"it will be clear for all to see that the African continent is the best place to bring all meetings" - Patricia De Lille

Meetings Africa Launches With enthusiasm Showcasing Readiness to Enhance

Amidst global challenges and growing collaborations, organisations are increasingly relying on in-person conferences and business meetings to devise solutions and strengthen relationships.

This trend is driving rapid growth in the global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE). sector, and Africa is eager to capitalise on this opportunity.

The continent is already positioning itself as a significant and capable player in this industry. Meetings Africa 2024, currently underway at the Sandton Convention Centre, boldly signifies Africa’s readiness to host events of any scale. South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille, expressed this sentiment as she opened the trade event earlier on Tuesday.

With 380 exhibiting companies from 21 African countries in attendance, Meetings Africa 2024 is solidifying its status as the continent’s premier business events trade show.

“I have no doubt that even here at Meetings Africa, it will be clear for all to see that the African continent is the best place to bring all meetings, events, expos and indeed incentive trips,”

De Lille said.

Highlighting the significance of the business events sector and its contribution to the economy, De Lille commended the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and its partners for their exceptional efforts in securing international and local bids for events to be held in South Africa.

De Lille noted that since the beginning of the current financial year (2023/24), the SANCB has sourced and submitted 95 bids for international business events to be hosted in South Africa between 2024 and 2032.

These bid submissions are estimated to have a combined economic value of R1.5 billion and potentially attract 60,040 international and regional delegates to South Africa.

Thus far, South Africa has won 19 of the bids submitted for the 2023/24 financial year. These secured business pieces will contribute R85m to South Africa’s economy between 2024 and 2025 and attract 2995 international and regional delegates.

While acknowledging these accomplishments, De Lille emphasised that there is still room for further efforts to promote and position South Africa as a leading destination for business events.

According to global economic research, the global business events industry was valued at 345.8 billion US Dollars in 2021 and is projected to reach 2.1 trillion US Dollars by 2031. Meanwhile Africa’s business events industry for 2023 was estimated at 12,7 billion US dollars while South Africa’s Business Events for 2023 was estimated at 6,4 billion US Dollars.

De Lille said the country’s positioning should transcend its socio-economic challenges.

“It is imperative that we take control of our narrative and boldly showcase ourselves to the world. Our challenges do not define our potential, our ability to lead in key business sectors, or our capacity to innovate and host global MICE events. South Africa is home to exceptional individuals achieving remarkable feats, and it’s time to share that story.”

Following her speech, the Minister was joined on stage by Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Tasneem Motara, the CEO of Joburg Tourism Company, Thandokuhle Mgudlwa; Mr Tim Harris, the chair of the South African Tourism Board and Nombulelo Guliwe, the Acting CEO of South African Tourism. Together, they officially opened the trade show by ringing the bell.

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