Business Tourism South Africa
South Africa is witnessing the growth of business tourism industry. Investments into new hotels and conferencing facilities are spurring.
Business tourism — conferencing combined with leisure activities — is fairly new to South Africa and has become a key focus of the Department of Tourism.
It established the South African National Conventions Bureau about a year ago, which has proved successful in attracting bids.
South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima says that 88 secured bids for major events between 2013 and 2017 “will generate upwards of R2.6bn into our economy”. “The results that we are registering now are quite impressive, but we are just at the beginning of the process.”
Mr Nzima says South Africa has the hotel and facilities capacity to host far more events. South Africa got “a shot in the arm” in 2010 with a number of hotel and bed and breakfast investments ahead of the World Cup.
Durban’s International Convention Centre has faced increasing competition from venues in Sandton, Cape Town, and most recently Port Elizabeth.
The Cape Town International Convention Centre is undergoing an expansion set to double its capacity and its contribution to gross domestic product.
“My call to the industry is to sit up and look at how this segment of business tourism can benefit us all. One successful event leads to the next successful event, ” Mr Nzima says.
Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO Mmatsatsi Ramawela, said last month that the TBCSA FNB tourism business index for the second quarter of this year had confirmed the industry had returned to normal trading levels.
Ms Ramawela says business tourism had sustained the index at near-normal levels during the winter months, when the index usually declined.
She says there is significant scope for South Africa to host more international conferences and events, which will be a “major boost” for tourism and the economy.
Hosting more African association events is a major opportunity and is also necessary in that it proves to the rest of the world that South Africa can successfully hold such events, she says.
Along with a number of other companies targeting the lucrative meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry, Premier Hotels and Resorts last week opened a new business-focused hotel in Midrand, which it said it viewed as “a key area for growth in terms of business tourism”.