‘United we stand, divided we fall’ so the saying goes’. In the South African meetings industry the fragmentation continues with various member associations overlapping with one another. But we are not alone. From the UK’s annual Summer Eventia held recently, a panel agreed that the UK’s innovation, skill and infrastructure was among the best in the world, but perceptions of price, transportation and hotel availability prove barriers for international buyers.

The current member associations for the South African MICE industry are numerous and appear to overlap with one another in the pursuit of benefits for their members. With an estimated 15000 individuals within the MICE industry- and growing – including the advent of the travel trade seriously entering the organising tasks of their client’s MICE gatherings – no single association can lay claim to representing the industry. In fact even collectively the various member associations – some individual, most company – are unlikely to be a good representation of the industry.

Commented Kim Myhre the managing partner of Brand Experience Group ‘“There is a lot of focus around London and then the other major cities focus on their own area. We do not help ourselves either, as it’s a very fragmented industry and there are a lot of different segments, it does not easily come together in my mind.”

The South African National Convention Bureau are strategising the way forward in order to limit the fragmentation from the information distribution side. This is a bold, brave step and the Academy wishes SATourism a positive way forward which will commence the uniting of the supplier services side of the MICE industry.