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SAACI, the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry is the recognised umbrella body of the business events industry.

SAACI 2016 returns to the province where the idea of SAACI was born in 1985. Mangaung, is the official host city for this prestigious congress. Adriaan Liebetrau, chief executive officer of SAACI, said: “Mangaung is known as a city on the move. Often referred to as the heart of our country and known for its rugby and braais. As the sixth largest city in South Africa and the Judicial Capital, the city presented itself as the perfect host city in the Free State”

“The SAACI Congress is poised to be the must attend event on the annual business events calendar. After the successful launch of the SAACI Academy in 2015, we have chosen the theme ‘with knowledge, it’s possible’ and we are dedicated to the efficiency and professionalism of the industry,” Mr Liebetrau said.

“Our programme will have four keynote speakers, nine hot topics, four solutions sessions, eight ‘Out of the Ordinary’ workshops, two master classes, soap box and open mic sessions, as well as various case studies. Innovate@saaci the exhibition of the congress has an addition of a ‘busyhub’ where members can negotiate and sign business deals with fellow members. Some down time has also been incorporated for delegates to ‘stop and smell the flowers’,” Mr Liebetrau said.

Innovate@saaci will be the place where delegates can get an experiential education in the newest innovations and technologies, it is a space for demos, asking advice and getting solutions. More than just a standard shell scheme exhibition, innovate@saaci will be a playful, exciting and unintimidating space.

The congress will be held from 5 – 7 June 2016 with pre and post events taking place, the main host venue will be the President Hotel and Conference Centre. The congress kicks off with a traditional South African braai at the Kopano Nokeng Guest Lodge and Conference Centre on Sunday, 5 June followed by a re-connect evening at the Olievenhuise Art Museum. The congress also plays host to an array of awards and on Monday, 6 June delegates will be treated to a Venetian Ball at Ramblers Club.

“It is a key priority of SAACI to showcase Mangaung as a business events destination, we strategically appointed local suppliers and purchased many goods local to ensure we leave a lasting legacy” Mr Liebetrau concluded.

Palesa Rantsworeng, director of President Hotel and Conference Centre, said: “The city of Mangaung has just earned its stripes as a metropolitan city for events. The SAACI Congress will create awareness and help further build the city’s brand. As the brand image strengthens so does awareness, which inevitably leads to increased interest and influx of people in the city which boosts the tourism sector. Tourism is the driving force behind some of SA’s major cities’ economies. It employs one out of every 10 people in South Africa and contributes nine per cent of the GDP. At the end this has a positive ripple effect that will flow into various sectors within and around the city, helping to alleviate issues such as unemployment. As a destination we can just benefit from hosting the SAACI Congress,” she concluded.

For all relevant information on this year’s congress, including registration, programme info as well as various interesting facts and figures, please visit www.saacicongress.org.

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