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From Bronwyn Slade, Director, Global Business Development

One of the greatest gifts I receive from international business trips is personally experiencing unique ways to elevate destination experiences.  

Recently I participated in InVoyage in Cape Town, South Africa. The Cape Town DMC’s, Dragonfly Africa and Concepts Collection, thoughtfully and respectfully wove local cultural through our entire four-day program. They created an inspirational environment to develop deep connections with the destination and with each other.  These intentionally curated elements moved me and sparked me to consider how we at PDS continue to elevate destination experiences for our clients and their guests.

I’m grateful to share a few of the soul-stirring experiences designed by our attentive Cape Town hosts and offer some inspirational ideas for elevated programming in Western Canada.

Music + Dance: The International Language

Music and dance are the heart, soul and spirit of a culture. In Cape Town, African performers were part of almost every program element. Their passion gave me goosebumps – it was moving and uplifting.


Image: 3 Tons of Fun

Our music and dance scene in Western Canada is diverse. We love collaborating with contemporary performers to push boundaries and fuse muti-cultural Canadian influences together. For our “Cirque Spawkus” event theme, we merged two unique Canadian elements to design a custom Cirque du Soleil style performance with traditional First Nations culture.

Watch our Cirque Spawkus video

Authentic Activations: Home-grown Specialties

The Mount Nelson Hotel, our host hotel in Cape Town, is known for its afternoon high tea. People come from far and wide to book a table in their gorgeous tearoom. Our meeting hosts infused this tea theme starting right from the welcome meeting. During “coffee” breaks, I met Tea Sommeliers who poured delicate blends, and walked me through the nuances of each delicious taste sensation.


Image: Tea Sommelier, Mount Nelson Hotel

In Western Canada we are blessed with fertile farmland for so many “farm-to-table” fresh food options, most within 100 kms of our key destinations. For meeting breaks, we’ve introduced educational honey tastings served by Beekeepers. The delicious local honey was served on fresh-baked bread and even the venue decor was akin to being inside a beehive for a completely immersive experience. 

Explore our Welcome Spring themed meeting breaks


Image: Bee Keeper, “Welcome Spring”

Inspired Storytelling: Local Luminaries

About 1 hour from Cape Town, we visited Klein Goederust Boutique Winery, owned and operated by Paul Siguqa. Under the apartheid regime, workers on the wine farms, including Paul’s mother Nomaroma, were partially paid in wine. In 2019, Paul became the first black South African to own his own wine farm. His beautiful farm produces fantastic wines, and his mom now creates amazing meals in his winery to pair with the wines that her son and his team produce.

Image: Paul Siguqa | Photo Credit: The Citizen

Our team continues to explore and introduce local luminaries in BC and AB who are subject matter experts in their field.  Storytelling is integral to Canadian First Nations cultures. One of our favourite storytellers is Candace Campo, an Indigenous educator and businesswoman. She and her husband Larry own and operate Talaysay Tours. Through their “Talking Trees” local nature walks, they share their traditional ecological practices, ancient and contemporary history, stories, legends and Indigenous ways of living. They are helping to build the next generation in business, tourism and education employment while supporting culture revitalization, land-based education, and reclamation

Image: Candace Campo

Feel the Heartbeat: Memorable Moments

Beyond the latest event trends, as destination ambassadors we are privileged to design emotional and powerful programs that stir the soul and help guests feel the heartbeat of our destinations. And isn’t that the real beauty of travel and human connection?

Image: First Nations Carver | Photo Credit: Kasselman Creative

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