Business and events tourism takes the South African tourism industry to new heights
“I am delighted that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality now has a convention center of its own. Congratulations to everyone who formed part of making this Boardwalk Convention Centre a success. This outstanding facility will not only benefit from our thriving business-events industry, but will assist in growing and sustaining it. “
This statement was released by the office of the Minister of Tourism for South Africa, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, on the occasion of the annual South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) event hosted at the Boardwalk Convention Centre, Port Elizabeth on 29 July 2013
“As government continues to focus on tourism as one of the key job-creating sectors, we continue to recognize business-events tourism as an area with significant growth potential. Our decision to invest in business-events tourism was informed by our strategy to diversify our offerings and source markets. The international leisure market is always volatile in times of global economic uncertainty. That is why we balance our investment in domestic and long-haul tourism; in leisure and business tourism, and a portfolio of both mature and emerging source markets.
As you all know, tourism is a leading sector of the South African economy. Last year, international tourist arrivals grew by 10.2%, which is more than two and a half times the global average of 4%. The business-events industry has been an important contributor to this success. Back then, we promised to launch the South African National Convention Bureau (NCB) to show how serious we, as a country, are about the business-events industry and its contribution to tourism growth. We have delivered on that promise.
The NCB, under the leadership of Amanda, has now been in operation for nearly a year and a half. It has been extremely successful in aligning our efforts, and in helping our destination to secure 88 major bids for the period 2013 until 2017. Jointly, these bids will attract no less than R2.6 billion to the tourism economy. These meetings will bring an estimated 200 000 delegates to the country. One of the biggest will be the 21st International Aids Conference, which is to be held in 2016 in Durban. These are indeed impressive achievements, of which every single one of you sitting in this room can be proud. Congratulations to you all.
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