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Meetings Africa 2019 a record breaker, says tourism minister

Africa’s premier event industry trade show Meetings Africa has opened with South Africa’s tourism minister Derek Hanekom claiming broken records on all fronts.

He said: “This is Africa’s premier business events show and every year it gets bigger and better. In addition to South African exhibitors, there are 15 other countries from Africa represented here today. This show has made huge strides to showcase Africa’s attractions.”

He said the 14th edition of the show at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, includes 338 exhibitors – a 10 per cent increase on the previous year. African countries that are newly represented include Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Mauritius.

This year 462 from 65 countries have been hosted, also up from last year’s total of 392.

Hanekom added: “It is good to see more and more countries who have formed their own convention bureaus. Business events are about sharing knowledge and ideas in order to address our collective challenges in science and technology. Nothing can replace the person to person contact to share values and information. In South Africa we pride ourselves on promoting responsible tourism so inclusive and shared growth is important to us to benefit as many people as possible.”

This year’s edition of Meetings Africa is also set to be the greenest ever with the help of the Event Greening Forum (EGF), as organisers have been able to purchase renewable energy certificates to power the event.

As in previous years Meetings Africa will host the green stand awards to give recognition to the exhibitors who go that extra green mile. It has also issued a top 15 green tips for exhibitors, which include the opportunity to buy a tree to offset carbon footprint and encouraging staff to drink the filtered tap water freely available on the exhibition floor.

The show is also implementing a surcharge on bottled water, with the money raised being donated to the event’s carbon-offset programme after the event. In 2018, a total of 111 bottles of water were sold, down from the 225 sold in 2017, which contributed to the planting of eight trees.