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Pietermaritzburg-based professional conference organiser hot toffee communications is set to grow following its debut at Meetings Africa 2024 thanks to the exposure it received on the Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)’s KZN Convention Bureau Pavilion

Pretty Olifant, hot toffee communications’ CEO, said the exhibition had been amazing and she had made many connections that she believed would lead to future business. These contacts included event organisers from Namibia, USA, Rwanda, Spain, Brazil, China and South Africa.

“Transformation in the tourism industry, including the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, is important. By including SMME’s in our Meetings Africa pavilion they were able to interact with international buyers and get more exposure for their businesses.

“If our SMME’s are to grow and play a role in driving sustainable economic growth and development, we have to provide them with the means to meet with and exhibit their products to international buyers,” said Acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal (TKZN), Mr. Sibusiso Gumbi.

Although based in PMB her hot toffee communications operates nationally and is accredited by the International Association of Professional Conference Organisers.

Pretty, who is a PMB Girls High pupil, a graduate of the AAA School of Adverting and comes with advertising industry experience, started her business in 2013 to offer a turnkey solution for clients. “We are a one-stop-shop events/conference organiser capable of assisting clients from conceptualisation to implementation of their function, including all aspects of marketing from website to advertising, promotional collateral and media planning and buying.” She said

She says she is a social entrepreneur and believes that businesses should be socially responsible. Her projects include a partnership with Durban University Technikon’s chiropractic unit which offers the community free sessions once a month; she champions literacy working with libraries and schools, and she has a love for culture and heritage. “I am passionate about history and using art as a weapon to fight social injustice and ills.

One of Pretty’s favourite initiatives is the annual Women in Tourism event undertaken for the Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association, of which she is Deputy Chairperson. The networking event aims to empower women in tourism and related sectors by enabling the sharing of information, opportunities, skills, knowledge and inspiring and motivating women.

A self-initiated event is Kwasuka Sukela, meaning once upon a time, in which she brings together artists, poets, photographers, painters, dancers, musicians, storytellers, DJs, fashion designers, and crafters to tell stories through their art, showcase and celebrate local talent and champion the love for storytelling, literature, arts, heritage and culture.

“We don’t have to wait for clients to bring us economically viable opportunities. We can make them ourselves. My favourite saying is the pie is big enough for all of us, we just need to expand the pie so we can all get a bigger slice.”

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