Sandton Times Hour

Sandton Times Hour Edition 123 Podcast Show Notes

The weekly Sandton Times Hour is a Sandton magazine show that brings the wanted online pages of The Sandton Times to life.


  • Jonathan Ayache, Chief Executive Officer of LIFT Airline, provides a business update and an outlook for the holiday season ahead.
  • Lee-Anne Bac, Director of Advisory Services at BDO, looks at tourism numbers to date and the state of hospitality in Sandton.
  • Bielle Bellingham, Executive Creative Director of Decorex Africa provides a run-down of this year’s event, hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre.
  • Julian Short, multi-award-winning Mixologist and Co-Owner of Sin Tax Bar, chats about representing South Africa at Diageo World Class in Brazil this year!
  • Visit for more stories.


As the only radio show and podcast dedicated to Africa’s richest square mile, this Sandton magazine show is packed with an array of entertaining and informative interviews blended with the best music, every week on Mix 93.8, Mondays at 7pm.


The Sandton Times offers readers all they ever wanted online, and The Sandton Times Hour is the go-to weekly magazine show broadcast from greater Sandton. The Sandton magazine show features fabulous food spots, luxurious lifestyle bits, first-hand travel tips, motoring notes, and world-class entertainment, business and so much more beyond the borders of greater Sandton. In 2023, the radio show and podcast was selected by Feedspot panellists at #15 on a ranking of Top 40 South Africa Podcasts on the web.


In this week’s show [Edition 123 | Week 29] The Sandton Times covers an array of topical news as well as these interviews:


LIFT Airline Business Update With Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ayache

Sandton Times Hour
With a commitment to sustainable growth, LIFT aims to build a strong presence in the South African airline industry, providing customers with excellent services and expanding their reach in the region. Image: The Sandton Times

LIFT, the South African airline, has managed to establish itself as a favorite and preferred choice for many travellers due to its focus on the customer experience and flexibility in allowing passengers to change or cancel airline tickets without penalties. The airline is expanding its fleet with four additional aircraft, offering a flexible capacity that can be adjusted based on demand.


The company has already launched new routes, including Johannesburg to Durban and Durban to Cape Town. They are well on track to increase their available seat capacity to approximately 1.5-million seats this year, a significant increase from the previous year. In a notable milestone, LIFT signed a lease agreement with AerCap, the world’s largest aviation leasing company, for an Airbus A320-200.


This partnership demonstrates AerCap’s confidence in LIFT’s potential and growth prospects. The new aircraft will be branded with LIFT’s signature livery and will operate across the airline’s network starting from May.


For more information, visit the LIFT website.


State Of Hospitality In Sandton With BDO Director Of Advisory Services Lee-Anne Bac

Sandton Times Hour
The recovery of the tourism sector will depend on factors such as affordable flights, competition, safety perceptions, and the reopening of borders in key source markets. Image: The Sandton Times

Lee-Anne Bac, director of advisory services at BDO South Africa, reports that the country’s tourism sector is showing signs of recovery, with foreign tourism rebounding. In the first four months of 2023, 3.7 million visitors entered South Africa. The increase is attributed to intra-Africa travel, with arrivals from rest-of-Africa tourists.


However, overseas visitors still lag behind. This national picture is mirrored in areas like greater Sandton, where factors affecting the slow return of overseas tourists include limited affordable flights, competition from more affordable destinations, and concerns about safety and infrastructure issues. 5-star hotels have experienced positive growth in occupancy and but not in average room rates, especially in Sandton. However, 3-star hotels continue to struggle due to low occupancy and rates.


Despite challenges, the industry is well-positioned to attract tourists from African countries and explore untapped markets for sustained growth and recovery.


Lee-Anne is the Director of Advisory Services at BDO, leading the Management Advisory team. Her expertise lies in providing strategic advisory services to clients in the private and public sectors, with a focus on tourism, hospitality, leisure, property, and related industries. In her role, she assists clients with strategic planning, feasibility studies, market demand assessments, financial modeling, and commercial due diligence. Lee-Anne has worked on various assignments, including market research and analysis, strategy development for tourism sectors, marine tourism, and provincial events.


She also conducts economic impact assessments for events hosted in South Africa. With a background in Microbiology and Zoology and an MBA, Lee-Anne is well-equipped to address a wide range of issues and is a sought-after speaker at conferences and media interviews on topics related to tourism, hospitality, property industries, and women in business.


For more information, visit the BDO South Africa website.


30th Anniversary Of Decorex Joburg With Executive Creative Director Bielle Bellingham

Sandton Times Hour
The show will feature over 13’000 exhibitors and present the latest trends, curated displays, and new product releases in collaboration with show partners Lexus, Plascon, and Samsung. Image: The Sandton Times

Decorex Joburg, Africa’s leading decor and design platform, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a four-day event from 3 to 6 August 2023 at the Sandton Convention Centre.


The event will run alongside sister shows Design Joburg and 100% Design Africa, providing visitors access to all three shows with one entry ticket. Decorex Joburg will showcase various halls, including the Kitchens & Bathrooms Hall on Level 0, featuring top brands and the latest kitchen and bathroom designs.


The Decor Hall on Level 5 will present diverse offerings from over 70 brands, including curtains, wallpaper, and interior decorators. Additionally, the Plan & Build Hall on Level -2 will exhibit architectural, building, and fitting solutions for renovations and new builds. Trade professionals can attend for free by pre-registering through the Decorex Africa website, and the Joburg Decor & Design Week will precede the event, starting on 31 July 2023. Show times and ticket details are provided for attendees, with parking options available at Nelson Mandela Square and Sandton City Parking.


For more information, visit the Decorex website.


Diageo World Class With Multi-Award-Winning Mixologist Julian Short

Sandton Times Hour
The World Class competition, spanning 60 countries and training over 400’000 bartenders in the past 14 years, is known for its tough competition. Image: Diageo World Class

Julian Short, a 31-year-old South African bartender, has clinched his second Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year title, previously winning in 2017.


Despite this, Julian entered the contest with a different perspective, focusing on challenging himself rather than fearing younger or less experienced competitors. He emphasizes the importance of constant innovation and skill exchange in the bar industry and has traveled internationally to represent South Africa in various competitions.


In 2016, Julian became the head bartender and bar manager at Sin Tax Bar, eventually purchasing the bar to combine business skills with creative cocktail-making. Moreover, he played a key role in mentoring disadvantaged bar staff through Diageo South Africa’s The Hand-Up Mentorship Programme, aimed at upskilling entry-level bartenders for participation in the World Class competition.


Now, Julian is ready to take on the global stage in the finals in Brazil with renewed confidence and passion for mixology.


For more information, visit the Diageo World Class website.


Sandton Times Hour Music Playlist

  • Aqua – Barbie Girl (Tiësto Remix)
  • Peggy Gou – (It Goes Like) Nanana
  • Just The Two Of Us (ft. RØDY) [Dance Fruits Release]


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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