Meetings Africa and Tourism Summit opens

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SOUTH AFRICA – The national minister for tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has officially opened Africa’s largest business tourism trade show Meetings Africa 2010 at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg today.

Welcoming national and international media including CMW, hosted buyers and meetings industry colleagues, Van Schalkwyk highlighted the potential events legacy of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, later in the year, to the future growth of South Africa’s business tourism industry.

The annual exhibition is being held from 24 to 26 February alongside the UN World Tourism Organisation and South Africa Summit on Tourism, Sport and Mega-events, which is the first-ever meeting of the tourism ministers of the G20 countries.

Meetings Africa consists of 280 exhibitors, a 12 per cent increase year-on-year, and over 3,000 international and national visitors are expected says the global manager for business tourism at South African Tourism, Nomasonto Ndlovu (pictured). “Meetings Africa 2010 will see a record number of 120 overseas buyers, who will be hosted by South African Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry, and we are also aiming to attract more local corporate visitors to Meetings Africa.

“This year we launched the first-ever Association Day in order to build relationships with national professional bodies so we can continue to attract large international meetings to South Africa in a more effective and coordinated manner,” she adds.

The show is organised by Thebe Exhibitions and Projects on behalf of South African Tourism and its partners the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the Johannesburg Tourism Company and the Sandton Convention Centre.

Business tourism currently represents approximately six percent, or half a million per year, of all foreign arrivals in South Africa.

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