Western Cape offers funding to spur relaunch of in-person conventions

11 September 2021 - 10:19
Cape Town International Convention Centre, which has been repurposed as a Covid-19 field hospital and now a mass vaccination site, could soon hold in-person meetings.
Cape Town International Convention Centre, which has been repurposed as a Covid-19 field hospital and now a mass vaccination site, could soon hold in-person meetings.
Image: cticc via Google

After 18 months without in-person conferences, exhibitions and business meetings, the Western Cape is gearing itself to reintroduce conventions that will allow people to mingle under one roof.

The province’s promotions agency, Wesgro, says its convention bureau wants to stimulate short and medium-term national and business events in the province.

But they will come with strict conditions, which include size restrictions and verification of the number of delegates.

In its announcement on Friday, Wesgro said it wants to ignite confidence in holding in-person or hybrid business events by assisting organisers with funding.

Western Cape finance and economic opportunities MEC David Maynier said: “The value of the business events sector to the provincial economy cannot be underestimated, with the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape having hosted the most international association conferences in Africa over the last 10 years.

“We hope that this initiative will go a long way to supporting the sector, which has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic but has also shown great resilience.

“With our innovative hybrid conferencing and meeting facilities, world-class attractions and strict Covid-19 health measures in place, we continue to welcome business travellers.”

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer at SA Tourism, said: “We need to assist our clients to venture away from their screens safely and to again embrace the unique value face-to-face engagements can provide.”

To qualify for assistance, conditions include:

  • Organisers’ compliance must be in good standing;
  • The event must begin before March 31 2022;
  • Physical attendance will be a minimum of 20 for small events and 50 for medium-sized events; and
  • The events must involve a stay in the Western Cape of at least one night.

The acting CEO of Wesgro, Yaw Peprah, said: “Business events are catalysts for change, and despite the sector being one of the hardest hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a continued interest in hosting conferences, meetings and incentive travel in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

“I urge all business events planners to seize this opportunity and showcase their ability to adapt and innovate.”

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