2015 Business Traveller Africa Awards winners announced


South African Airways, Emirates, Tsogo Sun, HRG Rennies Travel and Avis were the big winners at the fourth annual Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards, held in association with Absa at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg on yesterday (1 September).

Both SAA and Emirates were ‘double’ winners, with SAA picking up the top award in the ‘Best African Regional Short-Haul Airline’ and ‘Best African Long-Haul Airline’ categories, whilst it lost out in the ‘Best Business Class’ category to Middle Eastern airline Emirates, which also picked up the ‘Best International Long-Haul Airline’ prize.

In the main hotel category, the ‘Best South African Hotel Group’ award went the way of Tsogo Sun, as it has done in the past three years, ahead of fellow nominees City Lodge, Legacy Hotels & Resorts, and Sun International. Protea Hotels has traditionally been a nominee in this category, but since the Marriott International acquisition of Protea Hotels in 2014, the group has since become a brand of Marriott. As a result, it was Marriott who walked away with the ‘Best International Hotel Group’ award, thanks in large to its significant South African presence through Protea.

Another repeat winner was HRG Rennies Travel, which edged out American Express Travel Services, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and Travel with Flair in the ‘Best Travel Management Company’ category.

Avis also successfully defended its ‘Best Car Rental Company’ title, holding off the challenge of Bidvest Car Rental, Europcar, First, Hertz and Thrifty.

This year saw one new category being contested – ‘Best African Low-Cost Airline’ – with Comair’s Kulula the inaugural winner in this category, ahead of Fastjet, FlyAfrica, FlySafair, and Mango.

As in previous years, the Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards handed out the ‘Business Travel Personality of the Year’. The 2015 recipients – in a joint award – are the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) CEO Otto de Vries and the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) CEO David Frost, for the tireless work they’ve done in challenging the changes to South Africa’s immigration regulations on behalf of their members and the broader industry.

Frost took part in one of two business travel-related panel discussions at the event, with his discussion looking specifically at the industry implications of the changes to this immigration legislation. The other took the form of the event’s first ever ‘corporate travel buyer roundtable’, and the audience was able to gain some useful insight into this element of South African business travel.

The 2015 Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards also featured an opening address from South Africa’s Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, and a keynote speech from Mavuso Msimang, the Chairman of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa.

The Business Traveller Africa Conference & Awards was hosted by Times Media Events and Business Traveller Africa magazine – in association with headline sponsor Absa and corporate partners ABTA (African Business Travel Association), Air France-KLM, ASATA, British Airways, ExecuJet Africa, Kerzner International, Thebe Reed Exhibitions, and Travelport.

Launched in 2012 in association with Business Traveller Africa magazine, the awards ceremony is an event for the South African business travel trade, covering all aspects of business travel, including hotels, airlines, car rental and travel management, along with related categories such as travel credit card provider, foreign exchange, visas, private aviation and  conferencing.

The full list of nominees and winners is as follows (in alphabetical order):

African Long-Haul Airline
Air Mauritius
Air Namibia
Ethiopian Airlines
Kenya Airways
SAA (winner)

African Low-Cost Airline
Kulula (winner)

African Regional Short-Haul Airline
Air Mauritius
Comair (BA & Kulula)
SAA (winner)

Airport Business Lounge
Bidvest Premier (ORTIA – International)
Emirates (ORTIA – International)
SLOW Lounge (ORTIA – International)
SLOW Lounge (ORTIA – Domestic)
Virgin Atlantic (ORTIA – International) (winner)

Business Class
British Airways
Emirates (winner)
Qatar Airways
Virgin Atlantic

Business Hotel in SA
Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre
Radisson Blu Gautrain
The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
The Maslow Hotel (winner)
The Michelangelo Hotel
The Westin Cape Town

Car Rental Company
Avis (winner)
Bidvest Car Rental
First Car Rental

Forex Supplier
American Express Foreign Exchange (winner)
Bidvest Bank

Global Distribution System
Travelport (winner)

International Hotel Group
Four Seasons
Marriott (winner)

International Long-Haul Airline
British Airways
Emirates (winner)
Qatar Airways
Virgin Atlantic

Large Conference Venue
Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre
Cape Town International Convention Centre
Emperors Palace
International Convention Centre Durban
Sandton Convention Centre (winner)

Luxury Hotel in SA
One&Only Cape Town (winner)
Taj Cape Town
The Michelangelo Hotel
The Oyster Box
Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Private Aviation Operator
Air Charter Service
Comair Flight Services
ExecuJet (winner)
Federal Air

Small Conference Venue
African Pride Mount Grace Country House & Spa
Blue Lagoon Hotel & Conference Centre
Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
Fairway Hotel, Spa& Golf Resort (winner)
Focus Rooms
Indaba Hotel, Spa & Conference Centre
Lagoon Beach Hotel
Misty Hills Country Hotel, Conference Centre & Spa
Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
The Blades
The Fairway Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort
The Maslow Hotel

South African Hotel Group
City Lodge Hotels
Legacy Hotels & Resorts
Sun International
Tsogo Sun (winner)

Travel Credit Card Provider
American Express
Diners Club (winner)

Travel Management Company
American Express Travel Services
Carlson Wagonlit Travel
HRG Rennies Travel (winner)
Travel with Flair

Travel Sales Team
Beachcomber Tours
Bidvest Car Rental
Corporate Travelle (winner)r
Flight Centre Business Travel
Protea Hotels
Thompsons Travel

Visa Service Provider
Blade Express (winner)
MDS VisaPak
Visas & Passports Unlimited
Visa International