Until Covid-19 pandemic hit world, corporate meetings and events were in exponential growth. This however slowed down in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, without a doubt, with severe setback. Nonetheless, 2022 is marking a turning point but with a number of unknown scenarios and new rules of the MICE game. It seems this people-centred industry has finally resurfaced with face-to-face meetings, although it will be the same as before, digital tools will definitely help event organizers overcome their remaining challenges.
The global MICE industry size was valued at $805.0 billion in 2017, and is estimated to reach $1,337.4 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 21.3% from 2021 to 2028, (Businesswire 2021). Brandessence Market Research & Consulting (2021) also reports that global spending forecast for spending remains even more promising, with an improved growth rate of 61.7% in international travels, and 52.6% in domestic travel spending. Researchfive.com also indicates that the global MICE industry is anticipated to hit U$1,619.3 billion between 2021–2028 period.
Despite the slump, the underlying value of these events to host countries, Convention Bureaux, participants and companies remained as strong as ever. The reason being that stakeholders know that when delegates come to new destinations, they spend money, create jobs and impact not only local tourism industries but also marketing, technological, design and production. Another critical benefit is also an opportunity to build a more competitive knowledge economy that directly and indirectly make business events happen.
Even though global lockdowns and emergence of new COVID-19 variants have impacted future forecast of the global MICE market, it is important to note that an increase in corporate activities such as client meetings, brand promotions, employee training activities, and others will catalyse growth in the sector.
Like any other region, it is not a surprise that the Africa MICE industry did not escape the COVID-19 unscathed. Nonetheless in 2021, virtual and various hybrid business thrived on the continent including this Masterclass, Africa Tourism Leadership
Forum, Africa Youth in Tourism Innovation Summit and South Africa Tourism’s Africa Travel and Tourism Summit.
Adding to the above, there is a general rise in government programmes to promote SMEs and the liberalization of market entry to increase FDIs are anticipated to boost the growth further. In Africa, some of the crucial drivers that will fuel growth of the MICE market are Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), improved infrastructural development and continuous technological advancement.
This Pan-African Africa MICE programme continued to bring together industry professionals, National Tourism entities and Convention Bureaux, even during the COVID-19 era.
Since inception in 2018, the annual Africa Business Tourism & MICE Masterclass (ABTMM) in collaboration with BDO South Africa and South African Tourism, the Masterclass has grown from strength to strength. It has brought over 700 industry professionals, practitioners, youth, SMMEs and Convention Bureau as well as National Tourism officials to learn, share experiences and knowledge as insights on how to collectively grow intra-Africa MICE/Business together.
The 6th ABTMM at Meetings Africa 2023 is a Pan-African platform that celebrates diversity and forges a common purpose while sharing learning experiences across Africa’s MICE landscape. The programme also strives for equity and inclusion of small enterprises, entrepreneurs, tourism authorities, private sector, educational institutions, women in tourism and the youth.