Spotlight on economic recovery as SA marks Global Exhibitions Day

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The South African Tourism Industry has marked Global Exhibitions Day by taking stock of efforts underway to support local businesses to gain access to local and international exhibition platforms.

The exhibition day is marked annually globally on the first Wednesday of June to drive visibility of the exhibition industry locally, regionally and on a global scale.

The exhibition industry is a $72 billion industry globally.

Role players say the industry is key in the creation of jobs and to support efforts towards South Africa’s economic recovery.

Participants in the tourism sector gathered in Johannesburg at the Gallagher Convention Centre for the 8th annual Global Exhibitions Day.

Despite challenges presented by COVID-19 and other global economic shocks, they believe South Africa can still get the best out of the tourism and exhibitions sector.

Acting CEO of Tourism South Africa, Nomasonto Ndlovu, says: “This is a part of tourism that nobody really talks about but is very important. So, exhibitions are very important for our economy. Currently, globally, they contribute R72 billion US Dollars, so a very, very big number. In terms of contribution, South Africa contributes 21%, that comes to 342 million US dollars. So we want to celebrate this part of our industry and take stock of how are we doing, coming from the Africa Travel Indaba – one of our biggest exhibitions hosted by SA and we want to make sure that we can have a conversation on how do we accelerate the economic tourism recovery using the exhibitions.”

Economic growth

The highlight of the event was a panel discussion to look at solutions and ideas of how exhibitions can be used as a tool to create sustainable economic growth. Those that took part in the discussion believe this can be achieved.

A spokesperson for the Association of African Exhibition Organisers, Projeni Pather, elaborates, “Business driving business, an economic enabler and that is what we do. Our exhibitions operate on different platforms and different niche markets and in every industry, it allows those markets to grow so beyond the impact on tourism, we have a global impact on multitudes of industries.”

Chairperson of the Exhibition and Events Association of Southern Africa, Sibusiso Mncwabe, says: “We’ve got commitments coming from the greening forum, commitments from the exhibition industry which we are part of, commitment from the convention brewery to bring more companies in this space also the MOUs that we need to sign as thought leaders to carry the exhibition industry forward.”

Variety of exhibitors

Some of the exhibitors share their excitement as they’re physically showcasing their products hoping to tap into the local and international exhibitions market.

The exhibition featured businesses from the security, hospitality and ICT sectors.

The event also included exchanging ideas on growing opportunities presented by the 4th industrial revolution and how to navigate the struggling economy.

VIDEO | Global Exhibitions Day – role players in the tourism sector gather: