South Africa is investigating the setting up of a new national convention bureau to assist the cities in bidding for ‘mega-events’ including congresses and major sports events.
The project, assisted by former head of Melbourne Convention Bureau Gary Grimmer, is looking at best practice with Nomasonto Ndlovu, of South Africa Tourism. Ndlovu said: “This is a work in progress as we examine best practice around the world but we have the backing of the cabinet for the project.
"The cities need our help with bids for the really big events that require investment including subventions. It’s not a matter of buying the business because the pay-back follows for these major events.”
The announcement comes after the first draft of a new strategy plan by ICCA’s Africa Chapter to increase the participation of other African nations.
Chairman of the chapter Rashid Toefy, of Cape Town International Conference Centre, said: “We realise that the Africa Chapter is too South Africa-centric. We want to ensure participation from all over Africa so that we can promote the entire continent. We have a billion consumers in Africa and we need to support the rest of Africa – it is the next big untapped market.”
Ndlovu said: “We are looking to change our approach. Our members are very excited by the prospect and are now calling for a follow-up meeting to the first chapter meeting and we are inviting new people in.”
Toefy says the first step will be a ‘gap analysis’ to identify the African organisations who should join ICCA.