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South Africa’s meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions industry is an important sector to attract foreign visitors and investment. In 2019, 11.4% of foreign tourism was attributed to this industry, where about one million business delegates are hosted annually. Factors that contribute to South Africa’s success as an events destination are the quality of infrastructure, accessibility and price. Despite being a long-haul destination, the cost of hosting a convention or exhibition in South Africa is highly competitive. Coronavirus has had a huge impact on conferences and tourism globally and in South Africa.
South Africa is ranked number one in Africa in the International Congress and Convention Association ratings but has moved to second place behind Mauritius in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. East Africa is becoming highly competitive, with world-class convention centres and upmarket hotels appearing in Kampala, Nairobi, Kigali, Addis Ababa, and elsewhere. South Africa has sophisticated events infrastructure, venues and hotels. Industry stakeholders said that the water shortage in Cape Town was the biggest issue affecting the industry last year. Electricity shortages, crime and coronavirus are significant threats to the industry
The Tourism and Trade, Industry and Competition departments play significant roles in the event management industry as they oversee international and domestic tourism promotion and development, national compliance standards for events, funding and consumer protection. In 2019, the Southern African National Convention Bureau submitted 108 bids for international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. The bureau has prioritised the automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, agri-processing, electronics and biofuels for future development.
This report focuses on event management including events, conferences and exhibitions and the factors that influence them including tourism. There are comprehensive profiles of 84 companies. These include major conferencing venues such as the Cape Town International Convention Centre, suppliers to the industry such as Bidvest Services, Prosound and Scan Display Solutions, tourism groups such as Tourvest and concert organisers such as Big Concerts.