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7 November 2011

EIBTM 2011 is another opportunity for South Africa to flex its international business tourism credentials

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Executive Manager of the National Conventions Bureau Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Executive Manager of the National Conventions Bureau

South Africa has proven its track record and capability in the global business tourism arena, and it is now time to elevate the industry to another level - Nomasonto Ndlovu, Global Business Tourism Manager at South African Tourism

With the launch of the National Convention Bureau (NCB) now imminent, South Africa will head for the Exhibition for the Incentive Business Travel and Meetings (EIBTM) with new vigour to globally market its business tourism industry and to attract more and more major international meetings, conferences and events.

“South Africa has the proven capacity and the infrastructure to successfully host major international business events and meetings, and with the imminent launch of the National Convention Bureau we now also have the strategic platform for collaboration to claim a bigger slice of the global business tourism market. In three weeks time, South Africa will again demonstrate its capability to host the most complex of events, when it hosts ‘the World Cup of conferences’, the United Nations COP 17 Climate Change Conference in Durban. So, with South Africa now established as a mega events host, it is time for our business tourism industry to be taken more seriously and make a bigger contribution to the tourism economy,” says Nomasonto Ndlovu, Global Manager for Business Tourism at South African Tourism.

The newly-appointed Executive Manager of the NCB, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, starts in her role at South African Tourism in November and will be at EIBTM in Barcelona from 29 November to 1 December 2011 to engage with the global business tourism industry. The NCB will be launched officially at Meetings Africa, the continent’s biggest business tourism trade show, in Johannesburg from 28 February to 1 March 2012.

Ndlovu said that despite South Africa’s long list of successes as an events destination, the African continent is still a very small player when it comes to hosting international meetings, with fewer than five percent of market share, according to the 2010 International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA) statistics report. The ICCA report stated that in 2010 Africa hosted only 283 out of a total of 9 120 ICCA meetings, compared to 4 921 hosted in Europe. However, despite Europe’s dominance, its share of the global international meetings pie is diminishing, as associations become more global and are looking increasingly towards emerging markets to host their events.

“We are determined to take advantage of our ascendance to the BRICS group of major emerging economies to ensure that Africa receives the kind of interest from meeting organisers that the likes of China and Brazil do. The reality, though, is that we cannot simply do more of the same things we have been doing in the past and hope to get the kind of growth that we deserve. A new, fresh and aggressive approach to our business tourism industry is required to ensure South Africa remains globally competitive. Even though South Africa will host more than 200 international meetings in the next five years, it’s time to elevate South Africa to another level and this commitment is what the launch of the NCB will demonstrate to the industry in the near future, starting at Meetings Africa 2012,” says Ndlovu.

The NCB is South Africa’s bid to take advantage of Africa’s huge growth opportunity. It will focus on capitalising on previous successes to accelerate growth through the consolidation of multiple national efforts when bidding for international meetings. Business tourism’s importance cannot be underestimated, because although it currently only accounts for less than five percent of total foreign arrivals in South Africa, it contributes almost R5 billion (about US$64 million) to the country’s economy each year.

South African Tourism will also use EIBTM to market Meetings Africa, which promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 130 international buyers expected. At Meetings Africa, South African Tourism will launch research findings about specific meetings that should be targeted for the destination. The research was conducted by South African Tourism, in collaboration with the internationally-acclaimed Headquarters Magazine.

Importantly, Meetings Africa also features a two-day Association Lekgotla.

“Targeted mainly to local association executives, the Lekgotla focuses on building capacity within organisations to build credibility and enable them to attract more international meetings to South Africa. It also gives them an understanding of the magnitude of industry support available to them for the hosting of their event, irrespective of the event’s size,” says Ndlovu.

Kick-starting next year’s Meetings Africa is an exciting new Lifestyle Golf and Safari weekend, illustrating how South Africa’s business and leisure tourism industry is intrinsically linked. The golf weekend promises an exciting ‘Leave Ordinary Behind’ experience at one Africa’s most prestigious golfing venues, Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo that features the world-famous course whose 19th hole (accessible only by helicopter) is fashioned in the shape of the African continent.

“This lifestyle weekend gives us a great platform to showcase our unique fusion of world-class facilities, warm and welcoming people, superb wildlife and breathtaking scenery to prospective buyers. It also gives all delegates and guests an opportunity to network in one of the most beautiful, and capable, spots on earth,” says Ndlovu.

For more information on how to exhibit at or visit Meetings Africa go to www.meetingsafrica.co.za.

Ends.

For further information contact:

Jermaine Craig at South African Tourism

Tel: +27 11 895 3000 or 083 2010 121

Email: jermaine@southafrica.net

Website www.southafrica.net

Inquiries at Ireland/Davenport can be directed to:

Allison MacDonald at Ireland Davenport

Tel: +27 11 463 2252 or 082 771 2541.

Email: Allison.macdonald@ireland-davenport.co.za

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South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist destination. It is headed up by Chief Operating Officer and acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Timothy Scholtz and Chief Marketing Officer, Ms Roshene Singh.