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The 2012 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) report, which gives comprehensive rankings for all countries and cities, ranked Cape Town, South Africa 60 out of 363 cities. Despite a struggling global economy, as a long haul destination, South Africa hosted the same number of meetings as in 2011.

South Africa is the top-ranking country out of the 28 countries in Africa while Cape Town is the top-ranking city out of 34 African cities.

Africa’s time has arrived in terms of the meetings industry. South Africa is well prepared – it established a National Convention Bureau that has the country’s top convention bureaus as fully committed partners.

The Bureau markets the entire country but isn’t involved in bids for tradeshows and conferences, according to Cheryl Mulder-Verbruggen, manager, Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau.

“Domestically, there may be competition between Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, but on the international stage, we combine to become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to hosting world-class meetings,” said Mulder-Verbruggen.

Cape Town’s facilities along with its destination appeal earned it some quality bids during the last months. Some of these bids are still confidential while others are public knowledge.

Amongst others, Cape Town will host the following major business events:

  • ICASA International Conference on Aids, STD’s in Africa (December 2013)
  • 16th International Congress on Infectious Diseases (April 2014)
  • 35th International Geological Congress (August/September 2016)

While the destination is known and respected for the medical meetings it has hosted, other industries, such as science, technology, agriculture and creative, are finding Cape Town attractive.

In early October, the 3rd African Creative Economy Conference and the 4th Arterial Network Biennial Conference took place in Cape Town. It attracted delegates from all around the world, including visitors from at least 40 African countries.

Cape Town will be seen as the World Design Capital in 2014. This city promotion project celebrates the merits of design. It is held biennially and seeks to highlight the accomplishments of cities that are leveraging design as a tool to improve the social, cultural and economic life of cities, throughout a yearlong program of design-related events.

The following 4 themes have been selected:

  • African Innovation. Global Conversation: African ideas that speak to the world
  • Bridging the Divide: Design that reconnects the city and reconciles communities
  • Today for Tomorrow: Sustainable solutions for people and planet
  • Beautiful Spaces. Beautiful Things: Inspiring architecture, interiors, food, fashion, jewelry, craft, art and creativity

In addition, 2014 will see Cape Town host the BestCities Global Alliance client workshop. It is expected that 20 clients will be hosted by the 10 partner cities in the Alliance. The workshop aims to bring together decision makers from a variety of global associations to experience a partner destination first hand. All costs and arrangements will be taken care of by Alliance partners.

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