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The "City of Gold" is one of fastest-growing hubs for global business meetings and other major international events.

THE latest rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) – a global body with more the 950 members in 88 countries – have confirmed what many people already knew: that the "City of Gold" is one of fastest-growing hubs for global business meetings and other major international events.

The ICCA's rankings show that the city has astonishingly moved 92 places up the business tourism popularity stakes in the world.

Last year, the city was ranked No 234. This year it is sitting on position 142 in the world – and third in Africa.

"We are thrilled," said an elated Phelisa Mangcu, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Johannesburg Tourism Company. "This is excellent news for us."

ICCA rankings are announced annually based on the number of rotating international associations meetings in a particular destination.

Mangcu attributed the city's dramatic improvement in the ICCA standings largely to its collaborative initiatives with its industry partners, peers and stakeholders.

"Last year, during the course of refining its strategy in hosting business events in the city, the Johannesburg Tourism's Convention Bureau embarked on an extensive consultation process with the industry. This resulted in better understanding, collaboration and sharing of information crucial to the rankings process. So it's a big thank you to all involved. It's onwards and upwards from here on," Mangcu exclaimed.

The news comes at a time when the Johannesburg Tourism's Convention Bureau continues with its sustained efforts to bid for the hosting of business events.

One of the major global meetings that will be hosted by Johannesburg this year is the annual gathering of the Board of Directors of Metropolis in July to discuss issues around urbanisation.

This will coincide with a five-day meeting of the Forum for Metropolitan Mayors.

The city will also host the One Young World Summit in October. Established in 2010, the summit is a global forum of young leaders that attracts at least 1 000 delegates from every continent and addresses issues affecting the youths.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan are two of its patrons.

In June this year, the city's Department of Economic Development will hold the first "Buy Sell Invest Visit Conference and Exhibition", bringing together people from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economic bloc, as well as from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

More than 1 000 delegates are expected to attend the three-day conference.

In January next year, the city will host the C40 Summit on Climate Change to be attended by global leaders, activists and innovators to discuss critical environmental issues.

The month of May has already seen the city hosting the World Credit Congress and the Pan African Franchise Federation Congress.

Some of the global events that will take place in the city later this year are:

  • Pan Pacific Association Business Congress (3-6 June);
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Global Challenge (26-30 August);
  • 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Congress (28 August-6 September);
  • 26th International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (23-28 September); and
  • World Agility Championships (10-13 October).

Source: Joburg.org.za