IMEX America is one of the largest trade shows in the US for the global meetings, events and incentive travel industry. The 2022 show was 45% bigger than last year’s, according to IMEX organisers. The show took place from 11 to October 13 2022, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
According to acting chief convention bureau officer, Zinhle Nzama, South Africa meant business. "Team South Africa had their hands full as they moved from one meeting to the next and the message was clear: South Africa is open for business and ready to host quality business events, with our infrastructure fit for global meetings, events and incentives travel," she said.
She said South Africa’s exhibitors were overwhelmed by walk-in clients over and above the scheduled meetings, which bodes well for our tourism industry rebound.
Nzama also noted that one of the key take-outs from this year’s IMEX is the shorter lead times for business with all business that is coming to South Africa either earmarked for this year or next year. "This is a clear indication of just how eager people are to host their conferences and to bring incentive trips to South Africa in a short space of time. This is a shift from the pre-Covid-19 environment as lead times were much longer," she added.
Nzama believes South African Tourism’s relentless global marketing efforts are bearing fruit as buyers coming to the South Africa stand were more targeted and ready to place business.
"The buyers we interacted with were not coming to find out information about South Africa; they already knew about South Africa. They were simply coming to find the South African product that is best suited for them," she said.
"The bookings for groups coming into South Africa are getting bigger compared to pre-pandemic bookings," Nzama said.
She revealed that beyond networking and scheduled meetings, team South Africa took the opportunity to invite the world to South Africa to attend Meetings Africa.
Meetings Africa is South African Tourism’s Pan African strategic business tradeshow. It provides a platform for exhibitors to showcase their offerings to international and local buyers, African associations and corporate planners.
"This is the most formidable platform on the continent for exhibitors to meet face-to-face with the most influential buyers in the world and to be part of Africa’s growth story," she said.
Meetings Africa trade show will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, from February 28 - March 1 2023.