Meetings Africa 2010 reports 12.5% increase in exhibitors

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South African Tourism is pleased with the results of the recent Meetings Africa exhibition held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg in February. It is now an established business tourism exhibition on the international calendar.

Meetings Africa 2010 generated 2 216 scheduled business appointments from 365 online diaries, with both exhibitors and visitors reporting that the exhibition had been taken to new heights.

A total of 272 exhibitors (up 12.5% from 2009) marketed their products and services, including conference and event venues and services and incentive travel destinations. Some 1894 local and international visitors attended, of whom 123 were international buyers hosted by South African Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry. A record number of 81 media representatives attended the event.

Nomasonto Ndlovu, global manager of business tourism at South African Tourism says Meetings Africa is now the key driver of the organisation's business tourism growth strategy.

She adds: "I have no doubt whatsoever that it will continue to grow, as there is definitely greater synergy between our marketing efforts and the needs of the private sector than ever before."

Meetings Africa placed more emphasis on the association market this year, with the hosting of the first-ever special association day. This allowed local associations that aim to attract international events and the inclusion of more association buyers in the hosted buyer group.

Exhibitors had positive feedback, saying South African Tourism managed to get the right mix of international buyers at the expo this year.

Bronwen Cadle, marketing and sales manager at the CSIR International Convention Centre, says: "We hope to see it grow to compete with similar international shows. There has been a huge improvement in the quality of buyers. They all kept their appointments with us and there were lots of good business leads to work with."

Brian McDonald, deputy chairman of Global Conferences Africa also reports real business conducted during the event: "The quality of especially the association buyers was fantastic. It was most definitely worth our while to be at Meetings Africa this year."

Hosted buyers reported that the products on show at Meetings Africa were of a top-class, international standard.

Ben Gosman of Free Style Events and Promotion in the Netherlands reports: "In fact, I was so impressed that I changed my mind - I was going to take an incentive group to another destination, but now I am bringing them to South Africa in September."

Next year's event, Meetings Africa 2011, will once again be held by South African Tourism and its partners the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the Johannesburg Tourism Company and the Sandton Convention Centre. It will take place from 23 to 25 February 2011.

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