Stand by for an extra special Meetings Africa business events trade show in 2015. It’s an occasion that will be marked by looking back on how far the South African business events sector has come in that time, and how well-equipped it is to take growth and success to the next level.
Thulani Nzima, CEO of South African Tourism, says this tenth anniversary is a momentous milestone.
“Meetings Africa has grown from a small and insignificant show into the continent’s premier and best represented business event exhibition. It is now recognised, and heralded around the world as the place to do business with a continent that’s capable, competent and absolutely committed to service excellence and delivery.
“Our achievements, through Meetings Africa, have been great. Today, South Africa holds 34th place on the global ICCA rankings. Our advance up the rankings has been steady and sustainable and it’s this industry’s ambition to see South Africa occupy a place in the top 20 ICCA destinations by 2017.
“With growing support for Meetings Africa, we are confident we will achieve our goal because we have solidarity in our industry. We have a united determination that extends across numerous areas of interest: bidding for events, marketing the destination; working on skills and capability; and coming together at Meetings Africa to offer buyers from around the world the very best of our continent under one roof.”
Meetings Africa, he says, has been an excellent platform for marketing South Africa as a business event host. It will continue serving this purpose well into the future… as the premier such show on the continent.
It’s significant that Meetings Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary a year after South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom. The destination’s stature as a business event host has grown enormously these last 20 years. This growth had,as a highlight the very first Meetings Africa ever at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2005.
Since then, the East London International Convention Centre and the Boardwalk International Convention Centre (in Port Elizabeth) have opened for business. The South Africa National Convention Bureau was launched in 2012 with its call to the South African industry to ‘Win as One’. This has been a rallying cry that has endured in both strategy and practice, and has seen South Africa become a significant contender as a globally competitive business event destination.
Says Nzima: “Our first ten years have given us an excellent and firm foundation. We have seen ambitious growth plans come to fruition. Now Meetings Africa offers exhibitors from across our continent the single best platform to meet quality buyers. It offers buyers the cream of our continent under one roof. The show’s value as a business platform for the industry is solid and celebrated. With Meetings Africa as the flagship for the continent, global competitiveness is assured; Africa’s share of market is growing; and Africa is advancing. There is much to celebrate.”
Meetings Africa 2015 takes place from February 23 to 25, 2015.