South African Tourism (SAT) has vowed to support the growth of small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMME)’s in tourism.
Board chairperson, Thozamile Botha made the announcement during the Meetings Africa two-day trade show which was held in the Gauteng Province at the Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) from Tuesday.
The trade-show marked its 17th year as the premier Business Events Trade Show with the aim of creating a market access platform for African Business Events Products.
This year’s “plug and meet” pavilion at the event allowed 20 SMMEs full access to Meetings Africa 2023, and the platform for 45 SMME’s to showcase their products.
“SMME’s play an imperative role into the quilting of the tourism economy and our sector is ready to work and support the enterprises because when we do so, we support tourism and making a contribution to the economy our country at large,” said Botha.
The event was executed in conjunction with global, continental, and national industry associations and includes a dedicated Educational Day. It saw highest participation from over 352 exhibitors from 22 African countries and 375 buyers from over 60 countries. Exhibitors from seven countries made their debut, including Angola, Gabon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, South Sudan and Togo.
As the gateway to Africa, Gauteng plays a pivotal role in the event’s success, with an established track record of staging successful conferences and events. The province’s Convention & Events Bureau (GCEB) provides support services, including standard bid support material, venue and accommodation sourcing, and local association and promotional support through its extensive list of key stakeholders.
By leveraging its world-class venues and infrastructure for meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions, and events, Meetings Africa contributes towards the growth of Africa’s business events industry and ultimately its economic development.
Botha highlighted the importance of quality connections for Africa’s success and further praised the tourism sector’s resilience post the COVID-19 pandemic. He further said that it was imperative for Africa business to conjunct in the name of growing the economy of the continent.
“Our mission is to grow Africa’s business events sector and work alongside our partners across the continent to drive the continent’s growth, into the challenge of Africa’s development into a modern society while remaining true to its roots in a rapidly changing world.” said Botha.
Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Tasneem Motara called for visitors to explore the area beyond attaining business events and see what makes it an important part of the African economy. She further reassured the commitment by provincial authorities to the Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to reignite tourism and other sectors.
“On top of business events, Gauteng is “introducing some of Gauteng’s sprawling township venues, attractions, and accommodation establishments that are ready to support the building back together drive,” she said.