From South Africa to the world: South Africa showcases its business events capability

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south africa, pavilion, imex, frankfurt
South African pavilion at IMEX Frankfurt. (Source: South African Tourism)

South Africa’s business events industry’s recovery is well underway as the destination’s pipeline of secured international and regional business events shows positive signs. The country is on a mission to secure even more events.

Today is the first day of IMEX Frankfurt, one of the largest trade shows in Europe for the business events industry, and Team South Africa, led by South African Tourism, is taking a clear message of an attractive and capable South Africa ready to welcome and host big and small events.

Armed with a clear mission and mandate to drive economic recovery, South African Tourism is leading a group of exhibitors, made up of South African business owners and officials to IMEX Frankfurt in Germany where they will, over the next few days, showcase the country’s Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions (MICE) products. IMEX Frankfurt brings together global event planners and no less than 1,000 buyers with significant buying power.

“We attend trade shows such as IMEX Frankfurt with a bold and unambiguous goal of getting even more business events hosted in South Africa. Through the variety of products that we take to IMEX Frankfurt, we show that our country has all the infrastructure and amazing beauty to host unique events that surpass expectations. At IMEX Frankfurt, we also collaborate with the rest of the African continent in driving the message of an attractive and capable continent,” says Zinhle Nzama Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer, at the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), a business unit of South African Tourism.

“Our sector strategy, which focuses on attracting business events is aligned with our national government’s key priority areas. A big part of our secured events for the next few years cover sectors such as Medical Sciences, Life Sciences, Agriculture, Creative industries and Manufacturing. We are committed to driving this even more so that we can continue to meaningfully contribute to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan,” adds Nzama.

By actively going out and securing these sector-aligned business events at trade shows such as IMEX Frankfurt, the South African business events sector contributes to the country’s economic development. 

Additionally, in ensuring that South African Tourism advances the objectives of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan (TSRP), the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), has been hard at work partnering with various cities and provinces to secure big events to be hosted in South Africa. Already, various established international and regional meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions are making a welcomed return with about 87 conferences secured to take place between 2023 and 2027 and contributing more than R2 billion to the South African economy,” adds Nzama.

These secured conferences are trade and knowledge-sharing platforms where economic development for these sectors takes place.

“At trade shows such as IMEX Frankfurt, we meet and connect with different partners and event organisers as well as association representatives who are looking for the next place or destination to host their business events. Through these engagements, we show them that South Africa is a great destination of choice as we have all the quality-assured facilities and venues and we pride ourselves on high service excellence,” adds Nzama.

Team South Africa will join other African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda at IMEX Frankfurt in a show of force that Africa is indeed the best continent to host business events. This comes hot on the heels of Africa’s Travel Indaba recently held in Durban where the continent’s tourism sector once again cemented its message and position of a united African tourism sector serious about recovery and growth.

South Africa has regained its position as a top business events destination in Africa and ranks 42nd globally in the International Congress and Convention Association’s 2022 ranking, which was released in 2023. ICCA stands for International Congress and Convention Association and is a global organisation that represents the international meetings, conferences, and events industry.