It feels like only yesterday when we celebrated our tenth year anniversary of Meetings Africa in 2015.  To this end, there is no doubt that in the last ten years Meetings Africa has emerged from humble beginnings to become the African continent’s premier business events trade show. Looking back at the history of Meetings Africa, the initial strategic intention was to showcase South Africa as a business tourism destination. Ten years later, Meetings Africa is recognised as a truly Pan African business events trade show, a platform where Africa can showcase its diverse offering of services and products, and where African associations and African meetings industry professionals can partner to help transform the continent.

The 2016 edition of Meetings Africa is currently taking place from February 22-24 at the Sandton Convention Centre and we are encouraged and excited by the growth that this show has seen since inception. It is through the Meetings Africa platform that we are able to position our country and our continent as real contenders in the global business events industry.

Without a doubt, it is the commitment and passion of our people in the industry that ensure South Africa’s reputation as a capable and infrastructure-rich business events destination is continuously enhanced, conversely propelling the growth of Meetings Africa trade show.

South African Tourism, through the South Africa National Convention Bureau, wishes to once again invite you to participate at Meetings Africa 2016. The SANCB is South Africa’s bid to take advantage of Africa’s huge growth opportunity by growing the nation’s business events industry. The resulting business, trade and intellectual engagement will strengthen South Africa’s global brand and economic transformation. This will be achieved by capitalising on previous success to accelerate growth, through the consolidation of multiple national efforts when bidding for international meetings. An exciting events line-up and high-profile global speakers, as well as other initiatives aimed at not only growing our industry but also ensuring that there is knowledge sharing that will add value to the delegates. Meetings Africa will see industry thought leaders deliberating and mapping out the continent’s business events agenda. Meetings Africa 2016 was preceded by another prestigious event which was hosted for the first time on the continent. The European Cities Marketing (ECM) Academy took place from February 19-21. ECM provides professionals within the MICE Industry an opportunity to develop a network with colleagues and peers while gaining knowledge and skills for a successful career within the meetings industry.  

The first AGM of the African Association Society of Executives took place on February 22. The association was formed at Meetings Africa 2015 and the SANCB encourages the African association fraternity to emulate other such fraternities around the world and rotate meetings on the continent through the hosting of Association Day at Meetings Africa. This is a day exclusively for association executives from around Africa who are invited to participate in Meetings Africa 2016. Association day is specifically designed for executives to gain some insight into the latest brands, network with industry colleagues and form new relationships. The programme is presented in conjunction with the ICCA African Chapter.

Our industry’s ongoing growth and success are only guaranteed when we come together and showcase the variety of the product and services that we offer. This enables us to attract a growing number of quality buyers and media from around the world, which will ultimately increase our chances of hosting significant and impactful meetings and events on our continent and so bolstering our economy.

South Africa continues to lead from the front in continental collaboration and partnerships to grow our industry. This contributes towards growing continental capacity and ultimately spearheading profound transformation in Africa. I look forward to welcoming all of you to Meetings Africa 2016, as we set our sights on another splendid decade ahead.