MICE in the city: assessing th

Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country

MICE in the city: assessing the readiness of SA’s major cities (Part I: Cape Town)

Cape Town’s making all the right moves to win a major chunk of the nationally-prioritised meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector opportunities.

MICE in the city: assessing th

Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country


Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country
Cape Town International Airport is the second busiest airport in the country. Image: Mikkelz

With the launch of the South African National Conventions Bureau (SANCB) last year, and the recent announcement of its earliest successes, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has sent a very clear message — business tourism is the priority for SA Tourism.

SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima told reporters that the secured bids for 88 major events between 2013 and 2017 “will generate upwards of R2.6bn into our economy”.

While leisure tourists remain an integral part of the national tourism strategy, business tourists have been shown to spend more, and South Africa’s share in the international meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector is minor and should be grown. But are our cities, and specifically the Mother City, geared for a major influx of business travelers and conference goers in the next few years?

Convention Centre

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is expanding aggressively, in light of both their recent gains and their expectations for future business. The expansion will double its capacity, which is no small thing given that it hosted 45% of the international association meetings held in the country last year and reported a 163% increase in profits.

Furthermore, the CTICC is the first convention centre in Africa to achieve the gold AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres) Quality Standards Certification, according to a recent press release by the centre. According to the statement: “AIPC is the industry association for professional convention and exhibition centre managers worldwide and is committed to encouraging and recognising excellence in convention centre management.”

Transport Links

Cape Town International Airport underwent its own expansion in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The renovation reportedly cost R1.3 billion but increased capacity in order to accommodate the World Cup tourists and an estimated 14 million passengers by 2015. It is the second busiest airport in South Africa — after Johannesburg’s OR Tambo — and third in Africa, with 20 domestic and international airlines now flying directly to Cape Town.

Its gains have not gone unnoticed and last year it was awarded the SKYTRAX World Awards for Best Airport in Africa and Best Airport in Africa for Staff Service Excellence.

The transport links to the airport have also recently been bolstered by the addition of the MyCiTi bus rapid transit route between the airport and the Civic Centre in central Cape Town. The roughly 20km route costs just R62 currently, which is very competitive for a premium airport route. Buses run every 20 minutes between 05:10 and 22:00.

There is also talk of a rail link between the airport and Cape Town’s existing passenger rail system. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is reportedly in talks with the City of Cape Town and have already conducted a feasibility study on the matter.

Bottom line

With a “walkable” city centre, a robust and expanding public transport system and a committed convention centre, Cape Town seems to be making determined moves to capture the lion’s share of SA’s MICE sector.

Read more about the meetings, incentives, conferencing and events sector in SA:

South Africa launches national conventions bureau for fast-growing events industry

Africa’s Greenest Hotel opens at Cape Town International Airport

Cape Town: A city with a vision