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South Africa establishes R110m bid fund for business events

Tourism minister Derek Hanekom says it is time for Africa to show it's 'immense value' as a business events hub

Pictured: South Africa tourism minister Derek Hanekom announces the bid fund at the official opening of Meetings Africa

The South African government has established a R110 million (£6.8m) bidding fund to run for four years, as it looks to expand its business events market.

The financial investment was announced today at Meetings Africa by Tourism minister Derek Hanekom, who said it would 'give muscle' to the convention bureau in attracting regional and international meetings.

"The fund will be a catalyst that propels our business events industry to a higher league. It will enable our national convention bureau and our provincial and city convention bureaux, to support bidding processes, and it will greatly enhance our changes of winning business events," Hanekom said.

"It's time for Africa to show its immense value to the rest of the world as a business events destination. We must strike while the iron is hot. It's an exciting and invigorating space to be in, with lots of good news coming out of tourism."

The announcement came during the official opening of Meetings Africa this week, a two-day trade show that has attracted hosted buyers from 37 countries. This year marks its 12th anniversary.

In announcing the bid fund, Hanekom said there would be a focus on attracting business events that are aligned with 'priority' economic sectors identified by the South African government. He added:  "These include manufacturing, mining and metals and creative industries. Hosting major events in these sectors will reap rich macro-economic benefits for our country."


About R20m (£1.2m) has been allocated for the 2017-2018 financial year, with a further R90m (£5.6m) to follow over the next three years.

The tourism minister also condemned the recent xenophobic attacks in Tshwane and Johannesburg, which saw more than 130 protesters arrested during an anti-immigration march. It is alleged some tried to break into foreign-owned shops and claimed the owners were drug lords. Mr Hanekom said: "Xenophobia, wherever and whenever it occurs, cannot be tolerated. This despicable behaviour does not represent the sentiments of the vast majority of our people, who appreciate that the people of Africa are bound together by common origins and common values of humanity.

"Tourism plays a big part in eradicating prejudice and bringing people together. We will always welcome people from all over the world in our country."

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