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Sharon Peetz (MMC Economic Development at the City of Johannesburg), delivered the official welcome opening address at Meetings Africa 2017 on Tuesday, 28 February at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Joburg Tourism has been part of this annual trade show since 2009.   This is the 12th edition of Meetings Africa – a business to business marketing platform attended by local and international buyers who seek services and products offered by Africa’s MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Congress and Exhibition) industry. It is also attended by global Travel media who work on profiling destinations. It is a trade show at which the continent collaborates to Advancing Africa Together as the world’s premier business events destination.

The gathering is expected to attract over 600 international, local and regional buyers looking for venues to host everything from high-level exhibitions and conferences to small corporate meetings.

Johannesburg Tourism is focused on growing Meetings Africa and securing Johannesburg’s position as the permanent home of Africa’s premier business events trade show. Johannesburg Tourism takes the lead to ensure a growth in the number of international buyers and exhibitors who attend the event in order to increase arrivals and length of stay.

A highlight at this year’s exhibition opening was the announcement by South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, that the business events industry will receive a R110 million boost, due to the new bidding fund approved by the National Treasury.

“The City of Johannesburg continues to go from strength to strength, and in particular our business and leisure tourism industry,” said Cllr Peetz.   “I am extremely positive and believe that this trend is set to continue and that 2017 will be a great year for business events in Johannesburg, South Africa and indeed, the entire African continent.

Some of the growing number of business events confirmed for Johannesburg in 2017 include:

    • Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) – March
    • Meetings of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – June
    • Family Centred Early Intervention (FCEI) Africa Conference June
    • Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Refuse and Recycling (IFAT Africa 2017) -September
    • 16 Frontiers of Electron Microscopy in Materials Science Conference (FEMMS) – September
    • Congress of UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) – November

“Moreover, in line with theme for Meetings Africa of Advancing Africa Together, we believe Johannesburg is well placed to facilitate the sustained drive to unlock the economic potential of the entire continent and ensure that tourism remains a core catalyst to create jobs and reduce unemployment in Johannesburg and South Africa,” concluded Peetz.

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