Its been a great year for exhibitions at the Sandton Convention Centre year, with most of its shows in the first six months reflecting an increase in visitor numbers some substantially and exhibitors giving overall positive feedback on the quality of visitors.

About 18 trade shows and exhibitions have been held in the Sandton Convention Centre since January 2012. Says Mati Nyazema, Sandton Convention Centres Executive Director, Were delighted with the results we are achieving. We believe this can be attributed in part to the excellence of the venue and the extensive facilities it offers, together with its ideal location in what is a primary business hub in Gauteng. But also, with the robust experience we have built up over the years, the Sandton Convention Centre team members pride ourselves on our ability to host any type of event. We have worked hard to develop strong relationships with stakeholders, and we fully understand what it takes to run events of any size, says Nyazema.

SA Tourisms Meetings Africa 2012 saw overall attendance at 3452 up by 20 percent on attendance in 2011, which was 2637. Registered international visitor numbers nearly doubled from 106 in 2011 to 205 in 2012. A total of 8906 meetings were requested during the three-day show through the Meetings Africa match-making electronic diary system.

The Africa Rail expo was held at Sandton Convention Centre in June, and recorded double its year on year visitor numbers from 900 in 2011 to 1800 in 2012. Also in June Power & Electricity World Africa 2012 saw visitor numbers increase from 1447 in 2010, 3020 in 2011, to 3876 in 2012. Cards & Payments Africa 2012 visitor numbers increased three-fold from 2011 to 2012 with 309 visitors in 2011 and 933 this year.

Another business-to-business expo, Tyrexpo Africa 2012, a biennial show, also showed a strong increase in visitor numbers from 2 121 in 2010 to 2 652 in March 2012.

Specialised Exhibitions held its annual Markex show at Sandton Convention Centre in June, and was pleased to record an increase in visitor numbers from 9617 in 2011 to 9859 in 2012. According to Gary Corin, Specialised Exhibitions MD, the exhibition is ideally suited to the Sandton Convention Centre venue with its excellent line up of facilities as well as its location in the corporate hub of South Africa, which contributes in no small way to the overall success of the show.

Gary also believes that despite the prodigious increase in communication methods via technology, face to face contact remains core to trading success. Even in tough economic times, in fact, possibly especially in tough economic times, people are keen for networking opportunities where they can share ideas and discuss the industry as well as conduct business. Its encouraging that there will always be a place for exhibitions that are relevant to their markets and are prepared to adapt to changes and developments within the industry.

The Sandton Convention Centre is part of Tsogo Sun, a leader in the hotel, gaming and entertainment industry in Africa.