Cape Town has been named the best business tourism destination on the African continent once again, a ranking produced by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) revealed.
The Mother City is now considered the 39th best business tourism hub in the world, having improved last year’s ranking by 15 spots.
The Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, part of Wesgro, is the major entity trusted to promote the Western Cape province and Cape Town in particular, among meeting, incentive, conference and event planners as a premier business tourism destination.
In the last financial year, the Bureau secured 33 new bids with an estimated attendance of 28,000 delegates and an estimated economic impact of around $31.7 million, while conferences over the past six years have had an estimated economic impact of more than $112 million, according to BizCommunity.
For this reason, these international association meetings have been and continue to be a fundamental economic contributor and job creator for South Africa.
With the number of international association meetings doubling every decade, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) report, Cape Town’s continued growth on the list shows the importance of Africa and South Africa in particular for business tourism.
With 62 international association meetings held in Cape Town during 2016, and a further 12 in nearby Stellenbosch – which would not count towards Cape Town’s tally, the country’s legislative capital compares favorably with other destinations in the top 40.
Paris was ranked first for 2016, with 196 international association meetings hosted in the French capital, while Rome at 20th on the ranking held 96 international conferences, a mere 34 more than Cape Town.
The international association meetings held in Cape Town were primarily focused on subjects related to medical sciences, education and the technology sector, bringing experts, investment and business opportunities to South African and African shores by way of the Cape.
As the best African convention destination for a fourth consecutive year, Cape Town placed on the list ahead of other potential candidates in Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Marrakech
Reacting to the news of Cape Town’s growth in the list and continued dominance from an African perspective, Western Cape economic opportunities minister, Alan Winde said that the city and province would continue to build on their ranking as they appreciate the benefits that being a top business destination provides for the region.
“Being ranked as Africa’s top business tourism destination is excellent news for our region. The expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre is also set to double the center’s existing exhibition capacity and we will see an increase in the number and size of conferences, resulting in more business travelers to our region,” Winde explained, according to Wesgro.
“Through the Cape Town Air Access initiative, we are also making it easier for tourists to reach us. We know conferences have a significant economic impact, driving growth and creating jobs for residents. Business tourists have the potential to become leisure tourists, traders and investors into our region,” he added.
Research suggests that association meetings which are held regularly have hundreds if not thousands of delegates in attendance from around the world, providing a great opportunity to showcase a particular country or city to potential global investors, according to AssociationNow.