Tourism KZN to lobby for more conferences at Meetings Africa

Tourism KZN to lobby for more conferences at Meetings Africa

The new drive by KwaZulu Natal to go after more meetings and incentive tourism is good news for South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom who has been working tirelessly to consolidate the country’s tourism industry. Cultural festivals, meetings, and incentives remain very important niche markets for tourism, and KwaZulu Natal is on the right track for South Africa and its tourism industry.

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KwaZulu Natal, represented by the Durban KZN Convention Bureau (KZN CB), is preparing to take part in Meetings Africa 2019 to continue positioning the region as a premier business tourism destination.

Meetings Africa is an annual trade show showcasing Africa’s diverse offerings of services and products, a place where associations and meeting industry experts join forces to uplift and transform Africa’s business events sector, while Durban KZN CB is a special division of Tourism KwaZulu Natal (TKZN).

“It is hoped that the robust discussions that will take place will lead to more international meetings and major conferences being held in KZN,” said TKZN in a statement.

According to TKZN, business tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry, contributing R115 billion (€7.2bn) to the country’s GDP, while creating 252,000 direct and indirect jobs. This industry contributes R3bn (€187m) annually to KZN, sustaining almost 24,000 jobs.

Meetings Africa 2019 will take place in Sandton, Gauteng, from February 26 to 27, with BONDay taking place on February 25, allowing exhibitors and buyers to network and attend a variety of educational programs.

The event, says TKZN, is the ideal business platform to present products, services, and brands to senior decision-makers, buyers, and influencers. There is also an opportunity for the KZN delegation to meet local and international professionals from the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) sector.

International buyers from 35 countries will be in attendance, allowing Durban KZN CB to engage in face-to-face meetings with 4,000 highly-qualified hosted buyers, and network with industry leaders across multiple sectors.

“We are hoping to convince these incentive business buyers and top decision-makers to bring their next international conferences and meetings to KZN. Our previous engagements at such important platforms have proved successful, resulting in KZN hosting such major global conferences as the World Aids Conference, which we have hosted twice,” explained Phindile Makwakwa, TKZN acting CEO.

The Durban KZN CB delegation will also be taking along two local SMMEs, namely, Progressor SA and Maphise Holdings.

The SMMEs are being supported by Durban KZN CB to provide them with an opportunity to gain insights into the business tourism sector and to be exposed to a wide range of stakeholders while promoting their businesses.

Trade partners sharing the KZN exhibition stand include uShaka Marine World, Greyville Convention Centre, Msinsi Resorts and Game Reserves, Olive Convention Centre, Okhahlamba Drakensberg Tourism, Maphise Holdings, Progressor SA, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and Aqua Group Tours.

After the show, the convention bureau will host several key international buyers in KZN for three different tours.

The tours will cover Durban, the South Coast, the North Coast, Elephant Coast, and the Midlands, giving the convention bureau a chance to showcase the various destinations and products available.

Durban KZN CB will also remind delegates and international visitors at Meetings Africa 2019 that Durban and KZN will be hosting the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) meetings program at the Durban International Convention Centre from June 18 to 20.