Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau has described a successful bid to host the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) World Congress in South Africa in 2015 as an accomplishment and pride to the city’s residents.

The successful bid was achieved following a combined bidding effort by Joburg Convention Bureau, the Gauteng Convention Bureau and the South African National Convention Bureau.

“Hosting the public relations practitioners, who are gurus of reputational standards of corporations, organisations and destinations is a great honour,” says Councilor Tau.

“It simply endorses our assertions that Johannesburg is a well-developed destination of choice for investment, commerce and tourism in the global community. One such opportunity came to fruition earlier this year when we jointly announced with current New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who is also Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), that the C40 Summit will be hosted in Johannesburg in February 2014.”

“Following a successful run of hosting some really high profile events in 2013 – including the Metropolis Congress in May, as well as the One Young World Summit in October, as well as the World Anti-doping Agency Conference in November  – we’re thrilled to have secured the bid for IPRA 2015,” says Pumla Ntsele, Joburg Convention Bureau Manager. “We believe that our worldwide connections, along with our excellent facilities will ensure that the IPRA 2015 Congress is one of the most memorable for delegates and visitors.”

Commenting about the hosting of the event after the announcement, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, who is the South African National Convention’s Executive Manager said: “International association conferences hosted in South Africa do not only bring economic injection to our country, but also build our knowledge economy. IPRA creates a massive opportunity for South Africa to be profiled internationally as a world class convention destination.”

Nonnie Kubeka of the Gauteng Convention & Events Bureau also acknowledged that effective collaboration between industry players makes for a more impactful outcome. “Our joint marketing and sales efforts are starting to bear fruit in the convention industry – we’re both excited and humbled by the opportunity to host this conference,” says Kubeka.

The Sandton Convention Centre’s Executive Director Mati Nyazema said they are thrilled to provide a platform for the first IPRA Congress on the African continent. “This congress will bring together some of the greatest minds in the public relations industry to ignite passion and share best practices,” she said.  “The convention centre offers a variety of rooms which can be transformed for the myriad of events needed for such a congress, while the Sandton node allows for ease of access to accommodation and entertainment for all delegates.”

IPRA was established in 1955 and will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2015, an important milestone for the premier international association that serves individual public relations practitioners, with members in more than eighty countries.

IPRA is a voluntary organisation with a worldwide virtual network of more than 4 500 members and a small secretariat based in London and led by IPRA Chief Executive, Jim Holt.

IPRA 2013 President, Christophe Ginisty commented: “We were pleased to award our 2015 Congress to Johannesburg, as we saw their enthusiasm and ability to host this important event as a critical selection criteria for IPRA.”

IPRA is the principal source for Codes of Conduct governing public relations across the globe and other host cities in the recent past have included  Chicago, Istanbul, Beijing and Lima, with the last being  Dubai.

The congress is due to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, with the expected number of delegates to be in the region of 500 – perhaps more – from all over the world. The date has been finalised for 27 – 29 September 2015.

The South African organisations that are involved with this project are The Council for Communication Management (CCM), The Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), The Department of Communication (DoC), South African Airways (SAA), South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB), Gauteng Convention Bureau and the Johannesburg Convention Bureau.

PRISA will be running its annual national conference as part of the IPRA World Congress. PRISA has enjoyed a long relationship with IPRA and its local South African members.

Further announcements regarding content and international speakers are expected from IPRA during the course of the next few months.

Johanna McDowell, IPRA President 2012 and now Congress Chairman for the 2015 World Congress commented: “It has been wonderful to have the support of South Africa and all of the local organisations in order to host this congress.  Without the support of PRISA and CCM, IPRA would not have been able to move forward with this bid.”