Local South African representatives, speakers and role-players involved with the tourism industry included CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona; Tim Harris, CEO of WESGRO; Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Bureau Officer of SA National Convention Bureau; Prof Leopold van Huyssteen, COO of Stellenbosch University; Mayor Gesie van Deventer and Municipal Manager Geraldine Mettler of Stellenbosch Municipality respectively; Corne Koch, Head of Cape Town and WC Convention Bureau; Saartjie Botha, CEO of US Woordfees, and Zelda Coetzee-Burger, Business Tourism Consultant for Stellenbosch 360.
Ntshona, in his address, gave the assurance that the aim to further develop and stimulate business tourism in the Stellenbosch region has the full endorsement and support of SA Tourism. He emphasised that aggressive growth here was an important aspect of SA Tourism’s strategy to draw five million more tourists to South Africa in the next few years.
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo from the SA National Convention Bureau highlighted the following statistics regarding the extent and importance that business events already have for both South Africa and Stellenbosch as a region:
• The South African business events industry, with its present venues totalling 2,620, already supports on average some 252,000 direct and indirect jobs – and contributes in total over R115b to our country’s GDP annually.
• For the next two years (2017/18), Stellenbosch already has eight association/events/conferences confirmed – equating to 47 days with ± 2,000 delegates visiting and generating R40m in income for the region.
• SA’s smaller towns are key to aggressively bid for African Associations meetings (± 100 – 200 delegates) - smaller international meetings will help to improve the geographic distribution of tourism beyond the major centres and spread these events more equally.
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo CEO of @SA_NCB says, there is huge potential for second tier cities to host conference & events. #meetinstellenbosch pic.twitter.com/gBPmVZFtwJ— Meet in Cape Town (@CapeTownCB) June 13, 2017
• The Bidding Fund that was announced in Feb 2017, allocates R90m over the next three years and will assist cities and towns to aggressively bid for conferences, meetings, incentives, and exhibitions.
Annemarie Ferns, CEO of Stellenbosch 360, was overjoyed with the outcome of and the enthusiastic support for the Indaba. She commented:
I believe that after five years of hard work, we now have both the buy-in and mandate from the key local role-players in tourism and the relevant national institutions, as well as a solid strategy on the table to position Stellenbosch as a living conference, event, and incentive destination...
That, complemented by all our town’s wonderful people, assets, and renowned and established tourism attributes, can and will make an enormous impact on the future of our town and region’s economic growth.