celebratory informative networking gathering

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.

2013 Soweto – Eita Soweto

2013 Soweto – Eita Soweto

The sixth annual SAYTC Youth and Adventure Travel Conference was held in Soweto this year, chosen with SAYTC’s objective in mind to move the AGM to a different province each time – and especially to an area that is not frequented by the masses… off the beaten track, as it were. This helps to eradicate stigmas and stereotypical ideas of that particular setting, as well as showcasing the area’s products. Once again, the conference was a roaring success, with delegates praising the organisation during the program and post-conference for the efficiency with which things were run, the quality and pertinence of the speakers, the chosen location, and the parties (oh, the parties!).

2012 Durban – Durban with a twist

2012 Durban – Durban with a twist

2012 marked a departure from the conventional conference and AGM. SAYTC opted to take advantage of many of its members attending the annual Tourism Indaba held in May in Durban. Instead of a conference, SAYTC planned other activities around Indaba.

Following tradition, the activities started on the night before Indaba at the Tekweni Backpackers party, hosted this year together with Baz Bus. This party has become quite legendary and it’s great to go and see all the old and new faces.

2011 Paternoster – Shared World

2011 Paternoster – Shared World

The fifth annual SAYTC Youth and Adventure Travel Conference, which was held in Paternoster this year, was a huge success with everyone impressed by the location, the speakers, the organisation and of course, the parties. Everything was within stumbling distance to avoid driving too much and keeping our footprint to a minimum.

The theme for the conference this year was Shared World with the main focus on e-marketing for our industry. The reason for this is self-explanatory in the sense that these are the channels our market use and we are simply not geared enough to sell our products and services the way we can.

2010 Storms River – Going Green Routes in Adventure

2010 Storms River – Going Green Routes in Adventure

The 2010 SAYTC Conference & AGM was held in the lovely Garden Route town of Storms River from 7 to 9 September. Tube ‘n Axe Backpackers started off the conference entertainment on the first evening with a delicious braai and music from a local reggae band. Most delegates were bright and shiny for the next day of activities, the higlight of which was Braam Malherbe, who inspired the delegates with his talk about the 2006 “Miles for Smiles” challenge in which he ran, walked and climbed the length of the Great Wall of China in just 98 days.

2009 St. Lucia – Up your beat to stay in the game

2009 St. Lucia – Up your beat to stay in the game

The third annual SAYTC Youth and Adventure Travel Conference, which was held in St Lucia from the 14 to 16 June 2009, was a huge success with everyone impressed by the location, the speakers, the organisation and the parties. Everything was within walking distance of accommodation.

The welcoming reception was sponsored by Tourism Kwazulu-Natal with a fantastic dinner at Fur Elise Restaurant. We were welcomed by the local Zulu Dancers (and some delegates who were brave or flexible enough to join them) and were given free beer from Zulu Blonde in Eshowe. Great KZN artists Shomon Daniel, Shannon Hope & Syd Kitchen provided some super live entertainment before DJ Garth took over, entertaining us late into the night.

2008 Nieu Bethesda – Off the beaten track

2008 Nieu Bethesda – Off the beaten track

The 2008 conference held from 14 to 16 June made a real and direct difference to the economy of the little Eastern Cape town of Nieu Bethesda. After government grants, tourism is the biggest contributor to the local economy.

Most of the economically active members of the community, including the township, were involved in some way in the conference. Some were hosts of conference venues, others offered accommodation, provide catering, cleaning, crafts, guiding, etc.

The delegates resulted in a more than a 10% increase in the annual bed night count alone. Other immediate and long-term benefits were immeasurable.

2007 Cape Town – Shining up our industry

2007 Cape Town – Shining up our industry

The Backpacker and Adventure Conference and Expo 2007 was held from 14 to 16 June at Monkey Valley Resort in Noordhoek, Cape Town. This world class conference aimed specifically at improving the South African backpacking industry. Specific topics to be touched on include looking to the future with the 2010 World Cup, Internet Marketing and becoming more eco-friendly.

Speakers included local talent and industry leaders. These include international GamePlan:2010 spokesperson Gary Bailey, Gareth Haysom from the Sustainability Institute, Robyn Thompson of Sunpower, Dave Martin of Bulungula, Leanne Guild of Africa Travel Co, Pat Collier and Web 2.0 hotshot, Uno de Waal.