The International Conference and Convention Association (ICCA) has released new information showing how the pandemic impacted the MICE industry in 2021. It highlights the recovery of business travel in Africa and where there are promising signs for 2022 and beyond.
Uganda – wins plum convention, bidding on more
According to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the ICCA has ranked Uganda sixth in Africa for hosting international association conferences. The country is aiming to be among the top five destinations in Africa. The UTB hopes to take advantage of the rebirth of Uganda Airlines to make travel easier for visitors.
The Africa Society for Blood Transfusion announced that Uganda will host its next conference in March 2024. This is a big win for the country and attracts about 500 delegates, 25% of whom come from international markets, including Europe and Asia. The country also announced that it has applied to host Worldcon 2028, the world’s oldest international science fiction convention.
Kenya – marketing itself internationally
Kenya is fast becoming a top travel destination for MICE. In May, a delegation presented Kenya’s MICE capabilities at IMEX Frankfurt under the theme “Meet in Kenya”. According to a recent report on Kenya’s tourism performance released by the Tourism Research Institute, international arrivals attributable to business events and meetings increased by 27% last year to a total of 178,779 arrivals. This is a significant contribution to total arrivals in Kenya.
Improved conference infrastructure, positive ease of doing business ranking, and improved ICT infrastructure have contributed to the increase in business tourism. With the new Nairobi expressway and a new “open skies” policy announced by the Kenya Tourism Board, the focus on mobility is positive.
Rwanda – conferences and events up 490%
Rwanda is emerging as a popular destination for conferences and events, with recent growth of 490%. In the last fiscal year, Rwanda took in over $38.5 million from 86 conferences, attracting more than 18,400 foreign visitors. Rwanda has successfully hosted major events such as the Basketball Africa League (BAL), Volleyball Championships, See For All, World Telecommunication Development Conference and CHOGM 2022.
South Africa – Africa’s biggest MICE winner
The ICCA has ranked South Africa as the best African country to host international conferences, 42nd in the world, with the South African National Conventions Bureau (SANBC) winning 20 of 66 bids submitted last year, with some events extending to 2027. These events are expected to generate up to R269 million.