Cape Town - Conferencing is big business for cities and with a sluggish economy, the opening of the expanded Cape Town International Convention Centre, CTICC 2, is a welcomed addition to South Africa’s offering to host international events.
After breaking ground on the site about three years ago in July 2014, City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, declared the expansion of the ‘ready to welcome the world’, on Wednesday 6 September. The City of Cape Town contributed R550 million towards the expansion costs.
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Cape Town ranks as the number one city in Africa for business tourism events for 2017, having improved its ranking some 15 spots and is currently listed in the Top 40 destinations for business tourism in the world - according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Overall the tourism sector contributed R402bn in 2016 (9.3% of GDP) and is expected to grow by 2.5% to R412.2bn (9.4% of GDP) in 2017. For the next five years South Africa is expecting to host some 66 international association conferences and meetings, with an estimated economic potential of about R1.4 billion, according to major South African hotel group Sun International.
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The National Department of Tourism towards the end of 2016 announced its Business Tourism Fund of R290m, to 'help South Africa capture a greater share of international conferences and events” over the next three years. Some R20 million has been set aside for the next financial year (2017/18) and R90 million for the following three years -all acting as a catalyst that "propels SA’s business events industry to a higher league".
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(Photo: City of Cape Town)
Highlights of the CTICC 2
On Wednesday De Lille conducted a final site inspection of the expansion with CTICC Chief Executive Officer, Julie-May Ellingson, to give her final seal of approval of the construction of the expansion before contractors hand over the building for occupation.
CTICC 2 is described as an elegant and modern expansion of the original building, now to be known as CTICC 1.
De Lille's inspection included a tour of the main conference and exhibition halls, meeting-pod rooms, and the facility’s extensive back-of-house areas. These include the control room with state-of-the-art building management system as well as the facility’s hot, cold and pastry kitchens.
“It’s only through focused and visionary leadership by the City and its partners that we can welcome even larger events and conferences to our shores and take this city to greater heights. Today I’m even more proud to say that the CTICC is indeed a key driver of our efforts to position Cape Town as a forward-looking, globally competitive business city,’ says De Lille.
The 31 148 m2 expansion adds 10 000 m2 of multipurpose conference and exhibition space through six halls located across two floors.
The facility also includes 3 000 m2 of informal and formal meeting space in the form of four larger meeting suites, a terrace room, and five smaller meeting pod rooms.
Two modern rooftop decks provide the ideal backdrop for post-meeting cocktails.
Unlike its original counterpart, the new centre is built across six floors and has more exterior balconies. CTICC 2 will also be able to operate as an independent facility.
Its design received a 4-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.
Opening and upcoming 2017 events at the CTICC 2:
CTICC 2 has struck a chord with international associations and by the August 2017, the centre had already secured 10 major international events up until 2022.
In 2020, the World Ophthalmology Congress promises to attract 15 000 delegates and is the largest event the centre has secured in its 14-year history. The City would not have been able to win the bid for this event without an expanded convention centre.
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De Lille says, “The CTICC 2 is at the heart of the City’s mixed-use Foreshore Freeway Precinct project and the great new opportunities it will bring. At one level, the expansion will enliven this very area, but more importantly it will continue to create jobs and provide a community hub that will make progress possible for the CBD and the city as a whole."
International experts in biomedicine will meet in CTICC 2 for the 18th International Congress of Immunology in August 2022. With a forecast attendance of 6 000 delegates, the conference will also be using both CTICC buildings.
Opening event 13 to 15 September 2017: The 21st annual Congress of the Council of Shopping Centres
29 October: Mama Magic – the Baby Expo, a longstanding CTICC client, will host the first consumer exhibition in the new centre.
7 to 9 November 2017: Africa’s largest technology-focused event, AfricaCom, will host its 20th edition in the centre.
3 to 6 December 2017: The third International Conference on Global Food Security will seek solutions to feed the earth’s nine billion people.
While the new centre will host its first events over the coming months, contractors will complete the multi-faceted marshalling yard, roadworks around the centre, and add finishing touches to the building. Construction of the sky bridge across the Heerengracht connecting CTICC 1 with CTICC 2 will commence in 2018.
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