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Trade investment key on improving tourism

 This was confirmed by the National Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk at the opening of the fifth Meetings Africa at Sandton Convention Center, Sandton today.

Meetings Africa is a business tourism gathering which seeks to conscientious international buyers on products available in South Africa, and to large extend initiate business deals. It runs from today February 28 to March 1 at SCC.

Addressing local, international media and delegates, Van Schalkwyk said the establishing of the new National Convention Bureau will result in achieving the intended numbers and increment of the business trade in the country.

“As South Africa looks to aggressively pursue a bigger share of the global business tourism market the newly-established National Convention Bureau (NCB) at South African Tourism would be critical in harnessing national business tourism efforts,” he says.

Established in November 2011 and headed up by its Executive Manager, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, the NCB will act as a ‘one-stop shop’ for independent information and assistance, giving neutral advice on all aspects of hosting and organising any business tourism-related event in South Africa.

The NCB will co-ordinate national bidding, undertake research and collaborate with national convention centres and the business tourism industry to present a united front for destination South Africa, instead of doing things differently and inappropriately, said the Minister.

Amongst others, NBC would conduct Pre- and Post Bid support, Provide Destination Expertise, Building Attendance, Convention Planning Support and On-site Event Services.

Through confidently staging major events like the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the United Nations’ COP 17 Climate Change Conference, South Africa has proven its credentials to host events of any magnitude and is well-placed to play host to any local or international Meetings, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) events.

An estimated 2000 delegates per day will be visiting the Meetings Africa for exhibition which includes various businesses, tourism agencies and government departments.

New incumbent at SAT chief executive Thulani Nzima, who exudes with confidence said, these gathering of ‘international stars’ has once again boosted the confidence of the country by the global players’.

The Meetings Africa will be hosted in Gauteng for the next five years’.

MEC for Economic Development in Gauteng Qedani Mahlangu, also heaped praise on Gauteng Province for once again hosting this major gathering of key decision makers.

“By virtue of us hosting this major event means our province has the capacity and resources to welcome both international and Continental visitors.

Having said that, this means our economic development and increase in tourism visit will have to be evident in creating job opportunities for our people, particularly youths’.”

On a different note, she said as part of the ANC 100 years’ Centennial celebrations, the department has forged partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to honour previous gallants of the movement, which will take place throughout the province.

She did not elaborate further on which capacity.

SAT invited hospitality and tourism students to the gathering for free as part of knowledge exchange programme.

A Nigerian radio reporter, who confessed that this was his first trip to mzansi, could not hide his excitement for visiting the country, uttered that SA has an abundance of tourism gems it pride itself with.

“This is simply majestic.”


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