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27 February 2013

Meetings Africa 2013 a success

Record number of hosted buyers, brisk business, regional co-operation to grow share of global market

South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Thulani Nzima at Meetings Africa  South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Thulani Nzima at Meetings Africa 

“It’s very encouraging that so many buyers –78 percent of them – were in attendance for the first time this year. It shows that interest in our region is really growing.” South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Thulani Nzima

Record number of hosted buyers, brisk business, regional co-operation to grow share of global market

AS MEETINGS AFRICA 2013 drew to a close at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 20 February 2013, organisers, hosts and delegates were unanimous: this was the Meetings Africa at which the continent came together to collaborate and to advance Africa together as the world’s premier business event host destination.

By the end of the event, 2 884 delegates had come through the Meetings Africa 2013 turnstiles. There were 300 international, regional and local buyers in attendance at Meetings Africa 2013, 30 percent more than attended last year. “It was really exciting to welcome these buyers to Meetings Africa 2013,” says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Thulani Nzima. “It’s very encouraging that so many buyers –78 percent of them – were in attendance for the first time this year. It shows that interest in our region is really growing.”

An international standard buyers qualification process was implemented for the first time this year to ensure that only buyers who were serious about doing business were invited, and hosted, at Meetings Africa 2013. Mr. Nzima says, the high number of first time attendance of hosted buyers represents a potential of almost 62 000 delegates that could attend business events held in South Africa in the next 18 to 24 months.

India was the market best represented by buyers with more than 30 buyers in attendance. There were 20 buyers from the USA and Canada; 13 from China, nine from Brazil and eight each from Germany and Russia. Buyers were also in attendance from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Spain Sweden, the UAE, the UK and the Ukraine.

 Feedback from the exhibiting contingent is that this was a Meetings Africa that delivered on its promise to the industry to provide a platform rich in business opportunities. Business was brisk, and close to 9000 meetings were held over the two days.

 Dorcas Dlamini, Group National Sales Manager at Protea Hotels says the group had an ‘absolutely fantastic’ Meetings Africa. “It’s been a great opportunity to learn more of trends defining global demand,” she says. “We have seen a lot of clients, and have been kept very busy. It’s great that Meetings Africa is taking the step to becoming a pan-African event as this is our growing experience at the Protea Hotel group – which clients increasingly want to experience more of the region and sub-continent.”

 Dyson Banda, Assistant Director of Tourism at the Malawi Ministry of Tourism and Culture says Meetings Africa was a good and worthwhile investment for that destination. “We made a number of very useful contacts from the global hosted buyer group, and I am certain good business will come from those meetings. The exhibition’s electronic diary system worked very well. It helped us meet the right people at the right time to do the business we came here to do. We will definitely be back next year.”

 Edwin Moamogoe of the Valley Lodge Spa in Magaliesberg says Meetings Africa 2013 was a great investment of time, in that he and his colleagues met many event and conference organisers, and generated good business for the venue. “We were impressed with the quality of delegates, and with the very strong business focus of Meetings Africa 2013,” he says, adding, “we will be back next year, and we look forward to being introduced to even more South African corporate entities.”

Nzima says: “Although Meetings Africa 2013 may be our best attended Meetings Africa ever, more important is the fact that this was a quality event. The show was attended by excellent hosted buyers who came here to do business. These buyers engaged with the regional product and trade and they are going to send large numbers of business events delegates to South Africa. Meetings Africa took a bold step forward this year to become an inclusive pan African business events platform. We are serious about advancing Africa together. In this respect, Meetings Africa 2013 was a triumph.”

 Meetings Africa is hosted by the South African National Convention Bureau, an entity that was launched at Meetings Africa a year ago. Since its launch, the SANCB put a strategy in place to effect co-operation across the country and the region to win more business events for South Africa. The SANCB, with its destination partners have already secured 87 Association Conferences from now to 2017 that will attract about 190 000 business events delegates to South Africa and will contribute R2.6 billion for the economy.

Ends

For further information contact

Jermaine Craig at South African Tourism    Allison MacDonald at Ireland/Davenport

Tel: +27 83 2010 121    Tel: +27 11 243 1364

jermaine@southafrica.net     allison.macdonald@ireland-davenport.co.za

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo at SANCB

Tel: +27 11 895 3212

Amanda@southafrica.net

Website www.southafrica.net

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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 Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima.