30 July 2012
South Africa remains among the top 15 long-haul business event destinations in the world and is the premier business events destination in Africa, says Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
Speaking at the opening of the Southern African Association of the Conference Industry’s annual conference in Pretoria on Monday, Van Schalkwyk said South Africa has already secured over 200 international conferences for the next five years.
These would attract an estimated 300 000 delegates, injecting around R1.6-billion into the economy.
In 2011, according to a departure survey, South Africa hosted around 392 000 business travellers, of which about 140 000 attended conferences and meetings in the country
“Our ambition is to compete with the biggest and best business events destinations in the world,” Van Schalkwyk told delegates at the conference on Monday.
“As government continues to focus on tourism as one of the key job-creating sectors, we recognise business events tourism as an area with significant growth potential.”
The government has established the first South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) to further promote growth in SA’s conferencing industry.
The SANCB is tasked with co-ordinating national bidding, undertaking research, and collaborating with city and provincial convention bureaux and the business events industry to present a united front for destination South Africa, Van Schalkwyk said.
“So, while we have identified the business events industry as a critical component in helping us reach our National Tourism Sector Strategy’s target of 15-million international arrivals by 2020, we know that we still have considerable room for growth and improvement in this sector.”