The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) will act as the lead association for South Africa’s participation in the newly established BRICS Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions Co-operation Forum.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Forum was established in Xiamen, China during November 2017, following an earlier full BRICS Summit where it was acknowledged that MICE co-operation would significantly benefit and drive the economic and trade agenda in the BRICS bloc.
SAACI CEO Rudi van der Vyver said SAACI’s role in the Forum was in line with its vision as the recognised umbrella body of the business events industry in Southern Africa. “These co-operative forums allow us to build increasingly meaningful global relationships and to be the strategic link for the public and private sector both nationally and internationally”.
Van der Vyver said the association had co-opted Inkanyezi Events CEO Andrew Binning, who attended the inaugural MICE Co-operation Forum in China, to assist as its Project Manager pertaining to the BRICs co-operation. This will ensure a focused and dedicated drive to extract maximum value from this initiative.
“Andrew is a long-standing member of SAACI and as an industry CEO and immediate past president of the Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa, we are confident that SAACI’s role in the new Forum can create tangible benefits for the South African economy and our SAACI members.”
“Chinese companies in particular have an aggressive approach to accessing new markets and will increasingly be making up larger percentages of business tourism to South Africa”, says Binning.
Binning added that a three-year study commissioned by the South African National Convention Bureau estimated total direct spend of business tourists in South Africa at R42.4bn in 2015 and growing.
The Forum is facilitated by the China Cities Association of Convention and Exhibition and the Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Convention and Exhibition Affairs and includes representation of various industry bodies in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
A strategy is currently being formulated to propose various ways in which further co-operation can be strengthened between the BRICS nations, with SAACI’s focus firmly on incubating trade channels for Southern Africa.