2020 didn’t prepare us for the unforeseen outlook on industry events, we could have never imagined that Meetings would not hold for 2 years. When ‘Meetings Africa’ was cancelled last year, we had no idea when in future we would be able to attend the next exhibition forum. Fortunately, the day finally arrived in 2022, and for the African MICE Industry, it couldn’t have come sooner.
Meetings Africa took place on the 1-2 March at the Sandton convention Centre. A total of 161 global buyers and 216 exhibitors from 13 African countries attended the flagship event. It’s is one of Africa’s biggest pan-African business events and is a platform where exhibitors such as hotel groups and tourism associations from across the country and continent can represent their services and meet with potential buyers who are looking to host conferences or meetings in Africa.
With a view to expanding the outlook for the events and tourism sector, the Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu said in an interview, “Opening trade corridors across the continent must also open pathways for intra-African tourism to thrive and vice versa. It is us, the African business events sector that has to be intentional and strategic in ensuring that we leverage this mutual benefit between trade and tourism,” she opined.
Uwin Iwin Incentives was in attendance, and David Sand (CEO) shared his optimism for growth and development in the South African tourism business saying, “It was a joy to attend the Meetings Africa 2022 trade show this week. It was a brave bold move by South African tourism to reboot the industry and a big investment was made to host buyers from around the world. Well done! It was also great to participate in the MICE Master Class as a speaker on the BONday (Business Opportunities Networking Day)”.
He went on to say, “The highlight of the day, was meeting the new Johannesburg Mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse. She is a dynamic new leader, a medical doctor by training, and shaking things up in the tough world of politics. Her commitment to business tourism and turning our loved city around was exceptional.”
Shaunelle Mokwena, Senior Account Manager at Uwin Iwin had this to say: “When my 14-year career in tourism came to an abrupt stop in 2020, I had very little hope that our industry would ever recover again.
Now having secured a new role at Uwin Iwin, I’m left with a more optimistic view and since experiencing the energy and enthusiasm of my fellow industry colleagues at the amazing Meetings Africa event The South African Tourism hosted, I am confident that the excitement is shared by all.
She added “As this was the first major industry event since the start of the pandemic, I felt a sense of nostalgia as I reconnected with familiar faces. We, as the industry players, look forward to the anticipated ease in COVID-19 restrictions and once again welcome the world to South Africa.”
In recent years, the global meetings industry has begun to recognize Africa as a sought-after destination. Meetings Africa was able to showcase Africa’s diverse offering of services and provided a platform where African associations and African meetings industry professionals could forge partnerships that will help transform our continent.
With the world starting to open up, we can continue to put Africa on the map within the global MICE Industry by building and strengthening new relationships as well as showcasing Africa’s unique service offerings.