The Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau, in partnership with the South African National Convention Bureau, has managed to secure forward bookings in excess of R510m since the commencement of the 2020/21 Financial Year, in April. Despite the business events sector being one of the hardest hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a continued interest in the destination to hosting conferences, meetings and incentive travel.
Testament to the resilience of the destination, and the continued interest in hosting global business events in the region, Cape Town and the Western Cape was recently been awarded with two best MICE destination in Africa awards .
Since the start of the lockdown in March, the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau focused on maintaining their long-lead business and assisted in securing 17 new business events that will take place between 2022 – 2024.
As the leading destination in hosting international association congresses Africa when hosting medical association conferences, the increase in association clients in other sectors are also a strong indication of the region’s broadening appeal.
Further positioning the destination as Africa’s tech capital, the Convention Bureau managed to secure the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 2023 and the Global Telecommunications Congress in 2024.
Confirmation of the bid win came days before the launch of the Cape Town and Western Cape unified tech brand. Launched through a collective effort between Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town, Wesgro, major tech eco-system stakeholders including CITI, Silicon Cape, LaunchLab and Startup Bootcamp, the aim is to position the destination as a major competitor on the global stage, highlighting the world-class digital ecosystem on offer - where resources and talent meet commercial and social opportunity.
Other key wins were congresses in the neuro related fields ranging from Neurosurgery to Child Neurology. These bid wins will further support the research and development of the recently opened Neuroscience Institute. The institute, a partnership between the University of Cape Town and the Western Cape government, will fast-track novel treatments for neurological and mental disorders. The state-of-the-art facility is a first for the continent and will focus on diagnosing and treating neurological challenges facing Africans.
Assisting the Unit to position the destination as a safe place to host events, Wesgro together with our partners at Western Cape Government, launched safetravels.capetown. Featuring safety news, FAQs and safety initiatives implemented in the province, SafeTravels.CapeTown has been established as the ‘go to’ page for all visitors coming to enjoy the world-class tourism experience on offer in the province.
"To land these recent bids wins, despite global uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, is a testament to the world-class conferencing and business tourism services we have to offer in the Western Cape. We look forward to welcoming the delegations, learning from what they have to say, and safely showcasing the best of our business and leisure tourism experiences and attractions,” said Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
Acknowledging the assistance of the South African National Convention Bureau in securing the numerous bid wins, Corne Koch, Head of the Bureau, commented: “Business Events are a catalyst for economic growth and a stimulant for the knowledge economy of a region. It creates a platform for investment and networking opportunities, while showcasing our capabilities as a province and a country. This is vital in the current economic climate we are currently facing.”
Commenting on the success of the bureau Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said that “Despite the extreme pressure placed on the business tourism sector by the global pandemic, our Convention Bureau has managed to rise above the odds and secure world-class mega events for the destination. We are immensely proud of their effort, as well as the way the industry has seamlessly shifted to the new normal of virtual/ live events. We welcome these upcoming events and the economic and job boost it offers Cape Town and the Western Cape.”