The first IBTM Africa, launched by Reed Travel Exhibitions and part of Africa Travel Week, was praised by both suppliers and buyers as an “excellent new event for business development, knowledge enhancement and exclusive networking” in the region with global relevance. The table-top event introduced 45 international hosted buyers to 45 African and Indian Ocean exhibitors this week over the course of 2,5 days at the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC).
The success of the one-to-one pre-scheduled appointment system guaranteed nearly 1 500 appointments over two days, i.e. an average of 33 business appointments for the regional exhibitors. International hosted buyers represented 17 countries including UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UEA, China, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Kenya and the United States.
The event opened with the IBTM Africa Forum attended by over 100 delegates, which featured a keynote session from Alex Granger, where he shared nine practical steps to championship thinking and doing, to ensure that business remains sustainable in 2014 and beyond. This presentation illustrated the importance of not only a change in mindset, but also a behavioural change, and a fresh focus on winning, protecting business brands and making staff and customers loyal partners.
This session was followed by an engaging panel discussion, moderated by Desiree Smits Van Waesberghe, managing director of Capemotion, focusing on trends, developments and the future meetings industry growth in Africa.
The discussion, supported by representatives from leading meetings industry associations ICCA (Nina Freysen-Petorius) and SAACI (Zelda Coetzee), provided attendees with the opportunity to learn from panel experts on how the meetings industry is growing in Africa as well as giving them insights and perspectives from both the association and incentive industries.
Africa holds enormous potential for the MICE industry with great investment in infrastructure. The World Bank predicted that Africa’s economic growth should accelerate to more than five per cent over the next three years, far outpacing the global average with increased investment, high commodity prices and a pick-up in the global economy driving this expected growth surge.
Both exhibitors and international hosted buyers complimented Reed Travel Exhibitions on its organisation and relevance of IBTM Africa in its debut year.
Carol Martin, destination manager South Africa of Pacific World, Global Destination, Event & Congress Management, commented: “As an exhibitor at IBTM Africa’s first show in Cape Town, I really enjoyed the event and I have been very impressed by the organisation and the programme. We were glad we had the opportunity to meet new buyers with fresh ideas, which will give us the opportunity in future to tailor our programmes even more to suit our clients individual needs. I also appreciated the layout of the show; it made the individual buyers feel comfortable to talk to each supplier. The appointments I had were of good quality and I’m really happy we attended. We are looking forward to the next programme that Reed Travel Exhibitions will run.”
Sharon Hunnik, sales and marketing manager of The Indaba Hotel, Spa & Conference Centre (Johannesburg) commented: “Excellent show with well qualified buyers – well done for setting a new benchmark.”
Zukiso Makalima, group sales manager of Leisure Hotels (South Africa), said: “Very well organised event, a high quality of buyers from a variety of countries from around the world, well worth the visit and will definitely attend next year.”
Charity Chewe, sales and marketing director, Winning Travel and Tours (Zambia), added: “Being at the first IBTM Africa, I am really impressed with the match-making programme, it is very helpful and easily managed.”
Hosted buyer Daniel Wood, president of the Freestyle Football Federation, United Kingdom, commented, “IBTM Africa has been a fantastic experience for me. We have an unconventional product but we got a lot out of the two days with very productive meetings. The welcome forum was informative with some really interesting speakers. It was great to be able to network and speak with local experienced practitioners who can really testify that this is a market that should be invested more in for more events and incentives. I really liked the layout of the room and the show was very efficient and well-organised – it worked well and kept us busy.”
Shinu Pillai, project manager, IBTM Africa, concluded: “We are very pleased with the success of the first show of its kind in the meetings industry in Africa. The table-top format proves not only its relevance to Africa’s MICE industry, but provides also a perfect platform for quality education, exclusive networking and business opportunities for exhibitors and suppliers alike. We are confident that the impact of the first IBTM Africa has set the scene for next year’s show, which will take place from 13-15 April 2015.”
IBTM Africa is one of three co-located events at the CTICC that forms “Africa Travel Week” which also includes ILTM Africa (International Luxury Travel Market) 28-30 April, and WTM Africa (World Travel Market) which will take place from 2-3 May.