City set to profit from conventions

Posted On Thursday, 23 May 2002 02:00 Published by
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Cape Town could earn R300m in next eight years from hosting conferences

CAPE Town could earn more than R300m from hosting conventions and conferences in the next eight years.

The figure is derived from a Grant Thornton Kessel Feinstein formula that takes into account the number of delegates, how many days they spend at conferences and the average each spends at conferences and conventions booked through the Cape Town Convention Bureau.

It should help allay doubt about decisions to pump capital into conference infrastructure, including the R500m Cape Town International Convention Centre, which is under construction.

The Cape Town Convention Centre follows the construction and launch of major convention centres in Durban and Johannesburg.

The convention bureau says it has secured business worth almost R100m for the period between now and 2010.

This figure excludes conferences or conventions booked through channels other than the convention bureau.

Cape Metropolitan Tourism CEO Rick Taylor says while conferences already won by Cape Town are likely to net about R95,7m, those for which the bureau is still awaiting confirmation amount to an additional R213,8m, pushing the total to more than R309,5m if the city wins all its current bids.

The formula does not capture the spending of spouses who travel with 38% of delegates, and excludes any pre- or postconference tourism.

Taylor says while many of the larger international conferences are taking advantage of the new International Convention Centre, others are making use of 134 other conference centres in the city.

He says most conventions attract between 400 and 1500 delegates. However, some are bigger: the International Urology Conference will draw up to 3500 guests to Cape Town in 2006.

'Leisure tourists are very important to Cape Town's economy, but we are hoping that locals will begin to appreciate the enormous effect that convention delegates have on our economy,' says Taylor.

Delegates' minimum daily spending, at R1450, is higher than the average leisure tourist's daily outlay of R900.

Taylor says Cape Town is the 30th-best conference city on the International Congress and Convention Association.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Sibonelo Radebe

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