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The GBTA Southern Africa 2014 Conference was held on the 15th and 16th of October at the Bryanston Country Club in Johannesburg. Amadeus is proud to be a Platinum Partner of GBTA and has been very involved with the organization since its days as ITMSA.


The first session kicked-off with a panel discussion entitled: “The Evolving Role of the Travel Manager: Moving from Travel Management, toward Traveller Management.” The discussion revolved around the travel manager’s ability to communicate with and educate travellers to change their behaviour. The panel moderator, Warren Tanner-Ellis, asked some challenging questions and touched on some contentious topics. Being a travel manager himself he challenged the panel if there was a future in corporations for travel managers?


The second panel discussion of the day was “About Africa – By Africa: Protecting your Assets in Africa}”. Dr Charl van Loggerenberg from International S.O.S gave a very insightful overview of Ebola and how with the correct management can be contained. There are far bigger threats in Africa with Malaria and Road Accidents being the two largest killers on the continent. Sarel Badenhorst, Group Asset Protection at Massmart mentioned that terrorism and extremists are a far bigger threat in corporate travel than Ebola.


The final session before lunch was presented by Dr Martyn Davies “Africa is Open for Business: Economic Outlook and open for development” presented some bold thoughts on the future of Africa. As South Africans we shouldn’t speak about Africa as we’re not Africans ourselves.



The most thought provoking while at the same time extremely entertaining talk was by Keenan Harduth from Cerebra. His talk was called “Managing Millennials: the impact of digital natives on travel policy”


Booking travel Millennials are spontaneous – they’re connected, have multiple devices & are not necessarily loyal. Perhaps the key to Managing Travellers is that policy “does not inform behaviour. People and education inform behaviour.”

Keenan Harduth


Summary: 5 key principles in communicating travel policy (not just to digital natives)

  • Well planned
  • Technology doesn’t matter principles do
  • Everything must have a purpose
  • Be consistent. Be Sincere.
  • Create engagement without removing authority.


Every attendee received a copy of the book “Brand Schizo” by Mike Stopforth (@mikestopforth) the CEO of Cerebra (Keenan’s boss J)


The keynote of the day was by the legendary Gary Kirsten. He believes that sport can teach the corporate a lot about how to treat their people.

Gary Kirsten

As a leader you need to think how to get the maximum out of each individual. He talks about how he never wanted to be a leader. He was always happy to be a hard worker in the team, he knew the part he had to play in the team and did it well. It’s a story about how someone who never wanted to be a leader but ended up managing the Indian cricket team to being number one in test matches standings, limited overs and winning the cricket world cup. Gary believes that everyone needs one thing: credibility. He left the job as Proteas coach because he felt he lost credibility with his son.


Following the keynote there was a charity auction and the auctioneer was the multi-talented Warren Tanner Ellis. The auction was a resounding success and R68400 was raised for charity.

Gary Kirsten with an autographed cricket bat on auction
Warren Tanner-Ellis, auctioneer