Meetings Africa kicks off with excitement, demonstrating a commitment to elevate the business events sector | The Planner

Amid global challenges and increasing collaborations, organisations are turning to in-person conferences and business meetings to find solutions and strengthen relationships. This trend is fueling rapid growth in the global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector. Africa is eager to seize this opportunity.

The continent is already establishing itself as a significant player in this industry

Meetings Africa 2024 boldly demonstrates Africa’s readiness to host events of any scale. South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Patricia de Lille, expressed this sentiment during the opening of the trade event earlier on Tuesday. With 380 exhibiting companies from 21 African countries participating, Meetings Africa 2024 is solidifying its position as the continent’s premier business events trade show.

Said De Lille:

“I have no doubt that even here at Meetings Africa, it will be evident to all that the African continent is the ideal destination for meetings, events, expos, and incentive trips.”

Highlighting the importance of the business events sector and its contribution to the economy, De Lille praised the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and its partners for their exceptional efforts in securing international and local bids for events to be held in South Africa.

The SANCB has submitted 95 bids to host international business events in SA

This is since the start of the current financial year and the event will happen between 2024 and 2032. These bid submissions are estimated to have a combined economic value of R1.5 billion and could attract 60 040 international and regional delegates to South Africa. South Africa has already won 19 bids for the 2023/24 financial year, which are expected to contribute R85 million to the economy between 2024 and 2025 as well as attract 2995 international and regional delegates.

While acknowledging these achievements, De Lille stressed the need for further efforts to promote and position South Africa as a leading destination for business events.

According to global economic research, the global business events industry was valued at USD 345.8 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 2.1 trillion by 2031. Africa’s business events industry for 2023 was estimated at USD 12.7 billion , while South Africa’s Business Events for 2023 was estimated at USD 6.4 billion.

De Lille emphasised that the country’s positioning should go beyond its socio-economic challenges.

“It is essential that we take control of our narrative and proudly showcase ourselves to the world. Our challenges do not define our potential or our ability to lead in key business sectors.

Following her address, the Minister was joined on stage by Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Tasneem Motara, and others to officially open the trade show.

Motara highlighted that Meetings Africa offers an excellent platform to present Gauteng as a hub for large-scale conferences.

“It allows us to showcase our strengths and attract attention from local and international professionals in the meetings, events and business industry.”

Mgudlwa encouraged delegates to immerse themselves in knowledge exchange and connect with like-minded individuals.

“As we embark on this journey together, let us not forget the power we hold as a community.

Harris echoed De Lille’s sentiments that more needs to be done to grow the business events industry in South Africa and across the continent.