Meetings Africa unveils 2016 speakers

Meetings Africa, the premier business events trade show hosted annually by South African Tourism, has, this year, attracted the best minds in the global business events industry for its eleventh edition due to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from the 22nd to the 24th February.  With a bevy of global business events experts and top-calibre international speakers ready to share valuable insights into global best practises and trends, Meetings Africa 2016 is  gearing up for its most prestigious edition yet and is set to be of immense value to all attendees and to the overall growth of this tourism sector.

The business events industry cuts across the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sectors. Positioned as, Advancing Africa Together, Meetings Africa is the perfect platform hosted by the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), a unit of South African Tourism. The trade show is designed to contribute to the growth of Africa’s potential as the world’s fastest growing and most sought-after business events destination.

“The business events industry is a great driver of economic development and South Africa’s business events strategy is focused on building and accelerating its knowledge. South Africa is leading from the front in continental collaboration and partnerships to grow our own industry and contribute towards growing continental capacity and ultimately spearhead profound transformation in Africa,” says Acting Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism, Ms Sthembiso Dlamini.

The SANCB has over the past few years, increased and continued its investment in utilising Meetings Africa as a strategic vehicle to unearth opportunities for the country and the rest of the continent.

Meetings Africa Press Launch 2016

Acting Chief Executive Officer at South African Tourism, Ms Sthembiso Dlamini (left) & Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer at the SANCB (right).

A new and exciting element at this year’s Meetings Africa is the addition of the European Cities Market (ECM) Summer School scheduled to take place just ahead of Meetings Africa from the 19th to the 21st of February. Keenly anticipated, this will be the first time that this initiative happens in South Africa. Usually hosted only in Europe, the Summer School in Johannesburg is a tailor-made course for partner organisations in the business events industry such as convention bureaux, hotels, DMC’s and convention centres. It will cover topics and subjects aimed at improving South Africa’s global competitiveness and will showcase the most up-to-date trends in the Meetings Industry. Speakers include:

  • Jonathan Cohen, owner of the destination marketing specialist company Azimuth Marketing Communications in the United Kingdom(UK)
  • Barbara Jamison, Head of Business Development at  the London Convention Bureau;
  • Mark Spivey, Director of International Sales at Maritim Hotels in the UK
  • Anja Loetscher, Director of the Geneva Convention Bureau in Switzerland
  • Anne Wallin Rodven, Convention Director of Oslo Promotion – Visitors and Convention Bureau in Norway
  • Italy’s  Pier Paolo Mariotti, Meeting manager at EURAC Research and managing director of the EURAC and TIS Convention Centre

“With knowledge economy and innovation top on the agenda, Meetings Africa 2016 also boasts a high number of international and regional buyers under one roof. We are very thrilled by this. By learning from our global partners, we can gain great insights into the structure and functioning of our industry, and advance the global competitiveness of the Africa continent as a whole,” says Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer at the SANCB.

On Sunday, February 21, the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE), which was launched at Meetings Africa last year, will officially open its Johannesburg office in a ribbon-cutting ceremony with hosted buyers and stakeholders.  This is one of the many ground-breaking and innovative developments at this year’s show because through this association, we will be able to encourage meetings to be held and rotated across our own continent and thus benefitting our African economy.

The first official day of the actual trade show (22 February) also known as BONDay (Business Opportunities Networking Day) will be held and features a variety of global, regional and local speakers imparting knowledge on an array of topics affecting the business events industry.  BONDAY is designed to equip the industry, providing educational sessions for them to learn news trends and therefore further their business. BONDay is also about networking.

Other events on BONDay include:

  • IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leader Forum Africa, encouraging the best performing students in travel and tourism to make a career in business events, find mentors and untap their innovation, enthusiasm and passion for the benefit of the industry. It is important to mention here that last year’s winner of this title then went on to win the international title at IMEX Frankfurt in Germany. She really did us proud and once again, showed that Africa is more than capable of hosting big events.
  • At the Business Events Associations Joint Conference we will be Advancing Africa Together by inspiring an industry. This full day workshop is a collaboration between EXSA, EGF, IFEA Africa and SAACI bringing together top international and local speakers offering a new and exciting glimpse in on their field of interest and expertise. This is the second year that the business events associations have joined forces to offer the industry a unified BONDAy programme. The theme for 2016 is inspiring an industry, together with representation off all the associations our speakers line-up includes five international speakers and four local speakers covering topics such as the important of delivering a “wow” site inspection to using your branding correct all with a strong entrepreneurial focus.
  • Aimed at Professional Conference Organisers Convention Bureau’s, Convention Centres and large Conference Hotels the IAPCO Bespoke Seminar (International -. IAPCO, deliverers of industry training worldwide, present a Seminar on Winning Tactics with speakers representing IAPCO and PCMA.
  • Event Greening Forum AGM. The Event Greening Forum (EGF) is hosting their annual general meeting during BONDAY at Meetings Africa 2016. As Meetings Africa we would like to set an example and show our commitment to educating and transforming the business event industry to contribute towards greening and sustainability.
  • Corporate Business to Business Speed Marketing Sessions – Meetings Africa will host yet another meaningful opportunity for exhibitors to participate in the VIP Local Corporate “B2B” Session at the 2016 edition. We have again partnered with Unique Speaker Bureau to host local corporate buyers at the 2016 show targeting 45 VIP Local Corporate Hosted Buyers to meet up with 45 participating exhibitors. Each participating exhibitor will have an opportunity to meet with each Local Corporate VIP in one day at Meetings Africa 2016.
  • Local Corporate Buyer Event – this Unique Speaker Bureau’s flagship event at Meeting Africa 2016, will showcase exciting new local talent as well as International speakers who are today’s thought leaders. In addition, Unique Speaker Bureau will be leading the speaking industry by launching exciting new emerging speakers.

On Tuesday, February 23, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom will officially open the show, and in his address will set the tone for what Meetings Africa 2016 hopes to achieve.  This will be followed by a panel discussion where the impact of a country’s image on its business events industry will be discussed.

The final day of Meetings Africa features the Green stand Awards ceremony for the top green stands at Meetings Africa.

Meetings Africa 2016 is expected to attract over 600 international, local and regional buyers looking for venues to host everything from high-level exhibitions and conferences to small corporate meetings.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You’re also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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