Thebe Reed Exhibitions and a South African events company were prohibited from attending the Meetings Africa 2014 conference by South African Tourism because the government institution considered them to be competition for the event. Thebe Reed Exhibitions is a joint venture between Reed Exhibitions, leading global player in the world of exhibitions and part of Reed Elsevier Group, and Thebe Tourism Group Pty Limited, one of South Africa’s largest business events companies.
According to a media report, the South African Tourism CEO, Mr Thulani Nzima said that while competition was welcome, the decision to refuse entry to Thebe Reed was done “to protect the interest of Meetings Africa exhibitors and buyers”.
“It was clear to us that the Thebe Reed Exhibition delegation intended using its visitor status to recruit exhibitors and buyers. The delegation comprised mostly salespeople. A decision was taken not to give them access to the trade floor as this would have been disruptive to Meetings Africa,” Mr Nzima said.
The South African business tourism sector, which combines conferencing with leisure activities, is a focus for South Africa’s tourism sector and aan integral part of the economic development of the region.