Trade centre for Joburg airport

13 February 2004

A multi-million rand trade and exhibition centre is to be built at Johannesburg International Airport to serve foreign investors looking for South African products.

The R15-million business hub, a joint venture between Airports Company SA (Acsa), the International Trade Bureau and the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), is due for completion in 2005.

To be built opposite the airport’s international arrivals section, the Johannesburg International Trade Bureau (JITB) will offer 2 200 metres of permanent exhibition space to over 120 of South Africa’s premier exporters, with unparalleled access to international business visitors.

Announcing plans for the centre this week, JITB director Michael Sudarkasa said the Bureau would be “a mecca for foreign business people seeking products, services and partnerships in South Africa”.

“On the doorstep of the airport, the busiest airport in Africa, this centre will be a place where foreign investors will get information on any products they want in the country”, Sudarkasa said.

“Similar trade centres exist in 308 locations in 101 countries around the world – all serving as business facilitation hubs that enhance the services of private and public sector organisations promoting international trade.”

According to the JITB, the centre will be marketed primarily to the growing number of international business travellers who visit South Africa.

Over 12 million travellers – including an estimated 1.2 million business travellers – passed through Johannesburg International Airport in 2003, while the cargo processed through JIA in 2001 was valued at R101-billion.

Five hundred direct international flights and 900 direct national flights leave the airport weekly. JIA is also home to the national carrier, South African Airways, and the turn-around point for over 50 other passenger and cargo airlines.

According to statistics cited by the JITB, foreign business visitors to South Africa come from 57 African countries, 39 North and South American countries, 30 Asian countries, 25 Pacific Rim countries, 16 Middle Eastern countries and three Indian Ocean Islands.

“By exhibiting at the JITB, local exporters will benefit from unparalleled exposure to 212 foreign markets”, Sudarkasa said.

Business sectors to be represented at the centre will cover medical and pharmaceutical, consumer products, electrical and electronics, mining and industrial, metals and allied industries, transport and automotive, agriculture and agro-processing, food and beverage, building materials and hardware, chemical and allied industries, telecommunications, and textiles and clothing.

The centre will also feature a business information library, an exhibitor information desk, and meeting rooms and consultation areas.

Located on the doorstep of the International Terminal, the JITB will be within walking distance of the Airport Sun Intercontinental Hotel, public transport terminus, car hire and parking facilities. reporter