SA business tourism ‘on the up’

23 February 2011

Business tourism, boosted by the successful hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, is playing an important and growing role in helping South Africa’s job creation objectives, says Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Speaking at a tourism expo in Johannesburg on Monday, Van Schalkwyk said it was clear that business tourism had been bolstered by a new sense of energy and direction following the World Cup.

This would make a significant contribution to consolidating the continent’s position in the global arena and demonstrating its capabilities in terms of hosting international events.

Tourism contributed an estimated 7.7 percent to South Africa’s GDP in 2010.

“Business tourism will no doubt play a role in getting more visitors to South Africa,” he said.

200 events already booked

“We have already secured almost 200 meetings and conferences in South Africa over the next five years, attracting more than 300 000 delegates to our country.”

The potential economic impact of these confirmed meetings and conferences was more than R1.6-billion.

In 2009, about 500 000 business tourism arrivals were welcomed to South Africa, representing about 4.7 percent of total tourist arrivals.

This represented a total economic value of about R4-billion, with business tourists spending an average of R5 300 during their stay in South Africa.

The average length of stay of business tourists also increased from 4.6 nights in 2008 to 4.8 nights in 2009, Van Schalkwyk said.

SA ranked 34th globally

In a recent report by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), South Africa was ranked 34th globally and first in Africa for 2009 in terms of the number of meetings hosted.

The report showed that in 2009 almost 8300 meetings were held globally, of which almost 55 percent were held in Europe.

Africa hosted 3.8 percent of the total meetings or 314 meetings.

Of these, 90 were held in South Africa, followed by Egypt with 32 meetings.

Cape Town takes the lead

Cape Town was the leading city in Africa with a total of 49 meetings held in 2009, with Johannesburg ranked 5th and Durban 10th compared to other African cities.

Cape Town was ranked 35th globally compared to other cities, with Johannesburg and Durban ranked at 128 and 231 respectively in terms of number of meetings per city.

“These figures show that South Africa and our leading business tourism cities compare very well in terms of the rest of our continent.”

In terms of the country’s global ranking, South Africa had done well in terms of maintaining its competitive position.

“I do, however, believe that there is still room for significant growth in terms of, among others, the number of meetings we attract, the spend per visitor and the length of stay,” Van Schalkwyk said.