Big game and big meetings are the stars in South Africa. And value for the dollar against the attractive South African rand is also a major plus for convention and incentive groups considering the destination.
I just returned from the annual ICCA (International Congress & Convention Association) meeting held in Cape Town from October 24 to 27, hosted at the spectacular new Cape Town International Convention Centre. This may be one of the world's youngest convention cities, but it is a metropolis on the move like no other city in South Africa. Adjacent to the gleaming new CTICC is the stunning Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel, offering attendees convenient access to their meetings and events. Our local hosts delivered a fantastic program to the more than 600 international delegates.
Exploring beyond beautiful Cape Town, a troop of 18 energetic ICCA delegates continued on a post-tour that included a visit to the ICC (International Convention Centre) Durban (in the providence of KwaZulu Natal), one of the most successful convention venues in South Africa.
Alec Gilbert, CEO at ICC Durban, met our small delegation with elegance and warmth by displaying each of our international flags and offering a welcome reception line of smiling staff members who were anxious to show us around. This venue opened in 1996 and soon thereafter hosted the World AIDS Congress for more than 13,000 delegates. ICC Durban is modern and flexible, sophisticated and stylish, and can meet the needs of any international convention or exhibition. The center has consistently won big international bids, and it is already expanding to meet the demands of upcoming world events
After a few days in Zulu country enjoying the beauty of the game reserves on jeep safari, we finished up our trek in Johannesburg, a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city that embodies the heart and soul of the country's culture and history. We visited the impressive new Sandton Centre in the center of the city’s modern business district. The Sandton district is an upscale, self-contained area with more than 30 hotels, numerous restaurants, and terrific shopping.
South Africa's government is so dedicated to the task of attracting the biggest and the best of international meetings and exhibitions that they have appointed former Cape Town CVB Chief Executive Rick Taylor to lead the national tourism board into the future in international business tourism. And, South African Airways has a USA Meetings & Incentives Department, which is ready to help coordinate your group’s next visit.