Derek Hanekom, minister of tourism for South Africa, outlined how South Africa, as a world-class business events destination, will respond to the next decade in the face of rising interest in the African continent.
Speaking at ibtm world in Barcelona, Hanekom outlined how South Africa hosted 124 international association conferences in 2014 alone which attracted just under 70 000 industry professionals.
Of these 124 conferences, 81 per cent were international rotating events.
He also reminded all that the South Africa National Convention Bureau has only been in existence for three years.
Looking to the future, SANCB has secured 163 bids for South Africa between 2016 and 2020, from industry sectors as diverse as mining, health and agriculture.
Collectively they are expected to bring over 150,000 delegates to South Africa and contribute approximately R3.1billion to the economy.
“The potential of Africa for the MICE industry is exponential.
“The tide has turned, we can see that our growth opportunities are now also within the African market.
“There are 770 registered African Associations on the ICCA database.
“Some 178 of these are based in South Africa and 592 on the rest of the continent and 218 regional conferences were registered on the continent in 2014 resulting in 610 events over the last five years.
“South Africa only hosted 63 of these events in the past five years,” said Hanekom.
The first African Association Society of Executives, which was formed this year, will hold its first AGM at Meetings Africa 2016, SANCB’s signature business events trade shows held annually in February at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
Other new developments include identifying and collaborating with a key strategic partner to oversee the management of the tradeshow going forward.