South Africa becomes business tourism hub

South Africa’s tourism sector will undoubtedly be enhanced substantially as a result of 200 international events confirmed to be held in the country over the upcoming five years.

The events comprise of meetings as well as conferences that will be likely to entice approximately 300 000 international delegates.

“The prospective economic benefit of the aforementioned verified meetings and conferences is a whole lot more than R1.6-billion (US$222-million),” said the country’s Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Van Schalkwyk was giving a presentation at the launching of the Meetings Africa conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, on 21 February 2011. The three-day conference provides a platform to promote and encourage the development of Africa’s tourism destinations and attractions all under one roof and is also being attended by a number of international tourists.

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk

The planned events will most likely play a role in the expansion of South Africa’s business tourism, which has gone through the roof in recent times. In excess of 500 000 international business delegates traveled to South Africa in 2009, as per the tourism department.

Business tourism accounted for 4.7% of overall visitor arrivals in 2009, a sign that recreational travel and leisure continues to lead the industry sector. Business tourists fork out approximately R5 300 ($740) during the course of their more often than not brief vacation in the country, which represents a monetary valuation of approximately R4-billion ($556-million), the department reported.

“The typical duration of stay of business tourists at the same time improved from 4.6 nights in 2008 to 4.8 nights in 2009,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Major cities score big

The country’s popular cities which include Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are going to host the vast majority of forthcoming meetings and conferences.

Durban in KwaZulu-Natal is going to stage the very important UN Climate Change Conference later this year, probably one of the leading international events in South Africa following the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The conference is going to attract presidents and prime ministers of numerous states, amongst the many other delegates.

Environmental activists from a number of countries around the world will likewise travel to South Africa in order to attend the event.

However the climate change conference is certainly not the only major drawcard for Durban – the city will in addition host the International Transport and Environmental Conference, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association Conference and the Disabled Peoples’ International 8th World Assembly.

Johannesburg is going to also receive a significant boost as a result of the confirmed bookings. As mentioned by Lindiwe Kwele, CEO of the Johannesburg Tourism Company, the city is going to host 16 upcoming conferences. “We constantly make an effort to bring in events of international significance,” Kwele mentioned during an interview.

Lindiwe Kwele, CEO of the Johannesburg Tourism Company

Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton is going to accommodate a number of the world and Africa’s most progressive workshops. By the end February, a minimum of five international conferences, which includes Meetings Africa, would have already been staged within the suburb this year.

The upcoming big event happening in Sandton will be the three-day Africa Roads convention in March, which is where public infrastructure role-players are going to get together to talk about techniques for ensuring safe and efficient road networks around the continent.

Hotels will definitely reap some benefits at the same time, for the reason that almost each one of these events tend to be hosted in boutique establishments. The Hilton Sandton hotel turned out to be the venue for the Carbon Markets Africa conference held in January.


Constant levels of competition within the hospitality industry seems to have triggered dazzling and vibrant marketing. “We’re just about all genuinely optimistic to receive as many visitors as is possible and receiving numerous internationals into South Africa is obviously superb,” said Kathy Davies from the Legacy hotel group.

The 5th Africa Economic Forum in March is amongst the main events that Cape Town has scooped. Similar to Johannesburg and Durban, its line-up for 2011 is without a doubt bulging.

Even though considerably small compared to the other centres, Kimberley is going to host the 7th International Wildlife Ranching Symposium in October, while Grahamstown’s Rhodes University will be the setting for the Pan African Youth Summit scheduled for September.

Growth of South African tourism

South Africa hosted 90 out of 8 300 international events in 2009 – a year in which 55% of the venues ended up being allotted to European countries.

The 200 upcoming events have been verified over the past couple of years, and in addition the tourism department expects to entice a great deal more between now and 2016.

Cape Town scooped 49 of the scheduled events in 2009, along with the International Congress and Convention Association ranking it a number-one African business host. Johannesburg was ranked fifth and Durban 10th.


Precisely the same association labeled the Mother City as the 135th leading business meeting location in the world. Johannesburg and Durban came 128th and 231th respectively.

South Africa was ranked 34th in the international rankings and number one in Africa. “These statistics clearly show that South Africa along with our leading business tourism cities compare exceptionally well with regards to the rest of the continent,” said Van Schalkwyk.

Tourism contributed approximately 7.7% to South Africa’s GDP in 2010, during which about 7.3-million tourists visited the country. “Looking at the foreseeable future, there is certainly very good news [for the travel and leisure sector],” said Van Schalkwyk.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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