According to the South African National Convention Bureau, South Africa hosts about one million delegates at business events every year, supporting over 250 000 jobs directly and indirectly in this sub-sector alone. These events contribute R115 billion to the total annual GDP of SA, a whopping 9.4% of the country’s GDP.
Local entrepreneurs Caroline Morgan, Melissa Palmer and Tricia Wood who are launching the project have two primary aims: recognise the top achievers in the sector, and highlight the services available with a view to enticing more national and international events here.
Morgan says “This was partly born out of frustration. There is an incorrect perception in other SA cities that Port Elizabeth doesn’t have all that is needed for conferences and tradeshows. On the contrary, we regularly hold events with up to 1200 delegates without having to ‘import’ services from elsewhere. These awards are a way of marketing our city to event organisers, both here and abroad.”
The awards will be judged by local experts in the events industry, all of whom are donating their time to support the initiative.
“Attracting more business events benefits all of us” explained Wood “and that extends far beyond our industry, as it means job creation and a financial boost for the Bay.”
The three business leaders are keen to add their voice to marketing Nelson Mandela Bay as a business tourism destination. “We want to show the world what Nelson Mandela Bay has to offer!” says Palmer.
At the time of going to press, there were more than 80 nominations across the 8 categories of award. To qualify, a business has to operate in Nelson Mandela Bay, be profitable, and be able to provide references from suppliers or customers.
Nominations can be made via www.nmbbea.co.za until midnight on 31 August 2019. Judging takes place during October and the announcement of finalists will be on 8 November 2019.