Sky's the limit for Cape Town centre

Posted On Tuesday, 23 September 2003 02:00 Published by
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THE R582-million Cape Town International Convention Centre which officially opened its doors in June has exceeded its booking projections within the first three months.

THE R582-million Cape Town International Convention Centre which officially opened its doors in June has exceeded its booking projections within the first three months.

Dirk Elzinga, the centre's MD, says more than 100 international conventions were booked before the official opening.

In addition, the centre has solid bookings up to 2008 and requests for bookings until 2011.

It is another example of a successful SA public-private partnership. Major funding partners were the City of Cape Town (R282m); the Western Cape Province (R141m) and SunWest, which contributed R140m to the project as part of its casino licence-bid process.

Elzinga says the centre does not set out to take business from Johannesburg and Durban.

"We see ourselves as enlarging the size of the cake. We believe that together we can create synergies and convince international clients to bring their business to SA, which has a bright future as a meetings destination."

President Thabo Mbeki, who was guest of honour at the official opening, said research indicated the centre would create about 47000 new jobs and bring in R25bn to the gross domestic product over 10 years.

Centre management undertook an extensive two-year marketing drive to create awareness in the international and local market, says Elzinga.

"In our business plan we envisaged we would have 10 exhibitions and trade fairs in the first year, growing to 20 a year after the first couple of years. But we have already booked 24 exhibitions and trade fairs in the first year, and the number is growing."

The number of local bookings has also increased dramatically, he says. Some of these events have been booked with lead times of as little as three to five weeks, which has necessitated additional staff being brought on board to meet the demand.

By the end of this month the centre will have staged about 113 different events, including seven international and 41 national conventions.

Elzinga says the centre's management team identified a need in Cape Town for large banqueting facilities and it has already hosted about 21 banquets, catering for more than 400 people.

Elzinga says that universities in the Western Cape region are playing a key role in helping to lobby international associations to bring their conferences to SA.

Among major events the centre will be hosting during the remainder of this year are the eighth African Congress for Shopping Centres and the World Wind Energy Conference.

Sep 23 2003 07:12:41:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day

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