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Published on : Wednesday, March 2, 2016
From 23 – 24 February, to recognise Africa as a sought after destination, Meetings Africa was organised. It provided a platform for the African meetings industry professionals to interact with the international delegates. In a discussion with Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Head of National Convention Bureau, Travel And Tour World gathered some interesting updates on South Africa tourism.
Here’s a sneak peek of the interview. Stay tuned for our April issue to read more on Johannesburg and the detailed discussion.
On MICE potential…
Johannesburg is the corporate headquarters for Africa. The currency makes it a real ‘value for money destination’. As a country, South Africa has immense potential in the incentive travel market sector. Being a part of the commonwealth family, there always remains a chance to host the international association meetings which serves as the podium to share knowledge not only about the travel industry trends but also on technology, infrastructure etc. As a developing country, the need for knowledge transfer is inevitable and it can best be done by hosting the events and meetings in country itself rather than in a far off ‘developed’ MICE destination. Being the host country of meetings for associations can involve larger number of delegates than if it is organised in a foreign land.
On MICE promotion…
National Convention Bureau is a part of South Africa tourism and it is linked with 15 offices around the world, specifically through the representation companies. It gives all the support including investment potential of the group, social development, delegate boosting, site inspection for big groups, onsite event support and other strategic stuffs. Meetings Africa is one of the most promising business event strategy and to promote it as MICE destination, they participate in numerous trade shows, road shows etc.
On relaxation of visa policy…
India and China is the biggest potential market, specially in terms of both incentive and leisure travellers. As a convention bureau, NCB does everything supportive that can help to accelerate the visa processing system. But for business travellers, e-visa is not yet available. But lately, the government realised that prolonged visa procedures effect the business turnover. There is thus, definitely light at the end of the tunnel so this interim period will be difficult till the act is amended.
On latest investment policy…
Amanda strongly feels that infrastructure development is a symbiotic relationship. For instance, FIFA forced to build new stadiums in South Africa and after the Twenty 10 soccer World Cup these structures where not really of any use. However, with a holistic approach, the Durban stadium is now turned into a tourist attraction with options to host events. The rooms have been upgraded with conference facilities and various events are held. There are many private convention centres coming up as well.
Only in 2014, 124 events have been hosted. From 2017-2020 163 events are lined up which is expected to give an economic impact of 3.1 billion rand along with the footfall of 150,000 delegates.
America, Europe, specially UK and Asia form the bulk market when considered in terms of association, convention or delegate perspective. India, China, Japan are major names when talking of incentive travellers. There are 15 core markets including India, China, Germany, UK etc. The secondary market and ‘watch-this-market’ are the other two sectors which serve as the potential source of business.
What sets South Africa apart from the rest?
Of the many factors, South Africa is one of the best places to do business. This is primarily for the fact that the country has one of the most liberal constitutions. Although it has a third world economy, the infrastructure is like that of first world. Quality of hotels, value for money, fantastic wine and food, and above all the warmth of people are the definitely the contributing factors to make South Africa a potential MICE destination.