The news that Cape Town has won a bid to host the 2020 World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC), an event that is expected to attract some 15 000 delegates, underscores the value of the business events industry to the economy.
Business events run the gamut from conferences, meetings in general, exhibitions and special events, to incentive travel. It is said that WOC will earn more than R200 000 for the economy and have a significant impact on jobs and growth in the tourism sector.
Governments, generally, have world-wide been slow to recognise the worth of business events. But with a major economic downturn looming ever larger, business events cannot be ignored any longer. Conferences in particular have long been said to be “recession proof”, the reason being that they are planned a long time in advance and thus have a high level of commitment.
On another front, recent statistics show that in Europe, convention centres are performing better than their respective governments in GDP terms.
Finally, business events connect people with people and thus have an important socio-impact role to play.