Thursday, November 20, 2014

SOUTH AFRICA’S BUSINESS EVENTS CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF SUCCESS





Tenth Anniversary of Meetings Africa marks key industry milestone

The South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) is celebrating South Africa’s 20 years of democracy at EIBTM this year, by reflecting on the significant growth of the business events industry on the African continent.  
South African Tourism, the official destination marketing organisation of South Africa, is also honouring the tenth anniversary of Meetings Africa, an event dedicated to showcasing Africa’s diverse offering of services and products.  
The tenth edition of Meetings Africa, hosted by the SANCB (a business unit of South African Tourism) is taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg from the 23rd to the 25th of February, 2015.  Meetings Africa is the primary and most important platform, facilitating the growth of Africa in the business events market. The show will continue with its theme; Advancing Africa Together and the first day has been reserved for a number of workshops and seminars, dedicated towards driving the industry forward in the region. 
This tenth anniversary of the Meetings Africa will not only mark a key industry milestone for South Africa as a meetings industry destination, but it will once again highlight the SANCB’s central and critical role in continental collaboration. Through continued partnerships, Meetings Africa aims to contribute towards the empowerment of the African continent for future economic beneficiation. 
“Meetings Africa is where global buyers and exhibitors from all over the African continent meet, organise business events and in doing so help drive Africa’s, knowledge economy forward,” says Mr Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism. 
“Last year South Africa hosted 118 meetings that met the ICCA’s criteria (up from 97 in 2012) marking a significant 18 percent improvement in this regard.  The 118 meetings brought over 94 000 association professionals to South Africa and contributed an estimated R1,5 billion to our economy. Our event pipeline going forward continues to look extremely positive. We already have 143 association conferences and events confirmed between now and 2017,” Nzima continues.  
Africa  continues to grow its list of accolades and achievements, the latest addition to the list being the election of Nina Freysen-Pretorius as President of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) as well Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo (the Chief Conventions Bureau Officer at the SANCB), as the Geographical Representative for Africa to the ICCA Board. 
“Having two South Africans on the ICCA Board, one at the helm, is a major boost for South Africa’s reputation as a business events destination. It is proof that we have the skills, insight and leadership capability to grow and develop the business events sector, not only in South Africa but globally. As the first African president of ICCA, Nina’s appointment marks a major milestone on the road to establishing Africa as a business events destination of choice. She has been given the responsibility of leading a highly influential, global body,” adds Nzima. 
“It is a huge honour for me to be given this opportunity to help contribute towards a thriving African business events Industry,” says Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo. 
“South Africa is an exceptionally capable, infrastructure-rich, experienced, cost- effective, welcoming and globally competitive business events destination. We have successfully hosted some of the world’s biggest sporting events and conferences including the rugby and cricket World Cups, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the World Conference against Racism,” continues Nzima.