Cape Town named top city in Africa for business tourism


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is delighted by the latest rankings released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) which once again placed Cape Town as the number one city in Africa for business tourism events.

The city made a positive leap of 15 places to be ranked in the Top 40 destinations for business tourism in the world, on its previous performance. 

Cape Town was followed by Marrakech, Kigali, Durban and Joburg as the top five African cities in the 2016 Business Tourism events performance list. 

While South Africa is the top country overall in Africa for events hosted, it failed to make the top 10 world-wide list of top destinations for business travel.  

Top cities for events hosted in 2016 overall, saw Paris, clinched the top spot, followed by Vienna, Barcelona and Berlin in second, third and fourth position, as London rounded off the top five. 

The top 10 country rankings are made up of the same countries as last year, with some minor shift and one newcomer, Portugal, in a shared tenth place. The US was in top spot, followed by Germany and then the United Kingdom. 

ICCA evaluated 12 212 rotating international association meetings which took place in 2016. The organisation represents the main specialists in organising, transporting, and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises over 1 000 member companies and organisations in almost 100 countries worldwide.

SEE: SA named best in Africa for business tourism events

In a statement issued by the city on Wednesday 10 May, Executive Mayor Patricia De Lille says, "Cape Town has year-on-year been confirmed as the events capital of Africa and the latest rankings are further proof that our efforts to become the business events capital on the continent are paying off".

"Cape Town boasts a diverse annual events calendar and we provide City funding to make sure we bring events that position Cape Town globally as a competitive business destination," says De Lille.

ALSO SEE: Study reveals: Cape Town among the best cities in the world for millennials

Some of the key gatherings hosted and supported by the City in 2016 include the South African Innovation Summit, the Mining Indaba, the Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation International Conference and the World Energy Cities Partnership Annual General Meeting.

Total funding to all major business events amounted to approximately R8 million.

SEE: #TourismForAll: 4 Boosts planned for SA's tourism growth

And while most business travellers can't seem to get enough of Table Mountain other major attractions in the city, they often return for work. The events and conferencing sector is a key part of our economy and major job creator, with its value largely underestimated.

The National Department' s Portfolio Committee on Tourism is also strongly focused on President Jacob Zuma's call at the State of Nation Address for radical economic transformation to ensure inclusive growth and the need to contribute to the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment in South Africa.

SEE: Alarming 10+m drop in domestic tourism over three years: Why and where to from here?

Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa, speaking during the department's Annual Performance Plan (APP) and Budget in Parliament on 3 and 5 May, also emphasised that while the overall economy has witnessed a slowdown, the tourism growth trajectory has been on the rise with regard to tourist arrivals, employment, GDP and tourism spend.

Events and conferencing sector a key part of our economy

"Since 2012, it has been part of our Economic Growth Strategy to build the city’s reputation as a place that is open for businesses by creating an enabling environment for economic growth and to create much needed jobs for the people of our city," adds De Lille. 

The City has also launched the Invest Cape Town initiative to further strengthen its standing as a leading business destination, with the aim of enhancing the perception that Cape Town is only a top leisure tourism destination.

'Ideal place for the world to meet to talk business' 

"Our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan will take our city to the next level as we push our ambitions even more to position Cape Town as a globally competitive business city," say De Lille.

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