Government Targets More Conventions

South Africa, through its planned new National Conventions Bureau, is aiming for a 50% increase in the number of international meetings hosted in the country by 2020.

The draft South African Tourism Bill, published for comment by the Department of Tourism last month, proposes the establishment of a National Conventions Bureau to co-ordinate the country’s bidding for international meetings.

South Africa hosted 90 international meetings in 2010 out of more than 6 000 that took place around the world and is currently ranked 34th in the world by the International Congress and Convention Association.

“Over the next five years, more than 200 confirmed international meetings and conferences will take place in the country, attracting more than 300000 delegates.,”

Briefing Parliament’s tourism committee on plans for the new bureau on Tuesday, South African Tourism acting CEO Tim Scholtz said South Africa’s potential as a host of big events was “underexploited”.

“The imminent establishment of the National Conventions Bureau will further consolidate and co-ordinate, improving our capability and capacity to bid for even more business-tourism related events,” Business Day quoted Scholtz as saying.

The bureau will be a business unit of South African Tourism, and is expected to start operating by as early as October 2012.