South Africa’s mission at this year’s IMEX Frankfurt is already promising great returns. During the three-day trade fair, the South Africa stand in Hall 8 at Messe Frankfurt, has been bustling with activity as hosted buyers engaged with the South African exhibitors discussing potential opportunities for hosting meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) in the country.
With a clear goal to attract more events to South Africa, the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB)’s sales team has been busy conducting pre-scheduled meetings with buyers at the show. As a result of these meetings, the team has acquired a number of leads promising high-yield and great returns. As part of the work of the SANCB team, these leads will then be converted into bidding opportunities for the destination.
On the show’s first day, the SANCB team also hosted a targeted dinner engagement with 30 clients from various parts of the world, as part of increasing networking opportunities. These clients were selected as they are important decision-makers for associations and corporate conferences, meetings, and incentives that take place globally. They were selected based on potential business opportunities for the destination over the next five years.
“There is magic in face-to-face connections and engagements. This is why the COVID-19 pandemic was so devastating to our sector. Bespoke networking events where we get to attentively understand client needs are so important,” says Zinhle Nzama, Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at South Africa National Convention Bureau, a business unit of South African Tourism.
During the engagements, amongst the numerous leads, the SANCB generated a significant lead for an international medical conference. This conference typically draws 1500 attendees and has an estimated economic value of R48,000,000. As a result, and in a significant step, next year the conference’s Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) will attend Meetings Africa to conduct site inspections for the event.
During the three-day trade fair, at IMEX Frankfurt, the SANCB team also held engagements with various clients planning already-secured business events that are now in the pipeline for South Africa over the next year or two. These meetings took place in order to provide the necessary assistance for these organisers to host successful conferences in true South African style.
One of these meetings was with a UK-based organiser who will bring an international medical conference in South Africa in September. The conference attracts 700 delegates with an estimated economic impact pegged at close to R18 million. Over and above the economic impact, the conference will include various legacy programmes focusing on key areas of need for the South African medical sector.
“Attracting conferences like this to South Africa assists with creating a lasting impact in key areas of need and showcases our country’s world-class expertise in different sectors. The impact of the team SA’s effort at IMEX Frankfurt, therefore, goes beyond just securing business events and delegates. Their efforts positively impact various other economic sectors and the economic development of the country,” concludes Nzama.