South Africa is set to boost its global and regional competitiveness with a number of new initiatives outlined by the CEO of South Africa Tourism during a press conference onsite at at this year’s EIBTM.
“We are enthusiastic, energised and determined,” said Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Mr.Thulani Nzima. “We have targets that we are confident we will reach. It’s our collective ambition to grow business event arrivals to South Africa by 50% in the next five years. This will mean an additional US$344 million for the South African economy and an additional 31 000 jobs.
“South African has one intention: to show the world, in word and deed, that South Africa is stepping up to boost its global and regional competitiveness and unlock the significant potential of the business event market for South Africa and the rest of the continent.
Mr Nzima outlined some of the strategic developments that have taken place over the past year, including the launch of the SANCB (South African National Convention Bureau) which is charged with sharpening the destination’s competitiveness to put South Africa in the top global rankings of the world’s preferred business event destinations.
“The growth potential of the destination and region is enormous” Nzima added. “South Africa is going after that potential with a strategically coordinated plan.”
One of many new initiatives will include the international benchmarking of the South African bidding process lead by the recently formed Business Events Coordinating Council (BECC), a body that represents the country’s convention bureaux and provinces. The BECC has already laid a firm foundation for South Africa’s bidding (and winning) strategy by agreement and implementation of lead sharing strategies, conduct of bid offs and bidding protocols.
“Streamlined bidding benefits everyone. We are confident that it’s going to boost our success rates. The new processes, combined with the recent appointment of a customer relationship management system give us a centralised database for fantastic lead generation and extremely competitive bidding.”
Incentive tourism is also a significant focus of South Africa’s plans. The historic election this year of David Sand to the global president of the Society for Incentive and Travel Executives (SITE) is historic as this is the first time an African has been elected to head up the international body. “David’s election gives our incentive industry, and indeed our destination, an opportunity and a platform to position the region and South Africa strongly… to attract more incentive travellers to South and Southern Africa.” Added Nzima
Finally, the new expanded Meetings Africa debuted at EIBTM. “To unlock Africa’s potential in business events demands partnership and collaboration,” Nzima says. “It’s our medium- to-long-term ambition to build a pan-African Meetings Africa. This will foster an environment in which more regional and global conventions are held in South Africa to deliver a lasting and beneficial impact on the continent, the country and the people who work – and who have ambition to work – in tourism.”
“Our theme at Meetings Africa 2013 is Advancing Africa Together. Meetings Africa 2013 will give best and seamless access to the African service offering in business events and to a regional and continental industry that’s capable and that’s ready to do business.” added Nzima
Meetings Africa 2013 takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from February 18 to 20, with the first day of the exhibition set aside for a series of workshops and educational sessions managed and hosted by a number of business event specialist bodies, both local and global.