#Voices of Travel: CTICC is preparing for resumption of services post lockdown

In this ongoing series, today we reach the shores of Cape Town in South Africa. Representatives from CTICC tell us that they’re continuing to prepare for the resumption of services post lockdown. 

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) was designed and built to connect Cape Town to the rest of the country, the continent, and the world. As a business, we are committed to connecting people to foster economic growth and job creation for the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape. The CTICC has sustained more than 130 000 direct and indirect jobs over the last 16 years and has contributed a cumulative R47.3bn to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and over R39.6bn to the Western Cape’s Gross Geographic Product (GGP).

Like most convention centres, our core business is the hosting of large gatherings. We have had a fairly good start to the financial year (2019/20), but like the rest of the world, we have had our plans disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have not been immune to the impact the pandemic has had on the meetings industry. Due to the restrictions imposed by most governments in relation to travelling and gatherings, most of our events on the calendar have been postponed to later in the year or next year. We have unfortunately also seen some unavoidable cancellations. Our strategy is to encourage event organisers to postpone and not cancel events, and we continue to investigate the use of technologies which can be implemented now, and which will help enhance events in the future. This crisis is encouraging all of us to innovate and come up with new ways of doing business. While we are currently not able to host events, the CTICC is committed to working with our stakeholders and the relevant authorities to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, by making our facilities available to be utilised to help mitigate the impact and spread of the virus. This action of being part of the solution will put us in a position to recover quickly and get back to the business of hosting events.

From the onset, the CTICC understood that we had a responsibility to ensure that our response was responsible and appropriate. Our first concern was and will always be the welfare of our staff, our most valued asset. We engaged the services of ER24 to come and deliver a workshop on COVID-19 to our entire team, way before the implementation of the state of disaster in the country. We empowered them with information and protected them with personal hand sanitisers. We also implemented global best practices in the cleaning of our centre, to minimise the spread and impact of the virus at our venue. We have since complied fully with the regulations linked with the national state of disaster and lockdown. Our teams are working from home and will continue to do so until it is safe to get back to the office.

We have engaged with our clients to discuss options such as postponements to ensure that, wherever possible, we retain these events. Our current priority is to ensure that we contributed to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Second to that, we continue to prepare for the resumption of services post lockdown. As such, we are in continuous communication with our clients to position the CTICC for growth as soon as restrictions are lifted.

The government has responded swiftly and to the best of their ability, putting people and lives first. This is a united fight and we should all play our part. We are committed to working with all relevant authorities to ensure the CTICC is available to assist in any way possible to contribute towards the mammoth task facing the government.

We are in contact with all relevant industry stakeholders and the national and provincial authorities. They have put together numerous resources and dedicated platforms to assist businesses during this time, including distributing relevant industry news regarding access to financial aid and relief funds established by the government (www.supportbusiness.co.za). So far, we have seen tremendous support from the government for the business events industry.

The health and safety of our employees remain our number one priority. The staff have been informed of the plans of the organisation in the short-term and the importance of abiding by the lockdown regulations. While being isolated is the best thing for their physical health right now, we are aware that it is also important to maintain mental health too. Our HR division has shared some tips on working from home and staying “sane” under isolation. We encourage our staff to utilise our Employee Wellness programme for emotional and mental support for themselves and their families during this time.

This too shall pass! It might seem very gloomy right now, but the human race is resilient. Like the very powerful campaign by SA Tourism says: Stay home today, so you can travel tomorrow. Our job right now is to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and get the world healthy again.

We will travel again. We will host events again, and we will connect people again.