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SSouth Africa has improved its global ranking as a business event destination, moving up five spots in the 2023 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Global Ranking Report. The country remains the number one meeting and conference destination in Africa and the Middle East, according to the 2023 ICCA ranking report.

In 2023, South Africa hosted 98 association meetings and conferences that met the criteria set by the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA). These meetings contributed significantly to the South African economy, with a total estimated economic impact of just over R2 billion.

ICCA uses strict criteria for its global rankings, including the requirement that only association conferences are recognised, excluding corporate or governmental meetings and conferences. These conferences must be attended by at least 50 international delegates, last at least two days, and rotate through at least three countries.

South African Tourism CEO, Nombulelo Guliwe, emphasised the significance of the ranking accolade in enhancing South Africa's global standing as a prime destination for meetings. This recognition also highlights the country's progress beyond its pre-COVID performance, showcasing its resilience and growth in the tourism sector.

“South Africa’s ICCA ranking performance illustrates the resilience of the South African business events industry, which was among the first to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the last to reopen. This performance showcases the efforts of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and the greater South African industry during the lockdown period to rebuild a pipeline of secure conferences for the country. Numerous international and regional conferences were called off or rescheduled due to the pandemic. Collaboration is vital for bidding on international meetings as it brings together the resources and expertise of various stakeholders, ensuring a comprehensive and competitive value proposition. It demonstrates strong local support and commitment, enhancing the attractiveness of the bid,” said Guliwe.

She mentioned that the SANCB collaborates with different provinces and other stakeholders to bid for hosting various meetings on behalf of the country.

“All business events hosted in our country are crucial because they not only contribute to our arrival numbers and our economy, but they also showcase our expertise in the various economic sectors. This is great news for foreign direct investment, export opportunities, and knowledge management and sharing," added Guliwe.

Business events significantly boost our country's economic development and growth by generating direct spending and creating jobs, fostering industry innovation and networking, and expanding market opportunities through international exposure. They enhance tourism by attracting delegates from across the globe and improving infrastructure while also strengthening the country's global image and cultural exchange. These business events offer professional development for South Africans attending these international conferences, including youth and women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, fostering future business leaders. Overall, business events are crucial for stimulating economic activity, driving innovation, and promoting long-term economic sustainability.

“For the 2023 / 2024 Financial Year, the SANCB has sourced and submitted 95 bids for international business events to be hosted in South Africa between 2024 and 2032. The 95 bid submissions have a combined estimated economic value of just over R1.5 billion and can potentially attract 60,040 international and regional delegates to South Africa between 2024 and 2032.

Thus far, South Africa has won 19 bids, with an estimated economic impact of R85 million and a total of 3,055 delegates. The SANCB has committed R5.7 million through its Bid Support Programme for these secured conferences, which will also contribute to the regional spread of business events and will be hosted in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Cape Town, Sun City, Parys, Skukuza, and Potchefstroom. ,” Guliwe said.

Some of the meetings secured for 2024 include the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the 32 General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Global Telecommunications Conference and the World One Health Congress.

The ICCA Statistics Report is published every year early in May. Results are tabulated through the reports of ICCA member countries who submit the number of international and regional meetings that they hosted during the preceding calendar year to ICCA.

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Issued by South African Tourism


For further information, contact:

Thandiwe Mathibela

Tel: +2711 895 3177 Email: Email:


Note to editors:

South African Tourism is the national tourism marketing agency responsible for the promotion of South Africa as a preferred destination for business events and leisure. The entity focuses on showcasing the country's natural beauty, cultural richness, and diverse experiences. The South African National Convention Bureau is a business unit of South African Tourism and is responsible for maintaining the sustained growth of the number of international business events (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) hosted in South Africa. The SANCB specifically focuses on promoting the country as an attractive destination capable to host business events market. The SANCB further coordinates and support bidding for these international events.

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