African MICE Tourism – The Strategic Perspective on the Current State & Future Prospects

Written by Jamie du Plessis

What location could be more ideal for travellers and leisure seekers than Africa? A captivating tourist destination due to its wealth of natural landscapes, resources, agriculture, rich cultural history, diverse panoramas, and flavourful food. Africa has incredible potential.

When you add business tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) into the mix, you have an industry that can once again begin seeing growth in this post-pandemic recovery phase.

The African business travel and MICE tourism sectors are poised for a return, and things have already been set in motion, according to various respected experts and analysts. In the upcoming years, this sector is anticipated to expand even more once everyone has recovered, making it a potentially profitable investment.

Together with our regional stakeholders, foreign business delegations travelling to Africa can enjoy unforgettable experiences.

The state of the MICE industry in Africa

There had been positive developments and opportunities within the MICE sector, during the pre-pandemic phase, from developing economies and top destinations. Public-private partnerships had previously been formed to help with further developments while navigating critical impacts, risks, and challenges, alongside the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) assistance. 

Representatives such as Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, and Kenya, to name a few, had been gearing up to use MICE tourism to drive further economic growth. However, the state of the MICE sector and the respective GDP growth rates faced pitfalls during the pandemic. Steering continental priorities and scope of critical choices that Africa and the rest of the world had to make. 

The previous aspirations slowly began reforming post-pandemic, seeing the slow rise to economic and sector recovery with the insights from expert predictions. The current tourism status is striving for a new normal due to the worldwide pandemic.

South African Outlook

Key highlights

African MICE tourism is an industry that is snowballing and can potentially become one of the world’s largest earners in the coming years if sustainable development and strategies can be appropriately met. 

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA) – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NAPAD) Agenda dashboard displayed the aspirational goals of all African countries. South Africa’s targeted goals seem to have an overall score of 25% compared to the continent’s overall score of 33%.

According to NEPAD, the leading performance goals that South Africa is currently meeting are: 

● “Functional and operational African peace and security architecture.” 

● “Functional and established key continental financial and monetary institutions.”

However, compared to these reports, according to the World Tourism Council, South Africa’s travel and tourism GDP will be an estimated annual growth rate of 7.6%. This will help push the country’s economy in an albeit slower but slightly brighter direction. 

Various industries benefit from this growth, including travel, hospitality, and leisure. However, there are a number of challenges facing African tourism that need to be addressed. 

These include improving infrastructure development, visitor safety standards, and better marketing and promotional strategies. To name a few challenges from an African renewal perspective. Governments need to take note of this opportunity again and continue to formulate policies that will support the growth of economies and, in turn, African tourism. 

To participate in our MICE series and get intriguing insights from experts’ opinions, read and follow Tourism News Africa. Our industry expert, Tes Proos, will continue to share her thoughts on the South African MICE sector in the next part of the series.

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