Limited Venue Capacity Makes Hosting Events Unviable, SA Conference Industry Says


The events industry in Africa is only expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

  • According to the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, the current 50% cap on venue capacity makes it difficult to organize economically viable events in South Africa.
  • This means that the cost remains the same as for a full-capacity event, but the organizer can only use half the site space.
  • The events industry has therefore called on the government to use the 50% venue cap only as a guideline and allow local governments to monitor the hosting of large events.

The current 50% cap on venue capacity makes South African events and exhibitions economically unviable, said Glenton de Kock, CEO of the South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI).

Although it allows trade events and exhibitions such as Meeting Africa, Propack, WTM Africa, Mama Magic Baby Expo and more recently Mining Indaba to be held, venues and attendees are limited due to restrictions.

“This means that the cost remains the same as for a full capacity event, but the organizer can only use half the space of the site. In addition, participants are required to produce proof of vaccination, which makes the events industry the only mandatory vaccinated sector by the South African government,” De Kock told Fin24.

SAACI urged the government to consider the negative impact on the economy and employment of maintaining these regulations and made proposals on what a more sustainable approach might be.

In SAACI’s view, it might be better to have the regulations as guidelines and allow the events industry, which is already regulated by the Sporting and Recreational Events Safety Act , to self-regulate. The organization proposes that oversight can be placed with local authorities to authorize major commercial events and exhibitions.

“We need to understand that the events industry is the engine room for fueling the recovery of the economy,” says De Kock. “We still need to be encouraged by the private sector, which has reduced its business or motivational meetings to a minimum.”

READ | Room rates and occupancy nearly double as Cape Town tourism rebounds

Speaking at a recent events industry briefing hosted by Deputy Tourism Minister Fish Mahlalela at the Century City Convention Center in Cape Town, he said the government remained committed to developing the event industry. business events and remained firm in its efforts and investments in this regard.

He said the events industry in Africa is only expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

Mahlalela and SA Tourism’s Convention Bureau Director, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, stressed that the key to fully realizing the growth of the events industry will be collaboration with various players in the South-Eastern business events sector. Africans and more Africans.

Data from the latest SA Tourism Trade Events Industry Performance Outlook indicates that the value of the South African trade events industry grew by $6.9 billion in 2019 (so pre-pandemic) to $1.6 billion in 2020. However, projections indicate that the value could reach $7.4. billion by 2024 and $10.2 billion by 2028.

In the view of SANCB, Africa is poised to be one of the fastest growing trade event regions with Namibia and Ghana set to be the fastest growing event destinations. fastest on the continent between 2021 and 2028.

The incentives component of the events industry is expected to show the fastest growth on the continent. SANCB believes this presents substantial opportunities for corporate meetings and corporate incentives.

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