Statement by Minister David Maynier: We are ready to welcome business travellers to Cape Town and the Western Cape

With our innovative hybrid conferencing and meeting facilities, world-class attractions and strict health measures in place, we are ready to welcome business travellers back to the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Today (16 September 2020), Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, visited some of the Western Cape’s top facilities in the business events sector, comprising of Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), and was joined during the day by the City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato and Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos to showcase the readiness of the business events sector as we re-open and begin rebuilding our economy and saving jobs in the Western Cape.

The value of the business events sector to the South African economy cannot be underestimated, as it contributed R115 billion to the economy in 2018 and attracted 11,4% of foreign tourism to the country in 2019.

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape has, over the last 10 years, hosted the most international association conferences in Africa. In 2019, the Western Cape hosted 57 international association meetings with approximately 21,000 delegates and an average of 3,6 days per event with international congresses, and during the 2019 fiscal year, the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau secured bids with an estimated economic impact of R1 billion for the province.

Minister Maynier’s first visit was to the Spier Wine Farm to visit the Mosaic Centre and see their new hybrid conference facilities. Minister Maynier also welcomed members of the tourism trade taking part in an event organised by the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau to showcase the meeting and conferencing products available in the Western Cape.

During his visit Minister Maynier said: “I am impressed with the high standard of innovation and adaptation I have seen today at our attractions and experiences in the Western Cape. These businesses have shown great resilience and, in fact, have used the time during the Covid-19 restrictions to adapt in ways that provide opportunities to offer unique local experiences, be competitive in the global market and create jobs during a very challenging time. There is no doubt that the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape is open and travel ready.”

Next, Minister Maynier joined Mayor Plato and Alderman Vos at the V&A Waterfront to meet with CEO, David Green and Executive Manager of Marketing, Tinyiko Mageza, to see how this world-class attraction has implemented health and safety measures and adapted to the new normal.

Alderman Vos said: “The visitor economy is everyone’s business and it is my mission to work with all stakeholders to make sure that we get back to business, safely. The Tourism Task Team, which I established early on in the Covid-19 crisis, focused on co-ordinating the interventions needed to minimise the devastating effect that Covid-19 has on tourism and related industries.

This strategy includes the Six Pillar marketing and communications approach, lobbying national government to reopen international travel as soon as possible, and domestic campaigns targeted at locals and marketing Cape Town as a quality and affordable destination. Cape Town is a destination of choice for many and there is a reason our city has been voted the best in the world seven times in a row – it is precisely because we have so much to offer, no matter what a visitor is looking for. I will continue to work to keep the Mother City top of mind as we welcome back our domestic visitors and hopefully, our international visitors, very soon. ”

The final stop of the day was the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) where Minister Maynier, Mayor Plato and Alderman Vos were taken on a tour of the new hybrid conferencing facilities by CEO, Taubie Motlhabane, who welcomed the guests, saying: “The retrofitted studio offers clients flexibility in terms of layout, with a customised set design and a LED green screen wall. These spaces can be used for panel discussions, lectures, webinars, a demo kitchen or even a full band for music performances. Clients can broadcast from an on-site facility to a remote, off-site audience. Cape Town remains one of the world’s top destinations for both leisure and business tourism, and the offerings we have are geared towards the CTICC once again contributing to regional economic growth. ‘We are open’, and we are ready and look forward to welcoming events to the CTICC again”

The CTICC has taken a number of measures to adapt to the new normal such as launching an app for screening purposes and ensuring 1.5 metre physical distancing is applied in all venues. These efforts, together with the new hybrid conferencing facilities, have resulted in 74 events and over R53 million in revenue secured from October 2020 to June 2021 at the CTICC.

Concluding the day, Mayor Plato said: “Cape Town is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and plays a major role in attracting many international conferences to our city. I am glad to see how the facilities in our City are being adapted to welcome guests safely once the borders are re-opened. Tourism is a crucial economic driver in Cape Town, with thousands of job opportunities being created, so I am looking forward to seeing the many international visitors once again returning to our beautiful city in the very near future.”