The South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) was formed in 2012 and has since developed an approach aimed at significantly bolstering the business events sector. Meetings understands more on how the SANCB supports the industry.
In May 2012, the South African Tourism (SAT) board approved the roll-out of a strategy for the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) that would be launched with the aim of growing local MICE opportunities. Recognising the value that business events bring to our economy and aligning to the objectives of government’s National Development Plan 2030, the bureau has worked to fortify the industry by deepening and refining its networks. This has gone a long way towards ensuring sufficient capacity and resources are in place while providing an ideal environment, and platform, in which internationally hosted events in particular can flourish.
“In June this year, the World Ophthalmology Congress will be coming to South Africa’s shores for the first time, bringing with it an expected 10 000 to 15 000 delegates from more than 110 countries. The SANCB has been pivotal in bidding for and securing the event for the country.”
The SANCB has been able to further invigorate the industry through a bidding support programme that, together with its bidding support strategies and promotional activity, is stimulating growth and yielding exciting prospects for South Africa. In June this year, the World Ophthalmology Congress will be coming to South Africa’s shores for the first time, bringing with it an expected 10 000 to 15 000 delegates from more than 110 countries. The SANCB has been pivotal in bidding for and securing the event for the country, as well as in ensuring that the congress is promoted along the right channels, including embarking on a delegate boosting programme in San Francisco, USA, during the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2019 Annual Meeting.
In order to promote South Africa as an international events destination, and in line with its ‘Meet Here, Grow Anywhere’ campaign, the SANCB hosted the ‘Where Great Minds Meet’ panel discussion during IBTM World Africa, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, in November 2019. Originally launched as a four-part digital series that aired on CNBC, ‘Where Great Minds Meet’ features a host of players from various industries, including the tourism sector, and actively demonstrates South Africa’s expertise in various professions, such as hosting world-class events. In a similar vein, the panel showcased the country’s capabilities and just how the SANCB’s approach is shaping its business events industry.
“Looking at the meetings industry in a different light is what will stand the South African MICE industry in good stead moving forward and ‘Where Great Minds Meet’ is a step in that direction. When you are in a continent like Africa and a country like South Africa, you must be innovative in your approach. We have challenges that perhaps other countries don’t face, so for us it was important that we showcase that we are leaders in so many aspects, using a unique way to do so,” said chief convention bureau officer Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo on the panel.
The Meetings Africa platform
Heading into its 15th edition, Meetings Africa’s inaugural show first took place in 2004. The two-day event showcases a diverse range of home-grown African products and services, and is a platform during which associations and meetings industry professionals from across the continent can network and build partnerships.
With the theme of ‘Advancing Africa Together’, the SANCB, under the guidance of SAT, has grown Meetings Africa to where it is today with the show welcoming the attendance of local, African and international delegates, including meeting and event planners, association buyers, and corporate travel executives, among others.
“With 7 706 meetings that took place during Meetings Africa 2019 – a 17% increase from 2018 – Meetings Africa 2020 is looking very promising for exhibitors and attendees alike.”
Meetings Africa BONDay, which serves as an educational and networking day, takes place on 24 February, while the exhibition itself will be held on 25 and 26 February 2020. During the two days over which Meetings Africa takes place, exhibitors have the opportunity to showcase their offerings and meet with more than 400 hosted buyers as well as high-level decision-makers, with an online diary to coordinate business matchmaking. This year, Meetings Africa is ramping up its sustainability efforts by encouraging greener initiatives and driving the Gauteng Tourism Authority’s Gauteng Green Events Guidelines, alongside its hosted Green Stand Awards. In addition, organisers will continue to offer carbon-offsetting initiatives to exhibitors such as planting trees – in 2019, 203 trees were bought by exhibitors and suppliers to support Meetings Africa’s greening initiatives and were planted at schools across Johannesburg and Tshwane. With 7 706 meetings that took place during Meetings Africa 2019 – a 17% increase from 2018 – Meetings Africa 2020 is looking very promising for exhibitors and attendees alike.
THE SANCB’S DELEGATE BOOSTING APPROACH
In 2016, the government granted the SANCB R90 million funding over three years for its bidding support programme. The programme’s five-pronged approach encompasses support for bidding, site inspections, convention planning, on-site event services and delegate boosting. The programme has seen such success that the funding will be renewed for a further three years.
As part of its strategy to ensure sufficient promotion of each event, a portion of the support programme funding is allocated towards delegate boosting packages. These packages include a variety of offerings, including tourism information giveaways, branding, electronic and print marketing material, destination marketing material, and – as part of its Elite Package – VIP gifting, wine and drinks activations, and customised marketing materials.