In spite of a tough economic environment South African Tourism has reported strong support for business tourism at the recent Meetings Africa, South Africa’s top business tourism trade exhibition, from both exhibitors and visitors.
Meetings Africa experienced 15 percent more exhibitors this year with a total of 218 businesses offering their wares to the global travel trade. Of those exhibitors, 50 were at Meetings Africa for the first time. The exhibition was attended by 1 921 visitors, including local and international buyers and media representatives.
Says Nomasonto Ndlovu, Global Manager: Business Tourism at South African Tourism: „Although we have experienced a slight decrease in visitor numbers to Meetings Africa compared to last year, feedback indicates that the event attracted more quality local and international buyers and overall exhibitors conducted good business with these buyers.“
Meetings Africa was attended by 104 hosted buyers from South Africa’s main business tourism source markets this year, (a 20% increase from last year) including The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, India, China and Switzerland. These buyers and media were taken on post-show tours to Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape where they experienced and visited some of the country’s top business tourism products. The hosted buyers agreed that South Africa demonstrated both capability and capacity, and were impressed with the number of diverse experiences and facilities available to them.
Ndlovu adds that Meetings Africa is fast becoming established on the international calendar as a serious business tourism event that offers fresh, uniquely African solutions to clients’ needs. „The show is truly becoming what the annual Indaba is to leisure tourism – a ‘must-attend’ event where the latest offerings in the industry can be purchased.“
Viviane Vogels, hosted journalist from BBT Online in Belgium says coming to South Africa was a dream come true. „Of course I only saw a glimpse, but that was enough to make me want to come and visit again and again!“
Meetings Africa enjoyed support from key industry players such as the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa and the Department of Trade and Industry.
Ndlovu also thanked South African Tourism’s bid partners in Meetings Africa, the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the Johannesburg Tourism Company and the Sandton Convention Centre for their support in the success of the exhibition as well as for their commitment to the project for the next three years.
Meetings Africa 2010 will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 24 to 26 February. For more information go to meetingsafrica.co.za.