Joburg – Africa’s business capital

Joburg – Africa’s business capital

Joburg – Africa’s business capital

Hot on the heels of its World Cup success, Johannesburg Tourism Company has beefed up capacity at its Convention & Events Bureau (CEB) with two senior appointments.

Lumka Dlomo has been appointed as Marketing Manager, while Linda Ngcipe has joined the company as Convention and Events Bureau Manager.

Lindiwe Kwele, CEO, Johannesburg Tourism Company, said: “These appointments form part of our strategy to entrench Joburg as a leading global destination for business tourism and to increase our annual share of the global events which are out there on the bid circuit.”

(Joburg - the City of Gold)

The most crucial of JTC’s strategic objectives is to continue positioning and entrenching Johannesburg within the global business tourism market as a venue of choice for conventions, meetings, incentives and mega-events,” adds Kwele.

“This is especially relevant in light of Joburg’s successful hosting of the lion’s share (some 32 percent) of the World Cup fixtures and events. This has resulted in a global paradigm shift about Joburg and issues concerning safety and security, transport, infrastructure, as well as its appeal generally as a destination for both business and leisure. Now we need to maintain this interest and momentum, encouraging not only increased business and leisure tourism, but also investment and other business opportunities in the City.”

While working to attract more conventions to the city, Joburg is also striving to ensure that the carbon footprint generated from the hosting of events and conferences is monitored, measured and offset.

Organisers of the recent Convention for the Institute for Environment and Recreation Management (IERM), documented and incorporated waste reduction and waste disposal alternatives. These and various other waste recycling options showcased the viable benefits of hosting a green convention, which further acts as a catalyst for the creation of ‘green’ jobs.

(JTC chief Lindiwe Kwele and her team, plus young tour guides from Alexandra township, at the inaugural World Sport Destination Expo)

In addition to this, in 2010 the city planted in excess of 200,000 trees to offset the carbon emissions of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Aside from buzz of hosting 2010 World Cup Football Tournament itself, the past year has been a busy one for JTC’s Convention and Events Bureau. Significant conventions, conferences and exhibitions hosted in Joburg include Meetings Africa in February, the 60th FIFA Congress on 10 June 2010 (just one day before the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa), World Sports Destination Expo in July and the 26th International Pediatric Association Congress of Pediatrics in August.

(Joburg - a world-class city for conventions… plus a whole lot more)

In particular, the inaugural World Sports Destination Expo Sport set Joburg’s stall out as a sport tourism hub. The first exhibition dedicated to showcasing the $600 billion a year sport tourism industry, WSDE featured 400 exhibitors from 22 locations worldwide and some 50,000 visitors. From Abu Dhabi to Rio de Janeiro the world’s leading destinations engaged in five days of top-level debate, interaction and the tabling of lucrative future business deals.

Next on the agenda at the end of October is HICA, the Hotel Investment Conference Africa, which will be hosted in Joburg both this year and in 2012. “Business Tourism is the key driver for our tourism growth and development. Hosting HICA gives us an opportunity to reinforce our positioning of being Africa’s leading business tourism destination.  The event will not only boost our hotel occupancy, increased arrivals and length of stay, but will also enable the potential investors to see the strides that we have made as a destination and help us promote Joburg as a potential destination for investment,” says Kwele.

The work to win forthcoming international conferences and event bids has continued unabated throughout the year by the CEB team. While collectively these are worth tens of millions of rands in potential revenue to the industry, none is more eagerly awaited than the announcement of the successful host city for next year’s UN Summit on Climate Change (COP 17) in December.

One of Johannesburg’s major competitive advantages is its international recognition as the business and commercial capital of the African continent. Given its accessibility by air (55 international airlines fly in to Joburg) that 75 percent of corporate headquarters are based in the city, and being the only city in South Africa that boasts four of the venues capable of hosting more than 5,000 delegates – Johannesburg’s success as a tourism destination pivots on business.

However, the business tourism market presents a fabulous leveraging opportunity to grow the city’s leisure tourism market. The positive coverage Joburg enjoyed globally during the World Cup has gone a long way to positioning it as a vibrant, exciting destination with myriads on offer across the spectrum of sporting, cultural, music, retail and lifestyle experiences.  “We are certainly capitalizing on this to secure Joburg’s position as a leading global destination for business and leisure tourism, lifestyle, sporting, cultural and mega-event experiences,” says Kwele.

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