The Western Cape’s Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer, has applauded the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) for yet another successful year, following its Annual General Meeting which was held on Tuesday morning (December 11).

The convention centre has grown revenue by 14.2% and increased the number of events held from 482 in the previous year to 525 in 2018.

Schäfer said: “The CTICC made a R3.1 billion (€189m) contribution to the Western Cape economy in the 2017/18 year and created 8 553 direct and indirect jobs. It has also played an important role in the development of small business in the province. In the 15 years that the convention centre has been operating, it has procured over R1 billion (€61m) worth of goods and services from small, medium and micro enterprises and, currently, 40% of its supplier based is made up of women-owned enterprises.”

The CTICC opened its expanded CTICC 2 earlier this year and, as a result, has managed to secure the biggest conference to ever be hosted in Cape Town – the World Ophthalmology Conference, which will host 15 000 delegates in the city in 2020.

“The investment in the CTICC’s expansion is already starting to pay off, as the centre secures more and bigger conferences, highlighting the important role of infrastructure-led economic growth in our province. The CTICC is jointly owned by the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and the business sector and its development and expansion is an important economic catalyst in the province,” added Schäfer.

A total of 454 338 people attended the 525 events hosted at the CTICC this year, which included 32 international conferences attracting 35 960 delegates and 35 national conferences which attracted 15 106 delegates. It hosted 121 special events attended by 132 854 people, and 11 exhibitions that saw 179 523 passing through its doors.

“The business tourism sector is an important niche market for the development and growth of tourism in our province. The CTICC was responsible for generating an additional 640 666 room-nights during the 2017/18 year and contributed R681 million (€41.6m) in foreign exchange earnings,” said Schäfer.

Kwakye Donkor, CEO of Africa Tourism Partners (ATP), said when it came to business tourism, the socio-economic impacts were higher as delegates tended to have extra money to spend. “It also contributes hugely to knowledge sharing, opportunity for foreign direct investment, destination brand building and more.”

Schäfer went on to say that Cape Town had recently been named the world’s best festival and events destination, and the CTICC, which has played host to iconic events such as the International Jazz Festival, major consumer and trade shows, exhibitions, and some of the world’s leading conferences, had played an important role in the region being able to claim such a title.

According to Donkor, the Western Cape ticked all the boxes in terms of being a global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination, with its quality infrastructure, its pre- and post-MICE activities, proactive and effective stakeholders, quality and standard of its accommodation offerings, transport, ambience, unique experiences, heritage and leisure, as well as attractions. “The sky is the limit given the diverse nature of the province’s MICE tourism offering and general leisure tourist attractions,” he said.

“I applaud all of those at the CTICC, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Wesgro and in the tourism sector, who have worked so hard over the past year to ensure that the convention centre remains one of the premium convention and events destinations in the world, and that its success translates into opportunities for the people of the Western Cape,” concluded Schäfer.