AFRICA – Africa is moving up the list of destinations international planners are considering for their conferences, with 10% of meetings now held on the continent, according to responses from a new American Express Meeting & Events (M&E) survey.
The study includes results of research exploring the factors which impact the selection of Africa as a meetings and events destination.
Entitled ‘Emerging Africa: Expoloring Meetings on a Changing Continent’, the research highlights how insight into attitude and familiarity with a proposed destination is crucial to consider in designing a successful M&E programme.
While Africa has long been a popular travel destination, it is becoming a global hot spot for business development, with the number of planned hotel openings up 40% in 2015 compared to 2013, according to the American Express M&E 2015 Forecast.
As a greater appetite emerges among the meetings community to convene in Africa, a deeper understanding of the continent and its regions has become increasingly critical for meetings professionals.
Key findings from the study include:
- Nearly 10% of the meetings held by survey respondents in the past two years took place in Africa
- More than half of respondents indicated that interest in Africa as a destination for meetings and events was increasing
- When selecting a destination, meetings planners most value having suppliers they know and trust and the ability to offer viable air transportation options for attendees
- Among those surveyed, 67% considered themselves unfamiliar with the West Africa region. Across Africa’s other regions, North Africa and Southern Africa are the most well-regarded by meetings professionals due to their infrastructures, facilities, technology and safety.
“As global companies expand and look to bring their meetings and events to emerging regions, such as Africa, meetings planners must consider a variety of factors when selecting their meetings destinations,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior vice-president and GM, American Express M&E.
“In looking at Africa specifically, our study provides the meetings and events industry unique insight into the perceptions and familiarity – or lack thereof – of planners with this region. We hope it can serve as a baseline from which the industry can consider opportunities for education and local insight.”
The American Express M&E study was conducted during April 2015 in partnership with Intellective Group, a market analysis and research company.
While the majority of the respondents were European or North American, both Asia Pacific and Central / Southern America meetings professionals were also represented in the respondent base.