Joburg prepares to host 21st World Orchid Conference & Show Spectacle

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With a month to go before the 21st World Orchid Conference [WOC] & Show opens at the Sandton Convention Centre, the Joburg Convention Bureau is working alongside its stakeholders to ensure an extraord

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With a month to go before the 21st World Orchid Conference [WOC] & Show opens at the Sandton Convention Centre, the Joburg Convention Bureau is working alongside its stakeholders to ensure an extraordinary experience for delegates and show-goers.

A World Orchid Conference & Exhibition is one of the most prestigious and spectacular events on the global calendar for botanists and orchid enthusiasts and a welcome addition to the city’s diverse event line up during Tourism Month.

This coveted international event, the 21st WOC, was bid for by a group of South African orchid enthusiasts and won in partnership with the Joburg Convention Bureau three years ago in Singapore. This is the second time that South Africa is hosting a World Orchid Conference, as the 10th WOC was hosted in Durban in 1981. South Africa is one of only three countries to have the privilege of hosting a World Orchid Conference more than once.

“Dubbed the “Orchid Olympics”, this promises to be one of the most extraordinary botanical events and floral extravaganzas ever held in South Africa, and we encourage the public to attend,” says Anthony Grohovaz, who has led the initiative to bring the WOC back to South Africa and win the bid for Johannesburg.

“A World Orchid Show is one of the biggest flower shows held anywhere in the world – and comparatively bigger than the famous Chelsea Gardens Show held annually in the UK,” says Pumla Ntsele, Deputy Director of Joburg Tourism’s Convention Bureau. The exhibition is open to the public and tickets can be purchased online from Special discounts for school groups, clubs and retirement homes are also available via the website.

A show of this size traditionally requires an exhibit space for plants and flowers in excess of 10 000 square meters – about two soccer fields – and is generally attended by 100 000 (one hundred thousand) local visitors. There are many financial and marketing benefits to a country hosting such an event, given that such shows often have 500 – 1000 international registrants who generally stay 14 – 19 days in total.

It has become a tradition for the many orchid enthusiasts who meet at this event every three years to take the opportunity for pre- and-post tours. This has an additional spin-off for the country concerned as these registrants are generally well off and spend significant money during their stay. This multi-faceted plant and flower event is organized and staged on a non-profit, not for gain basis, with all surplus proceeds to benefit South Africa’s endangered biodiversity.

Running concurrently with the World Orchid Conference & Show, the following major events will also be presented at the Sandton Convention Centre:

1. 2014 National Cycad Display
2. 2014 South African National Biodiversity Institute Display
3. 2014 Protea and Fynbos Display
4. 21st World Orchid Conference Photographic Competition
5. 21st World Orchid Conference Botanical Art Competition
6. 2014 National Floral Art Competition
7. 2014 National South African Cake Decorators Guild Competition
8. 21st World Orchid Conference RSA Date Stamp
9. WOC21 – WOSA Wetland Display
10. Aloe, Succulent and Model Train Display
11. South African Ikebana Display
12. 21st World Orchid Conference Guinness Book of Records Attempt

The World Orchid International Botanical Art Competition

The World Orchid International Botanical Art Competition has attracted well over 100 entries with international competitors from Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Two of the artists will be travelling to South Africa in September for the 21st WOC & Show.

This competition has been organized and curated by Gillian Condy, of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, herself a world recognized botanical artist. This effort shows the vast range of interests at play with orchids as their theme.

All the art will be on view at the SCC from September 10-14 with many of the works for sale, with a benefit to the 21st WOC TRUST.
Participating artists include:

• Mary Dillon (Ireland)
• Chan Yoke Heng (Malaysia)
• Esmée Somers-Winkel (ether-lands)
• Deborah Lambkin (UK)
• Sue Wickison (New Zealand)
• Beverley Anne Allen (Australia)
• Margaret Best (Canada)
• Asisa Madian (Germany)
• Sue Williams (UK)


The show will be open to media exclusively on the morning of September 10 (0900 – 1200 hours) and are requested to advise the organizers if they would like to attend, so that entrance tickets can be arranged. For more information and ticket sales, information regarding group discounts (for schools, clubs, retirement villages), please visit or contact Catharina Wilfinger on email: [email protected]

Joburg Tourism is a member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.