To contribute USD91 Million to South Africa economy in 2 years
The just concluded Meetings Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa celebrates a decade of success through the promotion of Africa and South Africa in particular as the preferred Meetings; Incentives; Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) destination.
In its decade of continuous promotion of Africa as the destination of choice for conferences, Meetings Africa – leading business event in the continent of Africa – has in attendance over a hundred exhibitors and 184 hosted buyers from across the world.
From Southern African countries to Nigeria in the West; there were series of exhibitors who afforded the space at the Sandton Convention Centre, venue of Meetings Africa 2015 to showcase their products and services to the quality business travel visitors thronging the isles throughout the 48 hours of the exhibition period.
The products and services on display represented the latest trends in the business travel industry and it is comparable to the optimal standards across the globe.
While declaring the event open, Derek Hanekom, South Africa Minister of Tourism highlighted the importance of Meetings Africa and its contribution to the South African economy.
According to Hanekom, “It is estimated that the business generated by the 184 qualified buyers at Meetings Africa 2015 could bring 54 000 convention delegates worth nearly USD100 Million in revenue to our shores in the next two years.”
He mentioned that the three top source markets for qualified buyers at Meetings Africa 2015 are India, the USA and Canada, and China with a total of 66 percent of the qualified buyers being new to the market, which testifies to the major pull of what is on offer at Meetings Africa.
The Minister added that, “According to research conducted by the South Africa National Convention Bureau, 40 percent of all convention delegates attending meetings in South Africa return in the next five years as tourists, boosting tourism growth and job creation years into the future. We have already secured 177 major international association meetings for the next five years – thereby attracting a quarter of a million delegates with an estimated economic impact of USD350 Million.”
“Besides hosting globally strategic events of the magnitude of the COP17 Climate Change Conference and the 2013 BRICS summit, we have excelled in providing a home to literally thousands of other business events. This has contributed positively to tourism growth and job creation. Business events and major conventions have become important components of the economy and plans to achieve the ambitions outlined in the country’s national development plan.” Hanekom said.
From the Nigerian perspective, Meetings Africa 2015 provides a platform for the government of Cross River to launch the USD90 Million investment in the business travel industry in the form of a Gigantic Calabar International Convention Centre (Calabar ICC) which is set to open in the second quarter of this year.
The Calabar ICC, an iconic architectural masterpiece is set to host a wide array of events for national and global audiences comprising businesses, government and associations. The centre will accommodate up to 5,000 delegates in 18 different venues with as many as 2,200 for plenary sessions and as few as two in a small meeting room. Practically all meeting rooms can be used individually or in combination – separated by soundproof partitioning walls.
Minister Hanekom commended the Nigerian government’s investment in the development during his visit to Calabar Stand, “This investment demonstrates a significant level of confidence in Africa’s business tourism industry,” said Hanekom. The government of Cross River State has invested over $90 million in development and has appointed Alliance Venue and Facility Management [AVFM], of South Africa, as operating company of the Calabar ICC.
“Nigeria’s entrance, with the Calabar ICC, into the international meetings industry is significant, not only because of the country’s large population, but also for its projected continuous economic growth,” said Paul D’Arcy, CEO of Calabar ICC in statement.
Meetings Africa has recorded a milestone of success in ten years with a glorious leap from obscurity to professionalism and prominence, genuinely seen as a must-visit business event on the African continent.