SANCB: South Africa unveils ‘accelerated driv...

South Africa unveils ‘accelerated drive’ to attract more business events

Foto: Elizabeth Thabethe

At IBTM World, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe, announced a “bold and ambitious” delegate-boosting plan as part of a Bidding Support Programme to propel the country’s business events industry forward. The South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), a business unit of South African Tourism, was at IBTM to emphasise that South Africa – and Africa – is “open for business … [and] on an accelerated drive to increase our share of the global business events pie,” Ms. Thabethe told. This drive entails bringing more high-value business events delegates to South Africa, aiding economic growth and sustaining much-needed jobs throughout the broader tourism economy. This is besides the contribution such events make to the local knowledge economy, she noted. “The research proves what our industry has always suspected – that South Africa’s business events industry contributes significantly to our broader tourism economy,” Ms. Thabethe told assembled media.  To help achieve this tourism growth, the South African government has allocated R90 million for a Bidding Support Programme to enable South Africa to bid more aggressively for international association conferences, meetings, incentives and exhibitions over the next three years. This grant will give South Africa “extra muscle” to lobby for and attract big-ticket events, Ms. Thabethe said.  South Africa had about 40 exhibitors taking part in this year’s IBTM World, ranging from city and provincial convention bureaus and destination management companies to tour operators, hotels and guest lodges. This includes eight small tourism businesses that are being hosted by the National Department of Tourism as part of its Market Access Programme. This programme seeks to broaden the variety of tourism products on the market while helping small enterprises (especially black-owned businesses) get “marketready” for international tourists.