South Africa’s Tourism Minister has insisted that Africa is a capable and globally competitive MICE destination. Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said with warm people coupled with authentic and unique experiences, any event one hosts on the continent is set to be a memorable one.
In her address to officially open the 15th Meetings Africa event at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa today, the Minister averred that with continuous investments in key tourism infrastructure, Africa presents a fertile ground for business events to thrive.
"Fifteen years ago when we hosted the first Meetings Africa, Africa was a different continent. Although, Africa showed great promise, it still faced challenges ranging from democratisation, violent conflict to huge infrastructure investment gap,” she said.
More than a decade later, Kubayi-Ngubane says the narrative has flipped.
She maintains that, “Africa has changed and continues to change for the better. Today, Africa brims with promise. Africa is a wonderful continent of diverse people and vibrant cultures. With many African countries making remarkable economic strides in the past few years, the global meetings industry has come to regard the continent as a dynamic, sought-after destination. Hence, Africa is the second fastest growing tourism region in the world.”
Citing the World Economic Forum’s ‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019,’ the Minister added that the continent has also made great strides in infrastructure development in areas “where it traditionally has trailed, including ICT readiness, international openness and price competitiveness.”
Meetings Africa is the continent’s biggest event dedicated to the MICE industry, attracting thousands of participants each year.
“It stands to reason that, this year, we are hosting the largest Meetings Africa, to date. In this regard, we have sold 100% floor space, with 321 exhibitors from 20 Africa countries,” the Minister disclosed.
Also participating in this year’s event are 313 buyers from across the globe, who have come to explore and buy what Africa has to offer.
Prior to the official opening, a Business Opportunities Networking Day (BONDay) was held yesterday, February 24 which had been preceded by a special MICE Masterclass session presented by Africa Tourism Partners.