The Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) is promoting face-to-face skills training and is eager to help with product development to “re-ignite” and grow Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) business across the province.
GTA’s Destination Marketing Head, Barba Gaoganediwe, said the revival of the MICE industry would mean millions of rand for the province’s economy and thousands of new jobs.
Speaking on the eve of Meetings Africa 2022, which returned to Johannesburg this week (the show is on at the Sandton Convention Centre from February 28-March 2, 2022) Gaoganediwe said the GTA was also actively looking for opportunities for small businesses and meetings suppliers based in Gauteng’s outlying areas and, especially, in its townships.
He said the meetings sector was starting to show good signs of recovery since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and that “it could open even more if we can all adhere to safe protocols”. However, he said tour operators and tourism start-ups were still struggling with limited access to funding and low awareness of opportunities in large-scale events.
Targeted training was being offered to try to support new businesses, he said. A dedicated events calendar will make those opportunities easier for businesses to track.
The GTA is excited about a Business Tourism & MICE Masterclass event at Meetings Africa this year. The content will focus on developing MICE business from other African source markets and especially from large corporations across the continent.
Other highlights from Meetings Africa 2022 include a Sustainability Village, and delegates have been encouraged to support the participating local entrepreneurs.
GTA would also be targeting more incentive business from national government departments this year, Gaoganediwe told Travel News. He was also adamant that business events were a catalyst for the recovery of the South African economy. “Meetings Africa sends a message. It’s about advancing Africa together by creating opportunities for African businesses.”
The theme of this year’s Meeting Africa event is ‘Shared Minds, Shared Economies’.
Organisers said they expected close to 1 000 exhibitors, buyers and delegates from around the world over the three days.