Delegates at the 2014 annual congress of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) in St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal will be addressed by top local and international speakers.

Set to be held from 17 to 19 August, the theme of the congress is ‘To the beat of a different drum’ and promises to a memorable event with its relaxed, informal approach.

Juan José Garcia, Director of Sales and Marketing at Barceló Congresos, one of the leading Professional Conference Organisers in Europe, will address delegates on ‘Smart business meetings destinations: moving from suppliers to strategic partners.’  Garcia, First Vice President of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and professor of the master’s degree in Conference and Events Management at the business school of the Chamber of Commerce in Sevilla, Spain is an expert in business development, business strategies, presentation bids, destination marketing and association management.

‘Unleashing the African potential’ is the topic to be addressed by social development expert Tshifhiwa Mamaila.  Having been involved in the counselling, employee wellness and HIV & Aids field for fifteen years, Mamaila also won an international award for his role as President of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association at its international conference in 2013.

According to the SAACI 2014 organising committee, members of the business events industry can still make use of the special early-bird registration offer until the end of April.

As August is high season in St Lucia, the committee is also encouraging delegates to book their accommodation as soon as possible to ‘avoid the alternative of camping with the hippos.’  Accommodation in St Lucia is well-priced and most within walking distance of the St Lucia Conference Centre and Town Hall.

For information about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, or to register online, visit