International Congress and Convention Association ranked Cape Town as the top city for hosting international association meetings in Africa. Picture: Pixabay.
International Congress and Convention Association ranked Cape Town as the top city for hosting international association meetings in Africa. Picture: Pixabay.

Cape Town ranked as best destination to have an international meeting in Africa

By Travel Reporter Time of article published May 14, 2020

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Cape Town has once again ranked as the top city for hosting international association meetings in Africa, according to the 2019 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report. 

The city has also climbed five places in the international rankings list moving from number 63 to 58 worldwide. The city hosted 48 meetings in 2019. Stellenbosch also hosted nine international association meetings during this time.

The accolade follows the news that Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau exceeded targets, securing 46 new business events instead of the initial target of 26, which totals an estimated R900-million economic impact into Cape Town and the Western Cape for the 2019/ 2020 Financial Year.

Corne Koch, Head of the South African National Convention Bureau, said Cape Town has hosted 483 international association conferences in the last 10 years.

“It is promising to see our team attracting flagship conferences in these sectors, welcoming top professionals and experts from around the globe. With the restriction of travel due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are continuously encouraging event planners to postpone instead of cancel future planned events. Our industry faces a trying few months, however, tourism is a resilient sector and will no doubt emerge stronger when we can travel for both leisure and business again,” said Koch. 

A highlight for the financial year included the unit securing an estimated R96 million economic impact through a major bid win - the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences - secured for September 2022. The bid, submitted in conjunction with Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa, will attract an estimated 3 000 delegates over five days. 

Another key win for the unit was securing the 28th World Congress of Nuclear Physics for 2022. The congress is expected to attract approximately 1 000 delegates over five days, with an estimated economic impact of R32-million. 

Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said the continued recognition by the ICCA proves that Cape Town truly is a world-class destination for business and conference tourism. 

“While we face challenging times for the sector, we are already seeing great examples of adaptation and innovation and we will continue to work hard to support the sector to open safely and responsibly where possible,” he said. 

Alderman James Vos, Mayco member for Economic Opportunities in the City of Cape Town, said the thousands of delegates that conventions and conferencing bring in to Cape Town also support upstream and linked industries such as food and beverage, accommodation and transportation. 

“As part of my Department’s Place Marketing strategy, we are developing a programme to secure Cape Town’s position as the premier location for conventions and conferences. I am glad that some signs of recovery are starting to show.”

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said Cape Town has been the top-performing city on the African continent in hosting the most amount of international association meetings for the past 11 years. 

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