27 February 2012

New National Convention Bureau introduced at Meetings Africa 2012

The newly-established National Convention Bureau will be critical in harnessing national business tourism efforts as South Africa looks to aggressively pursue a bigger share of the global business tourism market.

South Africa's Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk opens Meetings Africa 2012 South Africa's Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk opens Meetings Africa 2012

Partnership is key to South Africa’s business tourism growth. – South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk

The National Convention Bureau (NCB) will add considerable value to the country’s business tourism industry, South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, told delegates at the opening of Meetings Africa 2012.

Africa’s premier business tourism event is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 28 February to 1 March 2012.

‘The NCB will strengthen and support efforts already being made to drive expansion in business tourist arrivals to make South Africa a truly global force,’ he said.

He added that South Africa was fast becoming one of the world’s favourite destinations for big events, meetings, conferences and exhibitions, and had proven its credentials to host events of any magnitude.  

‘We have confidently staged major events such as the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the United Nations’ COP 17 climate change conference,' Van Schalkwyk noted.

'South Africa is also well-placed to play host to any local or international meetings, incentive, conference or exhibition (MICE) event. We have world-class business and conference facilities complimented by excellent leisure tourism attractions and hospitable, welcoming, skilled and competent people,’ he commented.

Established in November 2011 and headed up by executive manager, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, the NCB will act as a 1-stop shop for independent information and assistance.  It will offer neutral advice on all aspects of hosting and organising any business tourism-related event in South Africa.

The NCB will coordinate national bidding, undertake research, and collaborate with national convention centres and South Africa’s business tourism industry to present a united front for destination South Africa. It will provide pre- and post-bid support, destination expertise, convention planning support, on-site event services and more.

South African Tourism has prepared an 18-month implementation plan for the bureau, including the preparation of a national bidding policy and guidelines for the selection of suitable events.

Through an extensive stakeholder engagement process, the NCB is now working collaboratively with the business tourism industry on the bureau's activation strategy and business plan.

The NCB has set a target for 2012/13 of supporting at least 30 bids, with a potential of 18 000 delegates and R162 million direct economic spend.

It officially starts operating in April 2012.