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Thursday May 10, 2012

Cape Town becoming major player on global conference circuit

Cape Town is fast establishing itself as a major hub on the international conference circuit, with the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) alone now contributing R2.7bn a year to the national economy.

The CTICC contributed the massive figure in the 2010/11 financial year, a whopping R400 million increase on the R2.3bn it contributed in 2009/10.

Since opening in 2003, the CTICC has contributed R16.8bn to the GDP and is expected to put in another R18.1bn over the next five years.

Dirk Elzinga, Cape chairman of Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), said the conference and meeting industry had become extremely important for Cape Town, adding: "The city is the most important international conference destination in Africa, but also the number of national conferences and meetings in the city is substantial. "There are several dedicated conference and meeting venues in the city next to the CTICC and practically all medium to large hotels have their own meeting facilities. The number of meetings per year in the city must be several thousand and the numbers of delegates tens of thousands."

The meeting industry is particularly important for the hotel sector because meetings also take place in the off-season periods andhelp hotel operators get through the slow winter months.

"Cape Town increased its capacity in the past three years substantially (through new hotels for the World Cup in 2010), and supply creates demand. Meetings are to a certain extent also anti-cyclical. In other

The CTICC is undergoing a R700 million expansion that will make the centre almost double in size. It will include 10 000m2 of retail space, a hospital, a hotel and an office tower.

The CTICC had received 688 bookings for events until 2018 and had to turn down other bookings and offers because the venue was not big enough.

In the 2010/11 financial year, the CTICC hosted 501 events - many of them international - which created 7 870 direct and indirect jobs nationally. In the previous year there were 553 events, which generated 7 080 jobs.

For the 2013 ICCA Sector Venues International Client/supplier Business Workshop, the CTICC competed against Switzerland, Spain and Portugal.

Other international bids won by the CTICC include: IEEE'S Combined Industry Applications/industrial Electronics/power Electronics Societies 2013; ICTD (Information and Communication Technology Development Conference) next year; International Conference of Infectious Diseases in 2014; EUSEC 2014 (9th European Systems Engineering Conference) in October 2014, and the IFED World Congress of the International Federation of Esthetic Dentistry in 2015. words: in a time of economic trouble there is a great need to talk about how to address the challenges."

About 100 hotels and smaller accommodation establishments in Cape Town also run conference centres, said Elzinga.

In a recent bid, the CTICC won the 2013 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Sector Venues International Client/supplier Business Workshop. This raises the total number of international conferences won by the CTICCTO eight since January this year.

Joey Pather, chief operating officer for the CTICC, said the combined economic impact of these events was in the region of R41m and would lead to the creation of more than 700 direct and indirect jobs in SA.

Cape Argus

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