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The Johannesburg Tourism Company, fresh from the ITB Berlin, is going all-out to promote the city as a business and leisure tourism destination, with plenty to offer all visitors.
THERE will be no resting on the laurels for the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC) after wrapping up its summer campaign, Rediscover Joburg.

 

Joburg Tourism Company CEO Lindiwe KweleJTC CEO Lindiwe Kwele is inviting visitors to stay and discover JoburgHaving successfully been involved in hosting a variety of events, the company may have been forgiven for wanting to take things easy. It jumped straight back into work, though, to attend the ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show.
 

“While we’re delighted with hosting an extraordinarily successful Meetings Africa in Joburg last month, the JTC team enjoyed a productive time at the annual ITB [International Tourism Exchange] in Berlin,” said the JTC’s chief executive officer, Lindiwe Kwele.

The team in Germany used the visit to spread the Joburg magic, with South African embassy minister Cassandra Mbuyane-Mokone addressing industry professionals from all over the world.

Back home, Meetings Africa, the continent’s premier annual business tourism exposition, performed better than ever before.

“Over 7 000 official meetings were scheduled during Meetings Africa 2011, breaking previous records and exceeding the expectations of the platform owners, SA Tourism,” said the JTC’s public relations and communications manager, Laura Vercueil. “Unaudited attendance numbers for the event were 3 353, up from last year’s 2 899 delegates.”

Business tourism is regarded as playing an increasingly important role in facilitating the government’s job creation goals, so hosting the event in Johannesburg was significant not only for the city but for the country too.

“We have already secured almost 200 meetings and conferences in South Africa over the next five years, attracting more than 300 000 delegates to our country. The potential economic impact of these confirmed meetings and conferences is more than R1,6-billion,” said South Africa’s tourism minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, when he opened Meetings Africa on 21 February.

Of course, business tourism is not the JTC’s only focus. Sport, entertainment and fashion also have their place, with numerous sporting events and the Joburg Fashion Week having already been hosted this year.

The Joburg Open golf tournament, ATP SA Tennis Open and the Cell C Cycle Tour were all successfully held in Joburg in the opening months of the year, with the Top Gear live prototype world tour at Kyalami taking place from 17 to 20 March.

 

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk speaking during Meeting AfricaMinister Marthinus van Schalkwyk speaking during Meetings AfricaOn the entertainment front, U2, Faithless, Riverdance and Sean Kingston have performed in Joburg so far this year, with stars such as Kings of Leon still to come later in the year.
 

In between hosting this plethora of sporting and entertainment shows, the City managed to fit in Joburg Fashion Week from 15 to 19 February at various locations in the inner city. It was the precursor to Africa Fashion Week, taking place in Joburg in October.

The JTC believes it is more than the wide variety of events on offer that makes Johannesburg a must-go-to place, though.

“While our city may have been founded on a nugget of gold, it is no longer our stock exchange or being the business epicentre for a continent alone that makes us famous – rather, it’s the diversity, vibrancy and warmth of our people, the countless cultures they represent and the infinite choices the city offers its citizens and visitors,” said Kwele.

“Jozi has become an eclectic mix of people and cultures that have combined over a century to deliver myriads of talent and services capable of enthralling even the most seasoned of cosmopolitan travellers.

“We invite visitors to stay, play and discover why those who live in Joburg love it, and those who visit our might city never forget it.”

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