Meetings Africa 2020 is currently preparing to open up shop at the Sandton Convention Centre. The show is celebrating fifteen years as the continent’s premier industry event. The Iceberg has been hearing about South Africa’s own approach to its meetings business from the Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona.

As a young democracy still finding its new identity, the importance of developing a knowledge economy isn’t lost on Ntshona. South African Tourism has therefore increased its resource allocation for business events, seeing them as change agents contributing to the body of knowledge and the evolution of any particular sector.

“When greats minds get together they tend to come up with solutions”, Ntshona explains. “When a significant conference happens, the intellectual capital that gets left behind really continues long after the conferencing that has happened. But also by association… …when significant decisions get made, they tend to reference the place where it happened. And that by itself just gives you the kind of airtime you literally cannot buy”.

In the video interview below, Sisa Ntshona also talks about agricultural events and finding new industries to contribute to GDP that are less extractive than Africa’s traditional sectors. He compares Mining Indaba, a long-running South African business event fixture, with Design Indaba, and its much younger delegate demographic. A knowledge economy, he explains, is always much more sustainable and delivers much better margins.

Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism.

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