In keeping with the South African Association for the Conference Industry’s vision for expanding within South Africa and the larger Southern African Development Community region, we are proud to announce the successful launch of the SAACI Tshwane branch. The launch took place on 29 October at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, just days after the launch of the SAACI Academy in Johannesburg.
The event marks the latest step in SAACI’s efforts to establish a presence in major urban centres around the country, to reinforce its position as the definitive organisation representing excellence in the conferencing and events industry. A Tshwane branch has long been in the works, and it is very encouraging that it is finally a reality!
SAACI has partnered with the City of Tshwane to bring the organisation’s efforts to a wider range of potential clients and events. Deputy City Manager Lindiwe Kwele spoke about how SAACI is a partner in realising the Tshwane Vision 2055, which aims to improve the city in a variety of ways, so that residents “experience tangible socio-economic and spatial transformation in their lifetime”. With business tourism rapidly becoming a critical part of this vision, SAACI is an ideal partner to ensure that the goals laid out are achievable and concrete.
Ms Kwele made no secret of the fact that growth in the business tourism sector is being accelerated to drive city development. One major part of the investment in the sector is the currently-under-construction Tshwane International Convention Centre, the first phase of which is scheduled for completion in 2018. Much business development is being centred on the Centurion region; the area falls directly under the jurisdiction of the Tshwane SAACI branch, and we can now position ourselves centrally in all of these exciting developments. As Ms Kwele rightly pointed out in terms of the SAACI/City of Tshwane partnership, “Your success is our success” – and it works both ways.
SAACI chief executive officer Adriaan Liebetrau spoke to the delegates at the launch, highlighting the importance of the organisation being an active part of the expansion of the business tourism and conferencing sector in the Tshwane region. He noted that it is important that each SAACI branch have its own individual identity, since the organisation is swiftly moving to expand into the rest of southern Africa, particularly SADC member states. Each branch will add significant value to the local conferencing and events scene, and the Tshwane division is poised to become one of the most important.
A big thank you must go to the National Zoological Gardens for hosting the launch event, and to all of the partners who provided their time and services. We also congratulate all the members of the Tshwane branch leadership, as well as the City of Tshwane for partnering with us on this venture. We look forward to seeing the great work the new branch will do!