REGARDED as the gateway to the rest of Africa in terms of business opportunities and investments, South Africa and Johannesburg itself, are fast becoming the ideal platforms from which international exhibition and event organisers and their clients can tap into a burgeoning market of South African and African players. In particular, the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) has proven itself to be a unique, multi-purpose venue capable of hosting some of the biggest events in Africa.
South Africa has the capability, expertise and experience to host a wide range of events for any sector of industry. This is according to Craig Newman, chief executive officer of Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC). “In terms of exhibition, conference and events venues in Africa, we believe that South Africa is ahead at the moment with all the infrastructure, facilities, networks and ideal target audiences in place,” Mr Newman said. “It also has a wide range of world-class conference and exhibition organisers who have the necessary global experience to bring together international events that will meet and exceed international expectations.”
Johannesburg is a city that is well-equipped to handle international events of any proportion.
“We have a world-class international airport; the Gautrain – which provides transport from the airport to all major business hubs in Johannesburg; and a network of recently improved roads and major highways.” Mr Newman said.
“Then there are the world class venues.” According to Mr Newman, the exhibitions and events industry in South Africa is thriving despite restricted industry spend. In particular, the JEC remains on par with world-class standards, and following its multi-million-rand upgrade, it boasts multipurpose, highly flexible facilities that make it an ideal host for any event.
A multi-purpose venue with dedicated exhibition facilities that are the largest in Africa, the Johannesburg Expo Centre can offer over 50 000 square meters of covered space, and an additional over 100 000 square meters of outdoor, multi-purpose space. All this is accessible from multiple entrances, with all infrastructural requirements being provided, telecommunication services, five-star in house catering facilities, Wi-Fi and ample and secure parking for up to 20 000 vehicles.
In order to meet all the exhibition requirements of each client, the JEC has a designated helicopter landing zone, terraces that are used to house delivery vehicles, a long list of trusted events service providers, experienced and proficient event management staff, and 24-hour security. The venue itself is also easily accessed from several of the major city highways (M1, N1, N12 and N17) and is located just 30 minutes from OR Tambo International Airport.
The JEC’s first-rate facilities enable it to host an impressive line-up of shows and an extensive client portfolio that includes trade fairs such as Automechanika, Propak Africa, Electra Mining and Interbuild to name a few,as well as top consumer exhibitions such as Baba Indaba, Soweto Festival, Sexpo and the Johannesburg International Motor Show.
However, it is not just its extensive and dynamic facilities that make the JEC the ideal venue to host the most extravagant events in Gauteng. “Event organisers need more than just a great venue and convenience,” Mr Newman explained. “We believe clients are looking to work with a team of people with whom they can form a long-term and trusted relationship, a team of people who will help them build their event and customise it to meet all of their requirements,” he added.
So what does it take to become a world-class venue of choice? It appears to be a winning combination of flexibility, versatility, capability and professionalism. “It’s all about what we can do to make our clients shine,” Mr Newman said. “We encourage all potential clients to join us for a site visit here at JEC and to talk to us about how we can turn your event into a world-class success story that will suit your every need,” Mr Newman concluded.