Western Cape welcomes almost R100 million worth secured conference bids for the next five years

Business Insider SA
The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is back.
The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is back.
Brenton Geach/Gallo Images
  • Wesgro's Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau has secured 11 bids in quarter one of the 2022/ 23 financial year.
  • The bids are estimated to contribute almost R100 million to the business events value chain over the next five years.
  • The conferences will span a variety of sectors including agribusiness, aviation, entrepreneurship, environmental, medical, politics, and tourism.
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Conferences at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), and other venues, were a huge money spinner for the Mother City. That was until the Covid-19 pandemic's lockdowns, travel bans, and other restrictions squashed the industry. 

Now the convention sector is recovering, as Wesgro and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, has just announced that they have won bids to host 11 conferences in quarter one of this financial year.

The bids are estimated to contribute almost R100 million over the next five years into the business events value chain.

Amongst the 11 bid wins are prominent large conferences predicted to attract over 1,000 delegates from across the globe. These include the African Agri-Investment Indaba 2022, the Regional Conference for the International Symposium of Blood Transfusion 2023, and the International Epidemiology Congress scheduled to take place in 2024.

The majority of the bids won are within the medical sector, with four medical conferences scheduled to be hosted in the destination between 2022 and 2024. The rest of the secured bids span agribusiness, aviation, entrepreneurship, environmental, politics and the tourism sector, says Wesgro.

READ: Conferences could have brought R1.9bn to Cape during lost pandemic period

News24 reported in 2020 that a survey of the organisers of 126 international association conferences scheduled for Cape Town and the Western Cape during the 2020/21 financial year, 65.9% have been postponed, 15.1% are still to be decided, 7.1% were moved to virtual platforms and 11.9% cancelled.

This is according to a survey conducted in June 2020 by Cape Town and The Western Cape's Convention Bureau – a unit housed within Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency of the province. 

Welcoming the positive signs of recovery for business events, Wesgro CEO Wrenelle Stander, said: "Business events are a vital component of our regional economy. Not only do they result in a positive halo effect for the local hospitality industry, but are catalysts for investment into the province."

Stander adds: "The Western Cape is a place that leads in innovation, technology, sustainability, and excellence, driven by sound research and thought leadership that is testament to the intellectual capital available within the Western Cape."

Read: Western Cape expects spike in US visitors with Delta and United soon flying directly to the Cape

Stander says when comes to hosting conferences, the Cape is ideally suited to these types of events.

"The Western Cape is a destination of choice and provides visitors with so many options, no matter what they are looking for. Which is why Cape Town is the top destination for business events, according to the 2021 ICCA destination performance index," says  said Western Cape Minister of finance and economic opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

Wenger notes that the knock on economic impact of these conferences are not just limited to what happens at a particular venue.

"These business events bring benefits across the entire tourism and hospitality sector, contributing millions to the economy and creating much needed jobs. Which is why we fought so hard for the removal of the Covid-19 restrictions, particularly on travel and event capacity."

Wenger is confident that these 11 bids are sigh of better things to come.

"We are seeing very promising signs not only of recovery but also of a great rebound and we will continue to work closely with and to support Wesgro's efforts to secure many more events that bring in more visitors."

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