Africa Travel Week

Monika Iuel: Tourism is in my blood

Monika is the Chief Marketing Officer at Wesgro- the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

How did you fall in love with travelling? 

My parents moved us around a lot, between Berlin in Germany and various towns and cities in South Africa. In my early 20s I was based in Berlin and travelled through most of Europe in that time. 

What kind of traveller are you? 

I got into the inbound tourism industry in South Africa early on in my career, and have as a result developed a “champagne taste on a beer budget”. I adore the fact that South Africa (and in particular the Western Cape) has such an incredible range of different products that are truly world class, with exceptional hospitality, innovative cuisine and delightful wines, and at an affordable price point. 

Tell us about one of your most
memorable trips? 

I also really love traveling off the grid (but in comfort), and we’ve found a real gem in the Robertson area; a self-catering home tucked into the cleft between 2 hills, solar and gas powered, no light pollution, wide open spaces and no cell phone reception and no TV. Heaven! 

What lessons have you learnt from your experience during COVID? 

My biggest lesson is that nothing replaces in person interaction. We truly need human connection in our lives, when we travel, when we have business meetings, when we brainstorm, when we celebrate. I have always been a big fan of human connection, but now I savour every moment where I get to see the world through someone else’s eyes by interacting with them. 

Based on the five sense and thinking about travelling what do you: 

  •  Like to see: nature, wide open spaces, mountains, sunsets 
  •  Like to taste: gosh this list is endless! I love fresh. I love “prepared with love”. I love local. Also: braai! 
  • Like to feel: the wind in my face; the crackling log fire warming my toes; the exhaustion after a long hike 
  •  Like to hear: silence. After a year of being locked down in an apartment in Cape Town the most heavenly thing was going to a place of complete silence. 
  • Like to smell: freshly opened bottle of MCC; Braai! 😊 the fynbos after a nice soaking rain; the ocean on a sea breeze 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.