TIA360 Symposium invests in the rebirth of Tourism

The TIA360 eThekwini Tourism Investment Symposium takes place on Thursday, August 5.

Says eThekwini Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda: “Despite the recent unrest and destruction in parts of KwaZulu Natal, it is now more important than ever to push ahead with this conference to ensure tourism projects receive vital funding and support by matching them with supportive stakeholders and potential investors.”

The virtual conference will be held in partnership with eThekwini Municipality’s Invest Durban unit as the lead, supported by Durban Tourism, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, plus investment industry leaders such as SAVCA (the SA Venture Capital Association).

It will take place via Zoom with this year’s theme being “A Dream, a Pipeline and Sustainable Rebirth”.

Attendance is freeREGISTER NOW

There are six sessions: AgriTourism; Community Tourism; Eventing4Tourism; Tech4Tourism; Finance4Tourism; and Education4Tourism, running from 09:00 to 18:30, with global and local experts in their fields taking


Richard PerezFounding Director of the Hasso Plattner D-School at the UCT Business School 

Keynote speaker: Re-Imagining Tourism through Human-Centred Design – Passion for Africa 

Thursday, August 5, at 09:00 

Richard Perez is the founding director of the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town, which leverages the global network of both Potsdam, Germany and Stanford, United States. Perez’s expertise and experience combines human centred design with business thinking, management and strategy. His area of specialisation is design thinking as a driver of innovation and strategic leadership; and he advises organisations (private and public) in both South Africa, the Africa region including the likes of the World Bank and United Nations Foundation. Prior to founding the d-school, Richard spent three years as a director at the City of Cape Town where, in a first for a public administration in South Africa, he pioneered design as a strategy and management tool to advance the creation of effective human-centred solutions.  


Judy Kepher-Gona : Founder & Advisor: Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, Kenya 

SESSION 1 – Community Tourism: By the Community, for the Community – Sustainable Tourism for Life. 

Thursday, August 5 at 10:15 

Judy Kepher Gona has more than two decades of working in sustainable tourism in Africa as a manager, strategist, researcher, lecturer, global speaker, motivator and consultant. Her interests are in community led models of tourism, integration of communities in tourism supply chain, sustainability assessment and reporting. In 2018, Women Academics in Tourism (WAIT) recognised her among the top 50 awesome scholars in tourism. In 2019, she was awarded the Sustainable Citizen Award by Forbes Woman Africa in recognition of outstanding contribution to awareness and knowledge of sustainability in tourism in Africa and beyond. In 2020, Centre for Responsible Tourism awarded a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to sustainable tourism and in the same year she was named amongst 40 global shakers in sustainable tourism. Kepher-Gona holds a master’s degree in Community Development & Rural Sociology and is the founder of Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda (STTA). 


Markus Nellessen :Investor: Intosol Luxesreisen, Germany 

SESSION 2 – Eventing4Tourism: Working for Sold Out Bookings 52 Weeks of the Year. 

Thursday, August 5 at 11:10 

Markus Nellessen is a former banker in Europe and investor in different businesses such as the travel industry and digitalisation. Among others, he is invested in Intosol, a German- based award-winning, international luxury travel company providing bespoke travel solutions globally, utilising its highly experienced travel consultants and proprietary itinerary management technology. The company is actively expanding on its successful core business of designing luxury trips to more than 3500 global destinations with a main focus on South Africa, into the real estate market through the acquisition of luxury boutique properties for its SOUL Private Collection in South Africa. Nellessen is involved in creating investment models for international investors into travel businesses such as boutique hotels, safari lodges, wine farms and others. Main focus of the investments into South Africa are based on sustainability, integration of communities, educational programmes and environmental protection.  


Maylene Broderick :Chief Director: Enterprise Development & Transformation, National Department of Tourism  

Topic: Women in Tourism 

Thursday, August 5 at 12:30 

Maylene Broderick is a results-oriented executive with more than 15 years senior management experience in South Africa and Canada. She is an experienced Public Service Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry and South African public sector. In addition, she is an experienced executive in retail and commercial banking, having led the business banking team in Limpopo.  


Sinelizwi Fakade :Rural development specialist and commercial farmer  

SESSION 3 – Agri-tourism: Sowing the seeds for an eternal harvest – thoughts on growing tourism on farms. 

Thursday, August 5 at 12:50 

Sinelizwi Fakade is the managing director and owner of the Rocky Park Farming Group. He holds four degrees related to rural development, commercial agricultural production, mixed farming systems and food security; Master in Agriculture being his highest qualification from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is also the founder and chairman of an NPO called Ukhanyo Farmer Development, a group of 36 young agricultural graduates, 90% being young women who upskill, train and mentor 1300 communal based farmers in the Eastern Cape. 


Cathy Goddard : CEO & Founding Partner: FyreFem Fund Managers and SAVCA Board Member 

FLASH FIND – De-stressing what is in distress 

Thursday, August 5 at 13:50 

Cathy Goddard is the CEO and founding partner of a South African-based BEE women-owned private equity fund manager FyreFem Fund Managers, a category 2 FSCA-registered fund manager with a focus on SMEs, gender and jobs. She is a board member of the Southern African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (SAVCA) and the Turnaround Management Association (TMA).   

Goddard is an investment committee member of Spear Capital, a Scandinavian-backed fund which provides growth capital funding in Africa and is currently incubating two SA SME Fund funded venture capital firms for FSCA Compliance purposes, both based in Cape Town, and one Enterprise Development Trust. She is a registered senior business rescue practitioner and has experience in working with distressed assets and turnarounds.  


Natalia Bayona 

Director of Innovation, Education, and Investments at United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 

Session 4 Education4Tourism: Skills and standards – is it time for retraining or an overhaul? 

Thursday, August 5 at 14:10 

Natalia Bayona is the leader of the Innovation at the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and an Executive MBA from IE Business School, and is part of the World Economic Forum network as a European Digital Leader for IE Business School. In 2017, Bayona served as the Vice President of International Development for the Spain Startup – South Summit. She organised the first South Summit Pacific Alliance, connecting the main stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. In 2016, she began her 10-year tenure in ProColombia, during which she has lived in six countries where she has developed strategies that boost export, foreign investment and tourism for Colombia. 


Dorian Toussaint : Tech Co-Founder, Ground Transport Distribution Solution   

SESSION 5 – Tech4Tourism: Changing Fast & Bringing New Opportunities – Get in the Know. 

Thursday, August 5 at 15:10 

Toussaint is an experienced co-founder and business operator, starting his first business while in high school, breeding and selling budgies. Having qualified from the then Wits Technikon with a National Diploma in Tourism, he has a rich history of working in the tourism, hospitality and services industry and loves being at the coalface of business, engaging with his clients.  An entrepreneur at heart, his main focus as co-founder and CEO was Professional Passenger Services, a ground transport operator in Johannesburg that he built up over 23 years to until he exited the business in December 2019.  Having an intimate understanding of the ground transport industry Toussaint and his partner Leona developed Tousca, an innovative ground transport aggregator with a double-sided offering. A single booking platform that easily connecting global travel bookers to African ground transport operators, a first in South Africa, and an operator management system to enable these operators to service and scale their businesses. Toussaint’s love is the creativity associated with problem-solving, finding systems and solutions that develop meaningful partnerships, enabling and growing SMEs in tourism. 

For more information on the symposium visit TIA360

The TIA Symposium is supported by INVESTDURBAN


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