Driving force for business tourism

Posted On Monday, 23 February 2004 02:00 Published by
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THE link between the boom in business tourism and the success of SA's major convention centres is underlined by the substantial increase in the number of delegates to conference venues.

THE link between the boom in business tourism and the success of SA's major convention centres is underlined by the substantial increase in the number of delegates to conference venues.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre which opened in mid-2003 is reaping the benefits.

In the first six months of operation about 196 events were hosted at the centre between June and December last year, with more than 290000 people attending events over the same period.

This number comes very close to the originally targeted 300000 visitors for the first full year, says Dirk Elzinga, the centre's MD.

Rick Taylor, CEO of the Cape Town Convention Bureau, says: "With Cape Town increasing in popularity as a conferencing destination, and the opening of the convention centre, we are seeing a greater demand by delegates to visit the city."

He says for many of these delegates it is their first visit to Cape Town and SA.

Conferences provide them with the ideal opportunity to explore and tour the country, with many of them returning at a later stage on holiday with family and friends.

Elzinga says that as more international bids are awarded to the centre the facility "will be a driving force in developing business tourism in SA".

The latest international meetings to join the list of bids awarded to the centre are scheduled to take place between 2005 and 2009.

The majority of these conferences will be hosted in subSaharan Africa for the first time, Elzinga says.

The centre recently won bids to host both the Federation of Gynaecology & Obstetrics (Figo) world congress and the International Diabetes Federation Congress, both scheduled for 2009.

The Figo congress will have about 8000 delegates attending, while the International Diabetes Federation congress is expecting to attract more than 10000 international delegates.

The International Congress and Convention Association has chosen the centre as the host venue for their annual conference in 2004.

This year's congress is scheduled for October and will attract about 600 delegates from across the globe.

These delegates represent the international meetings industry and are regarded as opinion leaders who can influence the choice of future destinations for international conferences. The event is attended by international trade media, which means more exposure to the international market.


Feb 23 2004 07:40:16:000AM Business Day 1st Edition




Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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