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December 09 www. bus- ex. com 147 Vogel, general manager of Sibaya Entertainment Kingdom, part International Group, shares his perfection with Jayne Flannery Playing win T he management team of Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom takes it as a great compliment when first- time visitors are left speechless by what they see before them. The awe-inspiring architecture of the Sibaya complex is set against an idyllic Indian Ocean background; and at the heart of the complex lies a state- of- the- art gaming fantasia designed to break new ground in the casino industry. It is supported by two hotels- the five- star Royal Sibaya Hotel and the three- star Sibaya Lodge- along with magnificent conference facilities and a carefully crafted range of signature activities and events, each of which is at the forefront of its particular segment of the leisure market. Not everyone comes to gamble, says general manager Melville Vogel of the 250,000- plus visitors who pass through the Sibaya Kingdom each month. " That is obviously our core activity, but Sibaya is a multi- faceted leisure experience. For example, we also offer a wonderful dining experience at Aqua, our signature restaurant, which is headed by an award- winning chef and offers fantastic value for money. Consumers are price conscious and we aim to offer an exceptional proposition to those who love fine dining. Most days of the year we offer fresh oysters at cost price plus value- added- tax, and we sell French champagne on the same basis," he says. Then there is the thatched Izulu Theatre, the largest thatch structure in the world, which has a capacity of approximately 600 and hosts world class productions such as the internationally acclaimed African Footprint, which was the theatre's first production. For those who love nightlife, the triple- volume Krakatoa Nightclub is also part of Sibaya- if you can get in, that is! Vogel finds it gratifying that five years after opening, hundreds of guests are still prepared to queue each weekend after Krakatoa was rated by the Sunday Times as one of the finest clubs in the country. Lady Luck has played a minimal part in establishing Sibaya's reputation and success. Vogel explains that the greater Durban area is a highly competitive environment with most competitors being closer to big urban conglomerations and within more immediate reach than Sibaya, which has an out- of- town perception. " From the outset, our position compelled us to seek out a unique position in the casino marketplace. Unlike other casinos, which have a fondness for portraying other parts of the world and often feature, for example, Italian or tropical themes, Sibaya was clear from the start that it wanted to be an African venue. The look and feel of our architecture and d├ęcor is pure Africa and I believe we are the first African casino to make this statement. Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom to

148 www. bus- ex. com December 09