Johannesburg’s burgeoning reputation as the business capital of Africa will be showcased next month when it plays host to Meetings Africa 2011.
To be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 21-23 February 2011, the three-day event is expected to draw delegates from across the continent.
Business travel is now one of the fastest growing sector of the overall travel and tourism economy in South Africa, and now contributes over R2 billion in foreign exchange revenues and 4.7 percent of foreign arrivals.
Meetings Africa 2011 is also expected to showcase the huge infrastructure progress Johannesburg has made over the past few years, and in particular the gains it made in preparing for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
Mandela Square, Johannesburg, during FIFA World Cup 2010
Following the overwhelming success of FIFA 2010, the City of Gold proved its ability to host a world-class mega sporting event. In the past 24 months alone, it has opened 19 new hotels, adding to a host of infrastructure upgrades that are helping to transform Joburg into a model of urban living, as well as a great place to hold events, conferences and exhibitions.
Other infrastructure highlights include the Rea Vaya, Bus Rapid Transit System, which now forms the backbone of the city’s public transport plans, and has reduced the use of private cars and relieved traffic gridlocks.
(Miss World representatives are greeted by officials as they get set to catch a Rea Vaya bus to Soccer City)
The first phase of the Gautrain – OR Tambo International Airport to Sandton – has been up and running since shortly before the start of FIFA 2010. The train provides a safe and speedy way to get from the airport to the business hub of Sandon. This September will also see the completion of the second phase, linking Sandton to Johannesburg, and Sandton to Pretoria.
Joburg – a success story
One of the chief architects of the success of the World Cup success was Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC), which is dedicated to promoting tourism growth in Johannesburg.
During the tournament, the JTC served as the crucial link between sport and tourism, and promoted Johannesburg as a business, sports, events, lifestyle and leisure destination both locally and internationally.
(Amazing to stay for business or pleasure - Johannesburg’s Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa, voted “World’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at 2010 World Travel Awards)
The tourism body is also looking to grow its MICE market even more and establish Joburg as an attractive, viable and world-class business tourism destination. Meetings Africa 2011 will provide a flagship business tourism marketing platform.
Professional conference organisers, business tourism agents and incentive houses are invited to register for the exclusive opportunity to become Hosted Buyers at Africa’s largest trade exhibition for business tourism industry – Meetings Africa 2011.
Following the exhibition, buyers can experience a post event familiarisation trip around the country to conduct site visits and discover some of South Africa’s best business tourism products.
The programme for Meetings Africa in 2011 promises to be bigger and better ever, introducing a range of new products and incentives. The three-day event allows numerous opportunities for delegates to interact, network and schedule appointments with exhibitors from across the African continent.
Sport remains integral to making new business opportunities. The nation has been bold in creating opportunities in the hosting of global mega-events. But now the challenge is to ensure that its superb stadiums are utilized to their full potential, so South Africa is positioning itself as a hub of sport tourism.
During this year’s World Cup, Johannesburg took a lead by hosting the first exhibition dedicated to showcasing the $600 billion a year sport tourism industry.
(Left: Lindiwe Kwele, CEO, Johannesburg Tourism Company on the first day of WSDE in Johannesburg)
Staged at the Sandton Convention Centre, World Sport Destination Expo 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.
Meetings Africa: Sandton Convention Centre, 21 – 23 February 2011. For more information visit http://www.meetingsafrica.co.za