Intend to renew travel trade partnerships in India: Sherene Allaman of Sun International Hotels

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Currently on a 3-week-long trip to India to renew partnerships with travel trade partners here, Sherene Allaman, Vice President – Sales, Sun International Group, a leading hotel group in South Africa, said that one of the key focus during her trip is to highlight and promote Sun City Resort and South Africa as a preferred wedding destination for India market.

Although Sun International has been highlighting and projecting the immaculate facilities that they have to cater to all segments of travellers including the niche groups like destination weddings, Allaman said that the newly introduced gastronomy programme would make the Sun International properties, especially the Sun City Resorts, an appealing destination for Indian wedding organisers.

The group has four hotels of different categories in the Sun City Resort in Pilanesberg in North West Province offering over 1300 rooms. These properties range from the most premium The Palace of the Lost City to The Cascades, a 5-Star hotel; The Soho Hotel, a 4-star hotel; and The Cabanas, the mid-scale/budget hotel.

“Sun City is ideal for Indian weddings. We have a number of different venues in Sun City. Indian weddings take four to five days generally. Each day can be different and exclusive at Sun City,” she said.

As per the gastronomy programme, groups with specific food preferences, especially vegetarian Jaini food, Allaman said that Sun International can offer them complete kitchen facilities at the hotel. Moreover, she said that the kind of activities and experiences that these hotels can offer to guests of all ages would make their stay memorable in Sun City.

She said that the group hotels, 18 overall in South Africa, have undergone comprehensive upgradation during the Covid to give a new experience to guests. The Palace of the Lost City will be completing the renovation by October this year whereby the hotel will add a new spa and gym to the facility, she said. Similarly, The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, one of the most popular hotels with Indian customers, will be adding a new restaurant, manned by a local celebrity chef.

Along with the wedding market, Bollywood is another important segment Allaman is looking at engaging aggressively during this sales mission. As far as Indian market trends are concerned, she said that India has always been a “key source market” for Sun International and has been in the top 5 brackets of international markets for the hotel group.

The hotel company has been experiencing a substantial revival in business from India after the reopening of the borders after the Covid, she said. She hopes that at the current pace of business growth, the hotel company will be able to well exceed the preCovid margins of business from India by the end of the year.

In terms of popularity, she said that while Table Bay Cape Town figures on top of the Indian guest list, the Sun City hotels are equally popular with Indian customers. Other hotels in the portfolio which receive substantial Indian guests are Boardwalk Port Elizabeth, Maslow Sandton, Johannesburg, and Maslow Timesquare Pretoria, she added.

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