SOUTH AFRICA is now one of the world’s emerging giants in business event hosting. Meetings Africa 2013 will take the first in a series of steps next year to include other destinations on the continent to eventually make Meetings Africa the single most influential and biggest pan-African business event trade exhibition on the continent.
The seamless management and delivery of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ was the top notch event in South Africa. Since then, South Africa has hosted events such as the United Nations’ COP17 Climate Change Conference. Next year’s massive BRICS summit in Durban and the One Young World Summit in Johannesburg are just some of the exciting – and globally high-profile – events on the horizon in 2013.
But while South Africa’s major events credentials are firmly established, there remains much potential to win a bigger share of the global and regional business event market. The introduction of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) in February this year has gone a long way to consolidating and enhancing South Africa’s hugely professional and capable business events industry.
Its major recent strides ensured South Africa is amongst the most popular business event destination (in the top 15 long-haul business event destinations in the world) and 37th overall on the ICCA rankings.
Still, well as it has done, South Africa has only scratched the surface when it comes to growing its share of the global meetings and business events market. Of the nearly 10 000 international standard meetings rotated worldwide in 2010, 3 000 were pure international and the other 6 000 regional meetings. South Africa secured 86 of those international meetings and the African continent 304. The potential for growth is enormous.
To be held from 18-20 February 2013, Meetings Africa 2013, a business events trade show, will take on a distinct and proudly pan-African flavour under the theme of Advancing Africa Together.
For the SANCB, the strategy is to broaden the opportunity to make Meetings Africa a truly African showcase, to grow the capacity of the collective African business events industry and transform regional Africa into one of the world’s business event powerhouses.
South African Tourism, chief executive officer, Mr.Thulani Nzima said “We want to work with our business event partners on the African continent and we want more global and African associations to use the great resources we have in Africa to bolster business event hosting and delivery. Meetings Africa is the perfect platform at which to do this, to meet, collaborate and to learn from each other and enhance our effectiveness and clout in the global business events arena”.
Nina Freysen-Pretorius, Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) National Chairperson welcomes growth and the direction that Meetings Africa is pursuing. “It’s essential that Business Events has its own platform to showcase goods and services that talk specifically to our sector of the market. The new business opportunities within the African region are very promising and something that we as a sector need to take full advantage of. We believe that acknowledging the rest of the African continent, with the strategic support of the SANCB, Meetings Africa has an important role to play.”
The world’s most powerful business event buyers have been invited to Meetings Africa 2013. Nzima says it makes an infinite amount of sense to extend Meetings Africa’s reach in the medium- to long-term to include destinations across the continent. Meetings Africa 2013, he says, is the first step to make the event widely inclusive of the continental industry and other African destinations.
“Although Meetings Africa is officially hosted by the SANCB, it’s really a show presented by a collective of Africa’s most passionate business event professionals who want to see their businesses succeed and thrive. They are passionate about delivering the best service and about delivering memorable experiences. Meetings Africa belongs to the whole industry. We invite the global buyers and key decision makers within the business events industry to come to South Africa and meet these people who are service-driven, friendly and ready to do business.”
In February 2012, Meetings Africa attracted 20 percent more delegates than it did in 2011. Registered international visitors almost doubled to 205 delegates, giving clear evidence of international appetite for South Africa as a business event destination.
For Meetings Africa 2013, the SANCB has put together a programme that’s designed to deliver maximum value to all delegates. The events include:
- Educational sessions like the Event Greening Forum and a SAACI Special General Meeting. ICCA Africa Chapter will also engage its members through meetings and the presentation of an educational session;
- An Association Day designed to build capacity in national pan-African associations; to promote engagement and to work on lead development to boost competitiveness;
- IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum Africa gives final year tourism students an opportunity to benefit and learn from experienced people in the business events industry;
- A Corporate Hosted Buyers event at which buyers will be welcomed and briefed on how to extract maximum benefit from the trade show; and
- A Decision Maker’s Forum where public sector leaders will come together to discuss the socio-economic impact of business events on cities, provinces, municipalities and countries.