Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato said this news confirms why Cape Town was this month awarded the title of “World's Leading Festival and Events Destination" at the 2018 World Travel Awards. Photo: Zukiswa Minyi/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, part of the tourism unit at Wesgro, has managed to secure business events to the value of R1 billion – surpassing their annual upper band target of R260 million – in the first 6 months of the 2018/19 Financial year.

Securing 24 bids expected to attract 32 080 delegates, the meetings secured are scheduled to take place mostly in the traditional low season of the province between May and September.

“This is an exceptional achievement as we emerge out of a challenging year. These results further highlight our resilience as a province. The more meetings we host in the destintion, the more opportunity we have to grow and build on our local knowledge economy,” commented Wesgro chief executive, Tim Harris.

Notable wins for the unit include the team securing their first exhibition bid by landing the  Agricultural Technology Exhibition and Conference (Agritech 2020) scheduled to take  place in June 2020. With an estimated 800 international exhibitors and delegates expected to attend the event, the exhibition aligns to the provincial  economic stimulus strategy know as project Project Khulisa - which has identified  Agri Processing as a priority sector.

Recent medical wins include the International Astronomy Union of General Assembly, the International Hepato Pancreato Binary Association World Congress and the International Association for Peadiatric Dentistry.

Of particular interest in the upcoming months is the Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) Edge and Global Leadership Conference (GLC). Expected to attract 3 000 of the top CEO's in the world to the Mother City, the event creates opportunities for the province to expose the many opportunities in investment and trade in the Cape. 

Grant Thornton research

According to research by Grant Thornton conducted in 2015 and 2016, the exhibition industry contributes R66,5 billion to South Africa’s GDP, contributing R3 billion to national taxes and 135 100 sustainable jobs. In addition during this period, trade exhibitions generated a total spend of R4 950  086, with the day visitor spending an average of R1 972 and the non-local day visitor, R1 505.

Reflecting on the past six months, Wesgro’s Head of the Convention Bureau, Corne Koch,  pointed out: “One of the goals of our unit is to drive meetings into the regions outside of Cape Town and the Western Cape. It has been promising to see  an uptake in the use of different and unique venues in different  regions.”

MEC, Beverly Schäfer, commented: "This is an exceptional achievement by the  Convention Bureau, which will make a contribution towards growing our tourism economy, bringing thousands of visitors to our province in the traditional low season. By developing and growing our business tourism and conferencing sector,  we will be able to create new jobs and showcase the province to attending delegates.  We look forward to welcoming all these delegates to our  province."

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato said: “This fantastic news just confirms why Cape Town was this month deservedly awarded the title of “World's Leading Festival and Events  Destination" at the 2018 World Travel Awards. Even through challenging  times Cape Town remains open for business, and I’m pleased to see the results  of our efforts and the hard work of our partners pay off, because with every  big convention or event that is hosted in the City of Cape Town we see ongoing  job creation and skills development opportunities being provided for our  communities.”

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