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30 July 2012

Call to join Team South Africa and sign ‘Win as One’ pledge

South Africa’s business events industry has been asked to commit to signing the business events ‘Win as One’ pledge and become part of Team South Africa.

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, South African National Convention Bureau Executive Manager signs 'Win as One' pledge Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, South African National Convention Bureau Executive Manager signs 'Win as One' pledge

The goals of the South African National Convention Bureau can only be achieved through commitment and partnership. - Thulani Nzima, SA Tourism CEO

The call to sign the 'Win as One' pledge was made by Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism CEO. He was speaking at the 2012 Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) congress, where the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) unveiled its business events strategy.

The ‘Win as One’ pledge calls on all stakeholders in the business events industry to work together in the spirit of partnership to position South Africa as the world’s preferred business events destination.

Nzima said that after months of strategising and planning, the SANCB had committed to growing the number of delegates attending international conventions in South Africa from an estimated 54 000 delegates in 2012 to 81 500 delegates by 2020. It is also targeting 130 association meetings by 2020, which represents an annual growth rate of 5.3%.

The SANCB will also endeavour to increase the total number of delegates attending business events in South Africa from an estimated 145 600 delegates in 2012 to 210 000 by 2017.

To achieve this the bureau aims to increase the size of South Africa’s business events industry by 57%. It plans to double the contribution of business events to tourism yield and enhance the role of the business events industry as a major driver of job creation, skills development and transformation.

‘These are big goals,’ said Nzima, ‘that can only be achieved through commitment and partnership.’

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who opened the SAACI congress, said government recognised business events tourism as an area with significant growth potential and was committed to growing South Africa’s global market share of international association meetings.

According to departure surveys, 392 000 business travellers visited the country in 2011. Of these 140 000 were pure meetings, incentives, conference and events (MICE) delegates.

Of the 10 070 association meetings rotated worldwide in 2011, 6 500 were regional meetings, and 3 500 were international association meetings. Africa hosted 304 international meetings. South Africa hosted 86 of these, ranking the country 37th in the world as a host of international association meetings.

‘We remain in the top 15 long-haul business events destinations globally and are the top destination in Africa and the Middle East. It is our ambition, however, to compete with the biggest and best destinations in the world. To achieve this, we all have a part to play,’ Van Schalkwyk said.

He added that part of the SANCB strategy is to achieve coordination and cooperation among city and provincial convention bureaus to combine resources for the marketing of South Africa as a premier business events destination. 

It also aims to identify key industries and sectors per region, and support bids for international meetings in provinces that have the capacity and are best suited to host those meetings.

The SANCB will further concentrate on creating the conditions that will help bids succeed. These include building an enhancing public infrastructure, enhancing airlift – especially from Africa, streamlining visas, growing South Africa’s telecommunications capacity and continuing with a commitment to international greening standards.