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Mice Net : August 2008
it’s business more than usual South AfricA’S brAnd position - business unusual – is bringing more delegates to the destination than ever before. that visitation was up once again. This was a follow-on from the previous year in which South Africa recorded a 7.17 per cent jump in business tourist arrivals (to 652,000). It appears that with new facilities and increased marketing activity, South Africa is kicking goals in the business event segment. Its “Business Unusual” slogan, which emphasises South Africa’s uniqueness and diversity as a business tourism destination, is finding a highly receptive audience globally. South African Tourism’s general manager Australasia, Bangu Masisi, is understandably happy with the way in which South Africa is travelling in terms of business events, although she stresses that there is a need to continue promoting the benefits of meetings and incentives in her country. Presently sitting in 31st position on the International Congress & Convention Association’s (ICCA’s) country listing, Ms Masisi anticipates South Africa to continue moving up the list in the years to come, particularly post-2010 when South Africa plays host to the FIFA World Cup. The spin-offs from that event alone are expected to be vast. During 2007 South Africa played host to 67 events that fit the stringent criteria of ICCA. Of these, 40 events were held in Cape Town, which is clearly the country’s leading city for the business events sector. According to Ms Masisi, it all bodes well for strong growth in the next five years. “Already for 2009 we have confirmed nine key congresses for Cape W 114 mice.net hen those working in the business events industry in South Africa drew breath after the first six months of 2008 they may not have been surprised to discover Town, Johannesburg and Durban. In 2010 we have confirmed four congresses, with three in Cape Town, and one each in Johannesburg and Durban. In fact, we have confirmed business right up until 2014.” Ms Masisi says the government is working closely with community- based organisations – “from the bottom up” – to ensure the safety of all visitors. Coupled with a common-sense approach to travel, the strategies appear to be working effectively. “Our constant challenge is definitely education,” Ms Masisi says. “Often the first thing people think about when they talk about Africa is that it is so far away. In fact, it is only 14 hours from Sydney and 11 hours from Perth.” Up, up and away In line with South Africa’s international growth, South African Airways is also seeing strong growth in the business tourism market from Australia. According to South African Airways head of Australasia, Thevan Krishna, South Africa’s world-class facilities in cities including Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg means the country is able to cater to a range of requirements for small and large groups. “With the rand now 7.5 to the Aussie dollar (compared to five to the dollar two years ago) South Africa offers great value for money,” he says. “A lot of visitors who come for a meeting or conference can also take in a wildlife safari at one of our unique game parks, sample our diverse cuisine and wine in the Cape or even try the surf at Jeffrey’s