Quality trumps quantity in 2019

The success of Meetings Africa 2019 came down not only to the number of attendees but to the quality of the meetings between suppliers and buyers.

This is according to Andre Turnbull, gm of the Cape Town hotel, Lagoon Beach. He explained that in previous years it could often feel as if attendees were prospecting for accommodation, and comparing it to other products available in competing markets. “We got a lot more people that were focused on what they wanted. They came to Meetings Africa, they had a meeting in mind, they were looking at specifics, they wanted Cape Town, and they were looking for a hotel in Cape Town.”

“This increased interest from buyers is testament to the exponential growth of Africa’s meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry in recent years,” says a statement from South African Tourism. “International buyers are turning to the continent for new and innovative travel packages and they recognise that Meetings Africa is the best place to find them.”

Turnbull added: “We had a really good Meetings Africa. We had between R3m and R4m worth of enquiries, and confirmed one for about R600 000.”

This will be welcome news for the hotel, which saw a downturn in international conferencing and association meetings last year as a result of Cape Town’s water crisis. “People did not want to put extra pressure on the infrastructure, and therefore be a part of making things worse,” he said, adding that in the local market the smaller conferences still went ahead, while for the larger conferences the worry seemed to revolve around delegates and attendees having to queue for water.

Turnbull also stressed that political uncertainty and the weakened rand made some corporates hesitant to spend money, with some putting off their conferences until stability returned.


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