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Zibrant LIVE! Our World | January 17, 2018

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Hidden gems: An eye opener to the world

Hidden gems: An eye opener to the world

Our World | On 25, Aug 2011

Working in the events industry is stressful, but sometimes we are lucky enough to be involved in some very special moments. I was reflecting on past events that brought a smile to my face recently and I thought I’d share it with you all…

Shutting down Rio
Rio, well what can I say, what a beautiful city. As a close friend said to me once, it’s the city that’s guaranteed to always make you smile (sorry if some of you have started to hate me already). We stayed at Le Meridian which was nice and had everything that we needed but the wow factor was created by the style of event we were organising. A vehicle showcase, that’s what we were there for, and the scale of which went into unchartered territory as we closed a section of the Copacabana beach! Yes, the world famous beach had a section closed just for us – a first in its’ history. We had ramps and a full assault course constructed right on the beach. This, accompanied with a marketing/TV campaign in Brazil, meant that the locals came out in force! It was a real pinch yourself moment that I will never forget.

Loving Laos
If you want an event that breaks away from the norm how about camping in Laos? Ok maybe it’s not for everyone but honestly, my experience was fantastic. I won’t lie, the first few hours are a little hairy but after a while you get use to seeing child soldiers roaming around on the side of certain roads! The key to an event here is planning, planning and more planning. Local knowledge is a must as land mines are still present and therefore camps and routes must be planned and cleared in advance. As a cultural experience though, Laos can offer so much and yet still remains relatively undiscovered.

Bolivia is a hidden gem (honestly!)
This remarkable country offers so much, from the Salt flats to the cultural diversity of the people, there is so much to do and see. I admit it might not be on the usual routes for an incentive but I can’t praise it enough. First of all the salt flats are stunning. There’s no other word for it, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 square miles). As you come over the mountains and see such a vast area of pure white for the first time I challenge anyone not to be in absolute awe.

The other key aspect to this country that will blow you away is the people. I have to hold my hands up and admit that the diversity of colours, creeds and cultures took me by surprise however it was an amazing experience. Sucre has a very Indian feel, yet Santa Cruz is totally westernised. One common theme though, the Bolivian people are so welcoming. Obviously a CSR project is easy to set up and makes a real difference. You can get hands on and interact with the locals as you rebuild/paint a local school. The faces of the children are sure to change your life for the better and everyone on our event was extremely touched.

These are some of the experiences that have blown me away while on events and made me pinch myself and think how lucky I am to be involved in this industry. Writing this piece has also made me realise that however expensive a place is to visit or however grand the event, sometimes the most impactful experiences are the ones where you can make a difference to somebody else’s life.

Our industry and our business makes us privileged to visit some of the worlds treasures and giving back can sometimes be the most powerful reward you can organise for your staff. CSR events motivate individuals to do their bit to help the company grow and in turn help others around the world develop.

Olaf Felten