Struggling to find event space in CT? Try these new options…
12 Jan 2018 - by Liesl Venter
Venues in and around Cape Town are continuously investing in their facilities. Liesl Venter rounds up some of the latest upgrades and updates.
New venues and extended capacity are essential to the growing conferencing industry in the Cape, says Corne Koch, head of the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau.
The bureau, a unit of Wesgro, the province’s official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, secured 2 600 expected delegates in the second quarter of the 2017/18 financial year emanating from four new successful bids.
At the end of 2017 the team was researching some 93 leads while another 13 new bids had been submitted to the value of R134 million.
“New venues add the needed capacity and enable the destination to attract and host more meetings,” says Koch. “Venues built outside the city bowl, for example the Century City Conference Centre, create another hub for hosting business events, and create economic value to that area due to the multiplier effect of tourism.”
Jacques Fouche, chairman of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (Saaci) Western Cape branch, agrees, saying the ongoing investments being seen in the conferencing venue space bode well for the future. “What we need are venues that can accommodate larger numbers of delegates – 500 and more.”
The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)
The CTICC remains one of the Cape’s biggest drawcards and is now fully operational after adding 10 000sqm of multi-purpose space to its already state-of-the-art facility. This, says Fouche, was welcomed across the board in the conferencing and event sector as it allows the facility to host even more delegates, and addresses one of the biggest challenges in the sector.
“We have a lot of venues that can cater for 200 to 400 people, but when the numbers increase to 500 and more we have limited facilities. The CTICC extension speaks to this challenge.”
Known as CTICC 2, the extension became operational late last year and includes multipurpose conference and exhibition space through six halls located across two floors. The facility also includes 3 000sqm of informal and formal meeting space in the form of four larger meeting suites, a terrace room, and five smaller meeting pod rooms. Two modern rooftop decks are also available for post-meeting cocktails. Unlike its original counterpart, the new centre is built across six floors and has more exterior balconies.
The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum for Contemporary Art Africa)
Strictly speaking, this is not a conferencing facility but it is possibly the most remarkable event space in Cape Town at present. The opening of this attraction is very important for the MICE sector at large,” says Koch. “It offers the biggest collection of contemporary art on the continent and provides a unique event space.”
The Aleit Group has been appointed by the museum as the exclusive event operator throughout the facility, which has two specific spaces for events.
The Atrium, at the heart of the museum, connects what were once two separate buildings, the elevator and the grain silos. Cathedral-like, it rises 33m high, carved out of the original silo bins. The venue on floor six is a multifunctional event space that looks out on to the museum’s rooftop sculpture garden. It can accommodate up to 200 guests with a 270-degree view of Cape Town.
StayEasy and Sunsquare Cape Town City Bowl
Tsogo Sun’s newest addition to the Cape Town conferencing space is this venue in the City Bowl with its five meeting rooms that can easily accommodate groups of up to 140 delegates. The versatile rooms are ideal for day conferences, meetings, training sessions, workshops or cocktail events.
This new dual-brand 19-storey hotel development is ideally situated on the corners of Bree, Buitengracht and Strands streets and were constructed at a cost of R700 million. It also offers a total of 504 rooms for delegates staying over.
Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence, Cape Town
According to Marc Descrozaille, area vice president for Africa and the Indian Ocean at the Rezidor Hotel Group, the Cape’s ongoing attraction to visitors is behind its strategy to expand its offerings in the region.
The third Radisson Blu opened its doors last year in Cape Town, just a kilometre from the CTICC, with the goal of taking advantage of the influx of corporate travelers, as Cape Town fast cements its place as one of the world’s leading conference and exhibition capitals. The hotel also offers its own state-of-the-art executive business lounge and a range of modern meeting and conference rooms, all featuring the latest technology and amenities.
Both the Radisson Blu and the long-awaited Radisson Red have increased capacity in the conferencing sector, says Koch.
Not only is it the first Radisson Red in Africa, but the hotel is ideally situated in the V&A Waterfront’s rapidly expanding Silo District.
There are four event studios, (32sqm, 45sqm, 48sqm and 116sqm) with all the latest tech on hand.
According to a spokesman, the design of the studios is aimed at out-of-the-box thinking for business meetings. “Meet, create, socialise, escape – they’re designed for whatever situation you want,” he says.
Graduate School of Business (GSB) at the University of Cape Town
Construction has started on a R130 million state-of-the-art academic conference centre on the GSB campus near the Waterfront. The centre aims to improve the school’s ability to host thought leadership conferences as well as its international visiting delegations.
The facility is being constructed over three levels, including a basement auditorium with capacity for 250 delegates, while the ground and first floor will be a multi-purpose space operating either as independent spaces or opened up as larger areas for bigger groups.
When completed, the centre will be able to hold up to 900 people at any one time. The centre will also be available for outside hire. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year but operations are only expected to commence in 2019.
Protea Hotels by Marriott
According to Danny Bryer, director of sales, marketing and revenue management at Protea Hotels by Marriott and African Pride Hotels, plans are in place for three new hotels for the Cape, all scheduled to open between 2019 and 2021. These venues are expected to add further conferencing and event facilities but exact details are not yet available.