The Board and shareholders attending the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently heard an inspirational account of how, during unprecedented times, the CTICC has adapted its business to serve the people of the Western Cape.
“2020 was an unusual year; but like a chameleon responding to its changing environment, the CTICC adapted to the challenges presented by Covid-19,” said CEO Taubie Motlhabane. “We did this by pivoting our business practices, transforming operations and reigniting our passion for innovation. And, with the support of our various partners, we are cautiously optimistic. We are all going through a very tough time, but we are hopeful that brighter days are coming.”
The company was set for a good fourth quarter, Motlhabane told the AGM, and poised to achieve its revenue target of R285m (US$19.29m). However, when Lockdown Level 5 was implemented in March 2020, the venue’s closure had a significant impact on performance, resulting in revenue falling to R220.7m, 23% below the initial target.
As a result of this, an EBITDA loss of R23.6m was anticipated. However, with careful management of costs, Motlhabane and her team managed to reduce the deficit to R12.5m (a 46.8% improvement on the revised target).
The executive mayor of the City of Cape Town, Alderman Dan Plato, pointed out in his Foreword in the CTICC’s 2019/20 Integrated Annual Report: “The CTICC has adapted itself remarkably to contribute to the opportunity city. Its cumulative economic contribution to the Western Cape Province has risen by R4.9bn this financial year to R44.5bn.”
Furthermore, the centre’s contribution to South Africa’s national GDP was R5.5bn. More than 11,000 jobs were created nationally, bringing the total number of jobs created since the CTICC ope ned its doors in 2003 to 142,326.
The CTICC also reported that 87.5% of total procurement spend was with locally-based service partners, while 86% of its spend was placed with B-BBEE service partners. In addition, 42% of the total service partner base were women-owned enterprises, up 3% on the previous financial year.
Adapting with agility to serve the Western Cape and its communities
One particular achievement that Motlhabane is proud of at CTICC is the hosting of the temporary Covid-19 Hospital of Hope in CTICC 1. The 862-bed hospital cared for more than 1,500 patients over the 11 weeks it was open. In that time, the CTICC kitchens provided up to six meals a day for patients, catering for a range of dietary needs, such as those with diabetic, cardiac and other specialised requirements.
The CTICC also provided operational support, including Wi-Fi and security.
The Ladles of Love feeding scheme required space to store, prepare and distribute food to some of Cape Town’s most vulnerable communities. In the 60 days they were based at CTICC 2, the scheme delivered close to 2.6m meals across Cape Town.
“At these times, supporting our communities has become an important expression of the CTICC’s triple-bottom-line commitment to people, planet and profit,” said CTICC Board chairperson, Deon Cloete, in his Foreword to the 2019/20 Integrated Annual Report.
These initiatives brought the CTICC’s overall CSR contribution during the financial year to a total value of R5.5m, an increase of 340%.
Hosting and creating extraordinary events and experiences: past, present and future
From July 2019 to March 2020, the CTICC hosted 397 events, including 34 international conferences, meeting the annual target. This figure was the same as the previous year, despite three and a half months of no activity.
The largest international event was AfricaCom 2019, which was attended by 11,527 delegates, while other major local events included the Cape Homemakers Expo 2019 (26,686) and the Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020 (22,000), as well as Mama Magic: The Baby Expo (19,782). In addition, the CTICC attracted a number of new events such as the Korean Consumer Showcase, the Asian Racing Conference and the Doha Debates.
The CTICC also instituted its ‘own events’ this year, with the first CTICC Gift Fair attracting almost 3,000 visitors in November 2019. (Click here to see a video that shows the full story of the event.)
The AllSport Expo was the CTICC’s next ‘own event’. This one-stop-shop sporting exhibition was formally launched in March 2020 and was planned for September 2020. However, it was postponed due to Covid-19. As Motlhabane explained: “Although the CTICC could not host the full in-person exhibition due to Covid-19 restrictions, we demonstrated our agility by adapting the event and hosting digital AllSport coaching workshops in October and November 2020.”
A specific and renewed emphasis on Africa-focused events during the year under review has built on the wide range of African-themed events already hosted at the CTICC by bringing in new events, such as the Africa Energy Indaba, the Manufacturing Indaba and Africa Halal Week, as well as MTN’s Global Connect trade expo.
Adapting to the ever-changing Covid-19 environment
Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde noted in his Foreword in the 2019/20 Integrated Annual Report that social distancing, remote working and connecting through technology has become the new – or next – normal.
“The CTICC adapted swiftly and has not only implemented comprehensive Covid-19 safety measures under the C19-Care initiative, but has also introduced remote working, as well as a range of new hybrid and digital event options for its clients,” said Winde.
The centre is able to safely host events that fit the current constraints on public meetings, harnessing the very latest technology. A range of digital experiences is available, including a ‘walk-through’ virtual experience.
Keeping sustainability to the fore, whatever the future holds
In keeping with its sustainability focus, the CTICC diverted 71% of its waste from landfill. Municipal water consumption was also reduced by 33.1%. This was partly due to the CTICC’s reverse osmosis plant, which converts groundwater to drinking water. The quality of this water is so good, it was used by the Hospital of Hope for all their requirements.
“We are conscious of the environmental impact of our operations and make every effort to reduce our consumption of water and energy.” Motlhabane added. Overall energy consumption dropped by nearly 5% compared to the previous financial year.
Where to next for the CTICC?
“It has been almost a year since Covid-19 started disrupting our economy. The CTICC, like many other organisations, has been impacted and we have had to adapt quickly and continuously. The future dictates that we continue to be agile and flexible, if we are going to thrive,” said Motlhabane.
“Our priority now is to get the CTICC back to full operational activity so that we can continue to contribute to South Africa’s GDP and the Western Cape’s GGP. We will focus on finding new ways of doing business and continue to innovate in the event space,” she said, adding: "We have hope and we will work hard to ensure that our hope becomes reality."
Click here to see the full report to see how we continue to adapt, thrive and inspire.