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A one-of-a-kind expo which is all about reaching the right market and facilitating face-to-face interaction is returning to Johannesburg in March 2013 at the Sandton Convention Centre – with a few surprises in store. With a solid and trusted 26-year heritage as Southern Africas leading hospitality and catering trade exhibition, Hostex Gauteng is renowned for bringing 11 500 visitors and 200+ exhibitors together in 10 000m2 of exhibition space full of non-stop activities including the SA Chefs Village, Global Pizza Challenge and the Barista Competition.

Experience has shown that when exhibitions offer good value and excellent opportunities for exhibitors to boost their sales prospects, they tend to be successful, even in recessionary times. Were finding that more and more, companies see leading industry exhibitions such as Hostex as an opportunity to create brand awareness and product or service preference through experiential marketing, which goes a long way towards creating a sound connection with customers and potential customers, possibly more so than other more traditional selling methods, says Brad Hook, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions.

Another reason why you just cannot afford not to be part of the show is that when it was last in Johannesburg in 2011, over 80% of the 11 500+ visitors indicated that they either make or influence buying decisions, more proof that Hostex attracts the perfect kind of market for a show of its calibre.

Backed by a range of some of the best known industry associations and organisations, which include the SA Chefs Association (SACA), Bed & Breakfast Association of South Africa (BABASA), Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA), Guest House Accommodation of South Africa (GHASA), National Accommodation Association (NAA), Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA), and Speciality Coffee Association of Southern Africa (SCASA), the 2013 show will also present, for the first time ever, concepts and innovations including the Unilever Food Solutions Hostex Inspirations Conference, offering free-to-attend on the floor educational seminars.

We will also give some of the features and other visitor attractions a facelift in 2013, which will ensure that the events and activities that have become so popular over the years remain fresh and up to date, bringing quality visitors to the show, concludes Hook.