Cape Town was once again crowned as the number one city in Africa for business tourism events by the International Congress and Convention Association (Icca).
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.
Cape Town climbed 15 places to be ranked in the Top 40 destinations for business tourism in the world.
This was the fourth consecutive year the city has won the award ahead of others such as Johannesburg, Marrakech and Nairobi, largely due to conference bids secured by the Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, a strategic division of Wesgro.
Wesgro CEO Tim Harris said in today’s competitive business events environment, retaining the number one spot is a concerted effort between stakeholders and partners within the industry.
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said this is encouraging, but the City will now work even harder to leverage off the events to get into the top 10 business tourism cities in the world.
"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," said de Lille said.
"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."
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 R8m.
"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," said De Lille.
"The events and conferencing sector is a key part of our economy and major job creator and its value cannot be underestimated."
The City has also launched the Invest Cape Town initiative to strengthen its standing as a business destination.
"We are determined to change the perception that Cape Town is only a top leisure tourism destination. We are the ideal place for the world to meet to talk business," said De Lille.