Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism for South Africa outlined how South Africa, as a world-class business events destination, will respond to the next decade in the face of rising interest in the African continent.
Speaking at ibtm world in Barcelona, Minister Hanekom outlined how South Africa hosted 124 international association conferences in 2014 alone which attracted just under 70 000 industry professionals. Of these 124 conferences, 81% were international rotating events. He also reminded all that the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) has only been in existence for three years.
Looking to the future, SANCB has secured 163 bids for South Africa between 2016 and 2020, from industry sectors as diverse as mining, health and agriculture. Collectively they are expected to bring over 150,000 delegates to South Africa and contribute approximately R3,1billion to the economy.
“The potential of Africa for the MICE industry is exponential. The tide has turned. We can see that our growth opportunities are now also within the African market. There are 770 registered African Associations on the ICCA database. One hundred and seventy eight of these are based in South Africa and 592 on the rest of the continent and 218 regional conferences were registered on the continent in 2014 resulting in 610 events over the last five years. South Africa only hosted 63 of these events in the past five years,” said Minister Hanekom.
The first African Association Society of Executives, which was formed this year, will hold its first AGM at Meetings Africa 2016, SANCB’s signature business events trade shows held annually in February at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Other new developments include identifying and collaborating with a key strategic partner to oversee the management of the tradeshow going forward.
The Minister also announced the SANCB is most excited that the European Cities Marketing (ECM) programme is coming to South Africa. This will be the first time that this initiative takes place in South Africa just ahead of the 2016 edition of Meetings Africa.
Speaking at the press conference, alongside Minister Hanekom, ECM president, Ignasi de Delàs, said, “We are really thrilled to have our first ECM Academy organised in South Africa. It’s a new landmark in ECM development to host the derived version of our successful ECM Summer School. The ECM Academy is a tailor-made course for partner organisations outside Europe. We will do our maximum to guarantee the success of the ECM Academy in Johannesburg by maintaining the highest standard of course content, recruiting the best speakers, and giving the latest examples showcasing the most up-to-date trends in the Meetings Industry.”
Minister Hanekom also outlined how the government is helping small businesses in the tourism sector by including them in shows like ibtm world.
“We have invited four of these enterprises with us here to exhibit at ibtm world this year – it’s an important trade show and gives them access to an international business platform,” added Minister Hanekom.
The South African National Government supports over 1.4 million jobs and investment continues in its climate change research and management of ocean resources as well as science and technology, minerals and gas exploration.
Summing up, Minister Hanekom said: “South Africa offer the business events industry excellent value for money, deliver authentic, memorable and enriching experiences in one of the most captivating, safest and beautiful countries that I am proud to call my home.”