Restaurants and hotels reap benefits

Posted On Tuesday, 23 September 2003 02:00 Published by
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Industry a boon to regional economies

Industry a boon to regional economies

THE economic benefits that major conference and exhibition venues bring to their respective regions go far beyond the staging of events themselves.

Business partnerships and the positive knock-on effects on a range of service-providers and ancillary industries help to create jobs and to boost regional economies.

Since opening in August 1997, Durban's International Conference Centre (ICC) has generated R2,8bn in additional revenue for the region.

Developed as a catalyst for community development and economic growth, ICC Durban has become one of the city's most successful initiatives, positioning it firmly in the international spotlight, says CEO Alec Gilbert.

He says ICC has established strong working relationships with city partners in staging major events. In this way, allied partners such as hotels and restaurants have gained experience in catering for international tourists.

The centre has hosted more than 900000 people during events that have ranged from small meetings to conferences.

These include major conferences such as the 13th International Aids Conference, the World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the African Union Summit, among others.

ICC Durban is the largest conference centre in the country. Phase 1 of an extension project has added an additional 2400m² to the existing 12000m². At the completion of the second phase ICC will have 30000m² available.

Road access to the conference centre, the adjacent Durban Exhibition Centre and the Hilton Hotel can be closed quickly to create a maximum-security "island site", says Gilbert.

The venue has been named Africa's leading conference centre in the World Travel awards for two consecutive years.

Meanwhile, according to the this year's Trends and Spends survey published in the UK, SA was placed second in the longhaul sector, with 22 conference and incentive groups from the UK visiting this country.

The US continues to dominate the long-haul sector, with Thailand, Canada and the Caribbean coming in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

The only other African country that featured in the top 10 long-haul-by-country category was Kenya, with two groups.

Rick Taylor, CEO, of the Cape Town Convention Bureau, points out that of the 22 UK groups that travelled to SA over the past year, 16 visited Cape Town.

"It's a very exciting time for business tourism in our country. Cape Town and SA in general offers great value for money," says Taylor.

The UK long-haul destinations market makes up 28% of the UK meetings industry pie, with an average group of 77 people travelling over a period of 4,4 days. The survey found that Cape Town was the preferred long-haul destination, taking over the top spot from New York in the year following September 11.

Sep 23 2003 07:18:20:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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