During the years of the Challenge we have been able to meet and engage with highly motivated and knowledgeable people in their respective fields some of whom you have already been introduced to over time and others who you are yet to meet. Do read their valuable messages.

“Andrew Hosking, Operations Director – Central Northern Region says, “With over 90 hotels and more than 300 conferencing and banqueting venues, as well as a workforce of over 5,000 people, Southern Sun has an unparalleled footprint in South Africa, Africa, Seychelles, and the Middle East. Due to our heritage, ethos, size, and scale, we play an integral role in the development of skills throughout the industry.

During the last year, the group provided over 570 formally certificated learning programmes to employees and provided over 480 unemployed students with work-based learning opportunities to enable them to complete their studies and graduate. Through our participation in the Inter Hotel Challenge, sponsored by HEINEKEN Beverages, every year, our ongoing commitment to the development of up-and-coming talent is further demonstrated. 

The Inter Hotel Challenge provides a wonderful platform for our experienced professionals to mentor their teams and it offers our new talent the opportunity to showcase their skills and be rewarded for exceptional performance.  It also encourages healthy competition between participants and exposure to new trends and ideas throughout the industry.

With its focus on improvement and self-development, the Challenge gives participants valuable technical training and improves their knowledge of wines and culinary trends. Southern Sun is proud to have been involved with the Challenge for over a decade. In the 2022 Inter Hotel Challenge awards, Southern Sun employees accounted for an unrivalled 14 of the top spots across all the competition categories.

The Challenge makes a significant contribution to building and honing much-needed hospitality skills in South Africa and the group is exceptionally proud of our Southern Sun people for their achievements to date. The winners’ commitment to mentoring and supporting their colleagues, passing the torch of excellence to a new generation each year, is one of the most engaging aspects of this Challenge, which is anchored to the transfer of skills and mentorship in the hospitality sector.

When it comes to passing the torch – from Southern Sun Hyde Park to the Beverly Hills in uMhlanga to Arabella in Hermanus – Southern Sun has a heritage that is inexorably linked to the development of the hospitality industry in Southern Africa. Only a handful of companies can boast a heritage as long, enduring, and rich as ours. In the last five decades, every individual who has passed through the doors of one of the group’s hotels has been influenced by the special magic that our remarkably South African company represents.

When it comes to the sector, it is no coincidence that many a well-known leader has spent time working at Southern Sun. The group has shaped the careers of nearly every type of high-profile individual in the industry – from top executives to renowned chefs, and it is in this spirit, that we are delighted to once again be participating in the Inter Hotel Challenge, sponsored by HEINEKEN Beverages. 

We wish the teams the very best of luck and we look forward to another rewarding Inter-Hotel Challenge this year!”

Vaughan Pierce, Executive: ESG (Sustainability, Stakeholder & Community) Pick n Pay says, “The role of business is to give back and to do good. It is not only about keeping prices down and fighting with suppliers to keep prices low, but also helping make changes that affect people. For anyone starting out in business, it is important to understand that to be successful you’ve got to care about your community, care about your society and care about your people. It doesn’t happen the other way around, hence our motto at Pick n Pay, which we live by in everything we do:  “Doing Good is Good Business.”

We are so proud as Pick n Pay to partner with the Inter Hotel Challenge for 2023. We believe it a phenomenal initiative that has a proven track record and its success is evident in the brilliant young talent that are gainfully employed all around South Africa making a difference for themselves and others around them, all as a result of their participation in the Inter Hotel Challenge.

We are so honoured to be part of this journey of making a difference in the lives of South Africans who need the opportunity to prove themselves and their worth. I want to wish everyone participating this year, everything of the very best. This is opportunity of a life time, take it with both hands.”

“WWF-SASSI has always maintained that the chefs especially young upcoming chefs can transform the culinary industry to be both environmentally and socially responsible.  With our food systems in crisis, chefs can be engineers of change because they can lead the way when it comes to safeguarding our natural resources, ensuring that we have healthy, sustainable food into the future,” says Ms Pavitray (Pavs) Pillay, Environmental Behaviour Change Practitioner & WWF-SASSI Manager

Tarryn Tomlinson, our Accessible Tourism Ambassador for FEDHASA and winner of the WTM – Africa Responsible Tourism Awards for diversity and inclusion is the CEO of “Liveable Universal Access” Consultancy and “Able2Travel Accessible Travel” – working with disabled travellers and tourists, internationally and in South Africa. 

She says, “Nearly 20% of the world’s population is living with some kind of disability visible or invisible, yet many buildings and tourism activities are inaccessible. Travellers with disabilities deserve just as much consideration as any other guest.”

Our Concierges will enter this year recommending accessible tourism activities within close proximity of their hotels – facilities such as an accessible entrance, bathrooms and communal areas including perceptual information that enables persons with disabilities to navigate the space.

Concierge Judge Mike Waller, CEO Dragonfly Africa says, “The post pandemic recovery for the MICE sector, particularly out of the North American market, has been nothing short of phenomenal. And this despite tripping ourselves up regularly with riots, Russian training exercises off our coastline, Putin visits and taxi strikes. The value for money against product abroad is unbeatable and having travelled quite extensively to our first world source markets in the last 12 months, I can confidently say that nothing beats warm South African hospitality. And our F&B service is world class, with no need to get your dinner order in by 8h45 pm, as seems to be the norm still in New York for example. Not to mention breakfast not included in your room rate so one is left nursing a luke warm R170 cappuccino instead.”


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