With Nelson Mandela Bay hosting more business events, the city’s business tourism segment is proving to be stiff competition for other major cities throughout the country.
As part of their strategy to grow this sector even further, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) will be attending the 30th Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) congress to be held in Bloemfontein from 5 to 7 June where the delegation led by Chief Executive Officer, Mandlakazi Skefile will be interacting and networking with industry players.
Business events are able to contribute significantly to the destination to counteract seasonality. Nelson Mandela Bay has world class business facilities and infrastructure to host events and welcome business tourism throughout the year. Furthermore, the business traveller has a greater spend in the city as it is now seen as a lifestyle choice. “Bleisure” tourism which is the combination of business and leisure tourism, reaps greater rewards for a destination as business travellers tend to allow companies to cover the costs of business expenses while the business delegate further spends their own finances on leisure products.
SAACI is the recognised umbrella body of the Conference and Meetings Industry in Southern Africa. In line with the theme “With Knowledge, its possible”, this year’s congress will provide a platform for businesses to acquire the newest innovations, technologies and for industry stakeholders and partners to ask for advice and get solutions to problems relating to business events, which would help their businesses to thrive. A “busy-hub” where members can negotiate and sign business deals with fellow members will also be available.
“The burgeoning business events industry in the province is spurning more investments into a variety of hotels and conferencing facilities across the Eastern Cape and our participation in this conference provides us with an opportunity to explore potential relationships with industry decision makers and also secure opportunities for bringing business events into the city,” said Skefile.
A business event, which is conferencing, combined with leisure activities has become a key developmental area for the National Department of Tourism whose minister, Derek Hanekom who will be delivering the keynote address at the event.
“It is a key priority of NMBT to showcase Nelson Mandela Bay at events such as the SAACI congress as a business events destination and to create awareness around the city,” said Skefile.
“We call on the industry to sit up and take note of how this segment of business tourism can benefit us all. One successful event can lead to another and there is tremendous opportunity to further grow this segment in NMB. The extended stays, return visits, recommendations and publicity for the city collectively play a role in feeding into the whole business community and in turn driving tourism revenue for the city,” she added.
In 2015, South Africa secured 177 international association conferences over the next five years. These will attract over 253 128 professionals over 753 days and have an estimated R3.5 billion in economic impact.
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