There are extensive benefits from the development of the MICE industry in South Africa, with the global meetings industry starting to recognise Africa as a sought-after business and events destination.
This is according to the Minister of Tourism, Mmamololo Kubayi-Ngubane, addressing media on Friday at the official launch of Meetings Africa, which takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre from February 24-26.
The Minister added that platforms like Meetings Africa were important for showcasing what Africa’s business event suppliers could offer international MICE groups.
Following Kubayi-Ngubane’s keynote address, a team of panellists highlighted how beneficial encouraging MICE growth in South Africa would be not only for the tourism industry but adjacent and unrelated industries too.
Panellists included SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, Economist Xhanti Payi, Senior Lecturer of Pharmacology at North-West University, Dr Makhotso Lekhooa, and CEO of the Black Business Council, Kgaanki Matabane.
“The tourism industry is one of the ‘low-hanging fruits’ for job creation in the country,” said Matabane, adding that the challenge lay in making all sectors of the economy feel included. “We cannot have inclusive economic growth if the majority of South Africans are excluded from the tourism value chain.”
Ntshona agreed and said inclusion was one of the key roles played by SA Tourism. “A is to provide access and B is to inform and educate.” He emphasised that the MICE market was an opportunity for potential investors to see South Africa, noting that tourism was a gateway to business.