The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) 2020 congress is to be hosted in Johannesburg, from July 26-28.

‘Welcome the unknown’ is the theme for this annual event as 2020 will be a year of change for the event.

“This year’s theme encapsulates the current business environment and the approach we should take in business at the start of the new decade,” said SAACI Chairperson, Kim Roberts. She added that it could no longer be business as usual and that the SAACI congress programme had been designed to give the industry “real, practical take-home value”.

The congress has been divided into different studios, including audience acquisition and engagement, the business of events, event strategy and design, innovation, leadership and lifestyle –each reflecting current-day thinking and trends.

The congress will be hosted at two venues; the Indaba Hotel and The Canvas. Director of Tourism at the City of Johannesburg, Thandubuhle Mgudlwa said the city had a strategic focus on the business events industry and working with private-sector partners such as SAACI. “Hosting SAACI’s annual congress this year will definitely contribute to promoting the city as a business events destination,” he said.

Confirmed speakers for the event include well-known South African cyclist, Nicholas Dlamini, CEO of Sky Tents SA, Isaac Mbatha, and CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency, Nomasonto Ndlovu.

“Speakers and topics have been chosen to help shift parameters and mind-sets for the congress to truly be a milestone in the professional development of delegates,” said Chairperson of the Congress Organising Committee, John Arvanitakis.

Registration has opened and, in another event first, members can opt to pay off the fee over a period of time rather than once off.