Meetings Africa, one of the continent’s premier business events trade shows, is back and raring to ignite the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry.
The event will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg from 28 February to 02 March 2022. Meetings Africa will once again welcome almost 1,000 exhibitors, buyers and delegates from around the world.
South Africa National Convention Bureau’s (SANCB) Chief Convention Bureau Officer, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, is delighted that this flagship event is back on the tourism calendar after last year’s cancelation due to COVID-19.
“To host a trade show after such tough times is testament to the business events industry’s resilience. It is important for us to host a physical event because people in this sector have the desire to explore new ideas, to network and to connect. International buyers are, once again, turning to the continent for new and innovative travel packages, and they recognise that Meetings Africa is the best place to find them,” says Kotze-Nhlapo.
The theme “Shared Minds, Shared Economies” aptly captures the intention of Meetings Africa 2022 as it calls for a cross-pollination of people and ideas. After two years of not seeing each other, it is time to, once again, open business and travel safely and freely so as to grow and solidify partnerships,” said Kotze-Nhlapo.
The years 2020 and 2021 were meant to be bumper years for South Africa’s MICE industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many international and regional business events being cancelled, and others hosted virtually. The SANCB, with the local industry, had to postpone 36 events in the last two years. These events, now going ahead in 2022 and 2023 in hybrid formats, will potentially attract 18,473 delegates to the country, generating 144 event days with an estimated R461-million contribution to the economy.
The business events industry is an integral part of the tourism economy. The SANCB and the local business event industry is working hard at replenishing the secured business events pipeline for South Africa. During quarters the first three quarters of the 2021/22 financial year (1April 2021 to 31 March 2022), the country submitted 66 bids to host international business events between 2022 and 2027. Of those bids, South Africa has won 20 so far. These secured bids are expected to contribute R269-million to South Africa’s economy and attract 8 775 international and regional delegates in that same period.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT MEETINGS AFRICA 2022?
Buyers at this year’s Meetings Africa 2022 can look forward to 156 exhibitors with highly innovative products ranging from national carriers to multinational hospitality groups on the trade floor.
BONDay (Business Opportunity Networking Day) will kick-off proceedings with a talk from South African motivational speaker Justin Cohen on identifying one’s own strengths and unleashing potential. He will be followed by an overview of the Business Events industry by Desiree Baltussen, the Chief Business Development Officer for the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), and an inspiring talk by Boipelo Tladinyane Hlubi on what it is like to be a woman travelling through Africa’s 54 countries.
And for the first time, the Africa Business Tourism & MICE Masterclass will be hosted at Meetings Africa 2022. Taking place on 28th February, participants will gain powerful insights from industry leaders on how to remain flexible in tough times and collectively grow the intra-Africa MICE industry.
Since its first session in 2018, the Masterclass has attracted more than 700 industry professionals, practitioners, youth, SMMEs and national tourism officials, from across the continent.
There will be insightful sessions across all three days at Meetings Africa 2022, with speakers focusing on creating a positive African narrative, the future of meetings, and the challenges business events face because of a lack of airlift in Africa.
Other highlights of Meetings Africa 2022 include the Sustainability Village, presenting of the best crafters in South Africa. Delegates are encouraging to support these entrepreneurs and contribute to their growth and sustainability.