Africa gaining popularity as meetings destination, says AMEX

A report by American Express Meetings & Events has indicated that Africa is gaining popularity as a meetings destination, with 52% of respondents predicting a growth in interest.

South Africa remains one of Africa's most popular destinations
South Africa remains one of Africa's most popular destinations

According to the report, whilst areas of Africa have always been popular for incentives, North and South Africa were also regarded as good meeting destinations, due to developing infrastructure and technology.

Although the percentage of global meetings taking place in Africa is likely to remain constant over the next two years, at just under 10% compared to Europe’s 48%, more than half of meeting planners expect this to increase in time.

However, despite the growing interest, just under half of respondents said Africa was a difficult destination to organise events, particularly managing payments, contracts and visas. Perceptions of Africa were also mixed, with several meeting planners citing concerns about disease, terrorism and crime.  

In some cases meetings professionals tended to ‘paint the continent with the same brush’, attributing the problems of certain countries across the board. Overall, North Africa and Southern Africa were considered the most developed regions, with sales and marketing meetings the most popular type of events.

Issa Jouaneh, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Meetings & Events, said meeting planners need to look at several factors when considering emerging destinations. "In looking at Africa specifically, our study provides the meetings and events industry with unique insight into the perceptions and familiarity – or lack thereof – of planners with this region. We hope it can serve as a baseline from which the industry can consider opportunities for education and local insight."

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