Growth in business Tourism
Sandton Convention Centre has reported a series of solid business bookings this year, and celebrates the return of regular events. The multi-use venue, which is part of Tsogo Sun, has reported a first quarter defined by events that will shape the future of business tourism, fashion and business leadership, amongst many others.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, officially opened Meetings Africa 2014 at the end of February with the traditional sounding of the bell. The annual show, which focuses on growing the meeting industry in Africa, represents one of business tourism’s highlights, bringing together leading players in an industry that contributes an estimated R663-million towards the country’s economy. This year’s show was hailed a great success, and carried the theme: “Advancing Africa Together”. It attracted a record number of exhibitors and buyers, with 262 exhibitors and around 1 000 hosted local, regional and international buyers.
“Over the past 20 years, South Africa has made great strides as a business events host and is the most popular business events destination on the continent, ” said Xasa.
Executive director of Sandton Convention Centre, Dr Matifaza Nyazema, says: “The SCC as a convention centre is intrinsically in the business of conventions, exhibitions and meetings, essentially linked to economic development. Our business is critical to the promotion of professional and business development, academic and research exchange, technical and medical advancement as well as cultural evolution. The SCC’s ability to host Meetings Africa as well as the growth of the event is a testament to the growth of business tourism in South Africa and the emergence of the African continent as a role player after 20 years of transformation.”
From the business of generating tourism to the business of celebrating fashion in Africa, the SCC showcased its ability to provide an ideal platform – or catwalk – to cultivate trends. March saw the return of African Fashion International (AFI) to the SCC for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, showcasing the Autumn/Winter designs of 34 of the country’s top designers as well as the exceptional talents of select newcomers.
“It is heartwarming to have AFI back at the SCC. Being located in Sandton, a progressive cosmopolitan city that forms part of Africa’s heartbeat, the SCC provided the perfect platform for AFI to showcase trends and designs rich in African heritage and culture, ” says Nyazema.