SA 26th in world for exhibition space

8 October 2012

South Africa is ranked 26th in the world for gross indoor exhibition space, according to the latest report from global industry association UFI, the 2011 World Map of Exhibition Venues.

South Africa has approximately 180 000m² of indoor exhibition space, the Exhibition and Event Assocation of Southern Africa (EXSA), which analysed the UFI report with regards to South Africa, said last week.

“UFI’s first objective was to identify venues with a minimum of 5 000m² of gross indoor exhibition space,” EXSA said in a statement.

The 2011 report identified 1 197 qualifying venues, with Africa meeting the criteria for 25 venues, totalling half-a-million square metres of exhibition space available on the continent.

One-third of Africa’s exhibition space in SA

One-third of all the exhibition space available in Africa is located in South Africa, according to EXSA, spread over eight of the country’s biggest venues.

“There are quite a few other venues with less than 5 000m² within southern Africa which were not taken into account for the UFI report,” EXSA general manager Sue Gannon noted.

UFI identified the top four countries with the largest gross indoor exhibition space as the US (6.7-million m²), China (4.7-million m²), Germany (3.3 million m²) and Italy (2.2 million m²).

According to the UFI report, each of the top 55 international venues is at least 100% bigger than South Africa’s largest venue – the Johannesburg Expo Centre, followed closely by the Tshwane Event Centre in Pretoria.

Industry ‘growing at a phenomenal rate’

The UFI report also stated that there had been no growth in available indoor space for Africa since 2006, compared to 7% growth in Europe, 5% growth in North America and a staggering 38% growth in Asia – growth rates indicative an industry that was strong and continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate.

The International Convention Centre in Durban has recently expanding its exhibition halls, said Gannon, while the Cape Town International Convention Centre was about to embark on doubling its exhibition space.

EXSA said it had started research on the exhibition venues in South Africa, firstly to record the actual gross indoor exhibition space in the country, secondly to establish the actual occupancy of the venues.

SAinfo reporter