Pretoria - Cabinet has welcomed the 2017 report from the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which continues to rank South Africa as the top business events destination in Africa and the Middle East.
The report was released in May 2017 in Frankfurt.
South Africa remains one of the world's most popular tourist destinations and continues to top the rankings also on the World Economic Forum Travel's global travel and tourism competitiveness index, as released in April 2017.
Cabinet would like to see more of South Africa's smaller towns and cities bidding for smaller meetings where they can meet the hosting requirements.
This will help to improve the geographic distribution of tourism beyond the major centres and spread the wealth generated by these events more equitably, Cabinet said in a statement.
Speaking at the 2017 Southern Africa Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) Congress held at CSIR in Pretoria earlier this week, Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa said South Africa hosts about one million business delegates every year and that the average business traveller spends seven days in South Africa, five of which are spent attending a business event.
Hosting more major international business conferences will also help develop our intellectual capital and position us as a world-leading knowledge economy, the Minister said.
In 2016, South Africa hosted 17 more international and regional association conferences than in 2015, bringing the total to 125 ICCA recognised conferences.
These conferences generate a direct economic benefit for our country, which includes what delegates spend on hotel accommodation, food, beverages and souvenirs.
There is an indirect benefit as well. The business event delegates that we host annually return home to sell our country to others by word of mouth and indeed, many will return here on holiday and some may consider investing in South Africa, Minister Xasa said.
Source: South African Government News Agency