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SSouth Africa’s National Tourism Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Thulani Nzima, has congratulated Nina Freysen-Pretorius on her election as president of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

“We are proud of Nina and delighted that a South African has been recognised in this way by her peers around the world. Her vast experience and knowledge of the business events industry have been instrumental in the growth of our local industry. We are immensely proud that her leadership abilities have been recognised internationally.

“As the first African president of ICCA, her appointment marks a major milestone on the road to establishing Africa as a business events destination of choice. She has been given the responsibility of leading a highly influential, global body. Nina is also the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) Awards Committee Member.” Nzima said.

“We are proud that our very own Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), a business unit of South African Tourism, has been elected geographical member for Africa to the ICCA Board”, says Nzima.

“Having two South Africans on the ICCA Board, one at the helm is a major boost for South Africa’s reputation as a business events destination. It is proof that we have the skills, insight and leadership capability to grow and develop the business events sector, not only in South Africa but globally.

“We are excited that Amanda will be our continent’s representative on the ICCA Board. She has proven her commitment to Africa’s advancement through her work at the SANCB. This appointment will no doubt give greater scope and influence to her efforts in this regard,” said Nzima.

ICCA represents the main specialists in organising, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises almost 1,000 member companies and organisations in over 90 countries worldwide.

In 2013, South Africa was ranked 34th globally in terms of the ICCA recognised association meetings it hosted, a total of 118. South Africa was the leading destination in Africa and the Middle East and the 11th most popular long haul destination (all destinations outside of Europe and America).

“We are very proud of how far South Africa has come in terms of building its business events reputation and capability. We also recognise and are confident about the potential for future growth of this sector on the continent. Africa hosted just over 300 of the 12 000 association meetings held last year. It is a huge honour for me to be given this opportunity to help contribute towards a thriving African business events Industry” said Kotze-Nhlapo.

“Nina and Amanda’s appointments will no doubt go a long way in building Africa’s global profile in line with the SANCB and Meetings Africa’s ambition of ‘Advancing Africa Together’,” concluded Nzima.

Freysen-Pretorius and Kotze-Nhlapo were elected to their positions at the General Assembly of the 53rdICCA Congress, that took place from 1-5 November in Antalya, Turkey. Freysen-Pretorius replaces current president Arnaldo Nardone.

The 2014 ICCA Congress attracted more than 900 participants from 72 countries making it the most global ICCA Congress ever.

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