by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MEETINGS Africa 2023 has kicked off to unite the continent’s tourism industry to promote economic growth.
Some 325 exhibitors from 22 African countries and over 375 from more 60 countries in total have converged for the summit at the Sandton Convention Centre, north of Johannesburg.
The Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDAy), which featured tourism industry experts, disruptors and data specialists, opened on Monday to pave the way for the formal programme, which ends on March 2.
Fish Mahlalela, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, who was the keynote speaker, emphasised the importance of collaboration to fast-track development in Africa.
“We must explore potential areas of collaboration and partnerships in the African convention and exhibition industry to achieve globally benchmarked standards,” he said.
“Meetings Africa is a trade show that brings the African continent’s business events, products and offerings under a single roof, with a specific focus on SMMEs and their value chain to the entire tourism sector,” Mahlalela explained.
This year, Meetings Africa has improved access for small, micro and medium enterprises to the trade show by introducing the “plug and meet” pavilion, which offers full access at a reduced rate.
This package includes 20 SMMEs. Additionally, 45 SMMEs will showcase at the event.
BONDay also included the first African edition of the International Association of Convention Centres Summit, as well as the standing feature which is the International Congress and Convention Association Day.
For BONDay, there were over 30 experts across four stages tackling current industry challenges and ideating towards innovative solutions to propel the industry and the continent.
Mahlalela applauded the South African National Convention Bureau for securing 34 of the 79 bids for international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions for the first three quarters of the year.
The secured bids are estimated to contribute R288 million to the South African economy between 2022 and 2025.
Zinhle Nzama, Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer, said the seating
was designed to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere reminiscent of
traditional fireside chats of yore in line with a new logo.
Multi-colored cushions with Ndebele print were used for added comfort and to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Ndebele people.
– CAJ News