More convention centres required

Posted On Wednesday, 22 August 2001 02:00 Published by
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Africa excluded from global circuit, MD says

Africa excluded from global circuit, MD says

THREE convention centres in SA will not be enough to cater for the growing tourism market, says the MD of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Dirk Elzinga.

Africa has been excluded from the international convention circuit because of a lack of resources and appropriate venues, but that will change, he says.

Construction of the R500m Cape Town International Convention Centre, a mainly glass and steel structure on the foreshore, extending down along Roggebaai Canal from the V&A Waterfront, began in April. WHBO-Rainbow, the consortium that wrested the contract from the Consortium of Emerging and National Contractors, Convenco Contractors Joint Venture, Stocks Building-Ubuntu Construction Joint Venture and group Five Building-William Construction Joint Venture, is expected to complete the 41000m² project by August 2003.

While the project is expected to generate 47000 jobs, provincial finance minister Leon Markovitz expects the project to inject R25bn into gross domestic product in the next 10 years.

Cape Town Partnership CEO Michael Farr says convention delegates spend more than R1500 each daily.

Africa boasts good, large convention venues only in Cairo, Addis Ababa, Durban and Sandton. With 9000 associations registered, the convention market is untapped. Only 100 have held discussions in SA to date.

The Cape Town project, which will accommodate conventions and exhibitions, is sited close to existing hotels, transport networks and the central business district, and there is land available for parking and expansion. The centre will have two raked auditoriums, one seating 1500 people and the other 600 people; two flat-floor breakaway rooms seating 300 people each; and 20 rooms with seating for 60 to 125 people each. Function rooms will vary in size from 400m² to 5000m². It will also have a 12000m², 150m-long exhibition space covered by a structural steel roof spanning 75m and more than 16m from floor to roof, plus three restaurant facilities.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre Company was formed by the provincial government, the Cape metropolitan council and Business Cape, a new body set up to replace the city's chamber of business.

Seeff Properties Blaauwberg MD Elmarie Campbell says the convention centre will accelerate the 12%-16% annual growth rate in the property market that Cape Town has experienced in recent years. While property values along the foreshore have risen and property is expensive, Campbell believes it is worthwhile buying rather than renting. 'We will see a new market of guest houses booming. They will be used extensively during the nonseasonal period.'

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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